CHICAGO: L’Oréal Canada, the beauty company, has derived multiple benefits from working with startups to drive innovation in various areas of its business.

Martin Aubut, L’Oréal Canada’s chief digital officer, discussed this subject at the 2018 P2P Summit, an event held by the Path to Purchase Institute.

“We want to change the market with co-creation and startups,” he explained. (For more details, read WARC’s in-depth report: Startup partnerships energize L’Oréal Canada.)

Among the main areas of focus for the cosmetics giant are artificial intelligence, augmented reality and connective devices, with an emphasis on delivering a new generation of personalized, innovative beauty products and services.

“Technology has changed the consumer purchase journey,” Aubut said. “We need to make sure we seize the opportunities and prepare ourselves to give consumers what they need.”

Some of the start-up partnerships undertaken by L’Oréal Canada have yielded apps for assessing individual skin types and testing new hair styles, but have also included testing new ways of encouraging people to sample its products.

Beyond these benefits, Aubut suggested that the sense of urgency that is embodied by many startups can help larger organizations move at greater speed.

“There are a lot of new companies just emerging and they are really fast. They’ve got a burn rate and they know that if they don’t launch the right product in one month, they might die,” he said.

As a veteran of two startups before joining L’Oréal Canada in 2013, Aubut also highlighted the access to talent that comes with such affiliations. “I will never be able to hire these people,” he noted.

One vital component of making these tie-ups work, he argued, is securing internal buy-in: “You need to mobilize your troops around it, making sure that you will spend time to scope perfectly what you want to do and create a context to win.”

Additionally, adopting a test-and-learn ethos is essential. “It will not be perfect at once but at least you test your hypotheses for your business model,” said Aubut.

Equally, it is important to allocate a meaningful budget to these efforts. “You don’t go half [measures] on this,” Aubut said. “You go big or go home.”

Sourced from WARC