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L’Oréal UK CMO reveals digital ‘transformation’ plans as it readies first programmatic test

L’Oréal is to launch its first programmatic trials next month as it looks to transform its digital strategy and marketing plans to better champion creativity and drive an emotional connection with its consumers.

Speaking to The Drum recently appointed UK and Ireland chief markeitng officer (CMO), Hugh Pile, who joined the beauty business last year as the first CMO in the region, stressed that L'Oréal's focus will be on three core areas - data, e-commerce and transforming all its brands, which include Garnier and Yves Saint Laurent, into “love brands”.

“We want to drive across the business that all our brands are love brands, so the transition to emotional brands that are not just focused on product and function,” he explained. “We have so much history and personality and we are sitting on such a gold mine of opportunity.”

To achieve this L’Oréal will better use digital to drive an ongoing conversation with its consumers, something that it has not been able to achieve via mediums such as TV and print, according to Pile.

Meanwhile on the data side L’Oréal will next month roll out its first programmatic tests for Lancôme, Maybelline and L’Oréal Preference Bronde to capture data over a three- month period. The beauty company will monitor consumer reaction to different marketing creative with a view to “explode” programmatic across the company’s brand portfolio.

“We are going to look to understand the movements of consumers both on and offline building segmenting audiences, profiling those audiences and then making sure we are serving them absolutely relevant messages,” he said. “The more we understand the consumer the more we can constantly evolve and amend that creative.”

“The ambition is see it, learn from it and explode it across all the brands because my gut is that it’s going to work… It’s a big buzzword at the moment but rightly so,” he continued.

The brand has set its sights on increasing its e-commerce proposition to account for 20 per cent of revenue, rather than the current ten per cent, and plans are afoot to test a new platform which will allow customers to instantly buy.

L’Oreal is also speaking with Powa Technologies to see how it can use the mobile platform to tag any of its advertising, promotions or in-store products to incorporate instant purchase options.

The shift in advertising strategy follows a similar move in Europe. Speaking last September at Dmexco, L’Oreal’s European CMO Blasco de Felice, detailed a plan to focus on creating an emotional connection with its consumers in a continuously crowded industry.

At the time he said that L’Oreal was undergoing a major shift iwhich saw it invest its marketing spend across the media landscape, admitting that the change had been “a challenge” company-wide.

Pile echoed this sentiment, adding: “We spend a lot on media and a lot on research of that media to make sure it is effective. So how can we understand our consumer even better? We are trailing neuroscience methodologies which pick up electromagnetic pulses (EMP) from your brainwaves which then can see responses to creative, campaigns and content.”

A test is set to launch in the next two weeks, and L’Oreal is hoping to unlock the insights to evolve its output over time.

Natalie Mortimer

Natalie is The Drum's fashion, design, luxury and food & drink reporter.

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