L’Oréal Gives China a Makeover
If you’re in the beauty business, then you’re in the advertising business. In its push to glam up the world, L’Oréal is using China as a guinea pig to test both its products and its marketing. Why? Because it’s worth it!
The retail industry, cosmetics-based or otherwise, has done a rotten job at adapting to the online age. Customers want to be served from their phones. However, dated management structures, inertia, and failed IT transformation projects have led investors to scoff at the brick-and-mortar mess. As the market will tell you, however, L’Oréal has shown enough competence not only to adapt to the new world, but to emerge as the prettiest cosmetics company on show to investors.
People will happily pay too much for a stick of lipstick if it promises them confidence, but the promotional ploys behind makeup have come a long way since the Don Draper-style, retro commercials of the past. Today, it’s all about augmented reality, blurring the offline with the online, and planting booby-traps wherever possible that will exploit consumers’ digitalized habits. This is exactly what brought the chief digital officer at L’Oréal to China, a place where those ideas have become a way of life.
According to him, Asia is a “great laboratory” for marketing innovation, something arguably as important as product innovation. 90% of every sale is done with a mobile phone, and social platforms like WeChat offer much bolder features for testing and buying products than Facebook does. L’Oréal’s Chinese trial and error is improving its hit rate back in France, and has renewed the confidence of shareholders that their money is safe with the personal care giant. Food for thought?