Although products are naturally central to a brand, a company’s ability to reflect current trends, social thinking and technological advancement in its activities is also critical for success.
L’Oréal prides itself on its innovation, not only relating to products but also its response to digitalization and sustainability, themes that are particularly influential for consumers today. Based in Hoofddorp, L’Oréal Nederland’s commercial activities reflect the group’s four global channels.
Consumer products for the mass market, sold in supermarkets and drugstores across the country account for half of all revenue. Luxury brands, distributed through independent perfumeries and chains, form the second largest channel, making up around 20% of turnover.
The remainder is split between pharmacy which specializes in dermocosmetics and the professional division which serves hairdressers and beauty therapists.
“We have a multi-channel approach,” explains Country Manager Jean-Charles Bondy. “Our strategy is to cover all the different channels where the public expects to find make-up, skin and hair care products. Marketing is a huge investment and we work very closely with our retail partners to ensure we leverage all possible opportunities.”
Digitalization has transformed marketing in recent years. Social media offers multiple opportunities for promotion, such as demonstration videos which show consumers how they can create special looks with particular products and application techniques.
Particularly inventive is the Make Up Genius app which was launched last year and enables the company to offer personalized advice; customers download a picture of themselves and can then experiment virtually with different products and techniques.
A knowledgeable sales staff is crucial, and digitalization offers L’Oréal brand new training options for its retail partners using tutorials and remote training software. Everything about L’Oréal shouts innovation.
“It is the reason that we are the world’s number one beauty company,” points out Mr. Bondy. “To convince people to use beauty products you have to meet their tastes, expectations and needs, which demands a strong focus on innovation and research.”
L’Oréal has a distinct view of the world market. “Universalization differentiates us,” continues Mr. Bondy. “This is an advanced form of globalization; we adapt our portfolio to local needs, culture and expectations and, naturally, purchasing power too. We embrace the world in all its complexity.”
The company also seizes opportunities presented by new trends, such as the current market for decorative cosmetics; the L’Oréal brand Urban Decay offers young people unique and progressive products to express themselves creatively.
Corporate responsibility in the form of sustainability and social engagement is an increasingly important theme for customers and L’Oréal has a strong agenda, featuring brands with natural ingredients sourced in a sustainable way such as its Garnier and Biotherm brands.
The acquisition of The Body Shop was a strong statement of its commitment to sustainability. Local communities are also firmly in focus. L’Oréal’s Dutch employees hold an annual Citizen Day when they take part in community projects which benefit local people.
Looking forward, Mr. Bondy is optimistic. “The time we live in underpins our strong drive to develop the market,” he concludes. “Innovation and the amazing power of technology enables us to design products that are more effective and sustainable, which helps us achieve our ultimate goal of creating the best possible experience for our end consumers.”