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Brand Strategy WFA Global Marketer of the Year Brands Predictions

‘Our future is physical, digital and virtual’: L’Oreal’s CMO is committed to web3


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

January 24, 2023 | 10 min read

Asmita Dubey, chief digital and marketing officer at L’Oreal, has been nominated for The Drum and the World Federation of Advertisers’ (WFA) Global Marketer of the Year award. We catch up with her on the brand's ambitious web3 plans.

Asmita Dubey

L’Oreal’s Asmita Dubey

Asmita Dubey has spent the past decade at L’Oreal but it was only in 2021 that she took on the top marketing role at the beauty giant while also retaining her responsibility for its digital strategy.

In that time, she’s focused heavily on how its brands can take advantage of the, albeit limited, opportunities the metaverse and web3 currently have to offer while mapping out a long-term strategy for these emerging platforms.

Here, she details the strides L’Oreal brands have made over the past 12 months and what she's got planned for the year ahead.

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What action have you taken in the past 12 months to deliver stand-out innovation and creativity?

On our transformation to be undisputed leaders in BeautyTech, I believe that the future of beauty will be physical, digital and virtual. Therefore, with our feet firmly grounded in web2 acceleration, we are laying foundations for a new ‘on-chain beauty’ in web3.

Here, we are cracking the new codes of beauty, with innovation and creativity, by fostering a new ecosystem of partners. Nyx PMU, for example, announced the world’s first beauty DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) GORJS – to bring together 3D artists and as a launchpad for 3D creators, because creators are at the heart of the metaverse. Beauty has always been about self-expression; we have a first multi-brand avatar partnership on Ready Player Me, where we have created hair and makeup looks with L’Oreal Professional and Maybelline.

We are supporting creativity in web3, where L’Oreal and Meta have come together in StationF as the first Metaverse Startup Accelerator – to empower this eco-system for A/R, V/R, Avatar, 3D, Tokens or web3 UX. And to build, by design, a creative, inclusive and diverse metaverse.

Thinking about your partners, including your agencies, what’s the most effective recent step you’ve taken to help improve how you work together?

Our prescribers – beauty advisors, influencers, dermatologists, hair stylists and makeup artists are a powerful force. They bring expert beauty advice to our consumers. More and more, they can also offer services and products through new business models like social commerce; be it live, affiliate or conversational commerce.

We do more than 10,000 live streams in a year, with beauty influencers. In China, but also in markets like Indonesia with TikTok commerce. We share this common passion for beauty with influencers and to improve the way we work, we have an ‘Influencer Charter’ with principles like transparency, respect and disclosure.

In India, we have an expert salon care program. This came about during the pandemic when the salons were closed and consumers needed to connect with hair stylists to find products, services and advice. Today, it is a thriving platform with thousands of hair stylists and consumers in a B2B2C model.

In the past 12 months, do you feel – as an industry and a company – we have made progress relating to diversity and inclusion and why?

Yes, we have made progress as an industry. The Unstereotype Alliance’s ‘State of the industry’ report this year summarizes that while there is progress on subjects like workplace equality, much needs to be done in many areas like representation.

First, at a L’Oreal Group level, for the fourth consecutive year, we have been recognized in Bloomberg’s 2021 Gender Equality Index (GEI). The 2021 GEI highlights 380 companies across 44 countries and is based on criteria including female leadership and talent, gender pay parity, inclusive culture and sexual harassment policies.

L’Oreal has also recently been recognized by European Women on Boards among the top 15 companies out of STOXX Euro 600, as well as being ranked first by Humpact Emploi France 2020 in the gender equality category. Last year, Equileap ranked L’Oreal in the top five of its ranking, which assesses the degree of gender equality of more than 3,500 listed companies.

Second, L’Oreal conducts in-depth, rigorous audits of current staff and hiring policies (for many of its subsidiaries). We work with two independent organizations: Edge (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality) and GEEIS (Gender Equality European and International Standard)

Third, our brands are progressing in diversity and inclusion. We spoke about the L’Oreal Paris Stand Up program.

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Maybelline’s ‘Brave Together’ initiative empowers women through destigmatizing mental health – like anxiety and depression. Launched in September 2020, it’s a global initiative with a mission to destigmatize anxiety and depression worldwide and make support for mental health accessible to all. The brand is committed to reaching one million people via one-to-one support by 2025.

YSL Beauté’s ‘Abuse is not Love’ initiative, launched in September 2020, aims to combat domestic violence by supporting the prevention programs of its non-profit partners and educating young people on the nine signs of abusive relationships. The program aims to train two million people by 2030.

Lancôme, with ‘Write her future’, launched in 2018, is dedicated to empowering women through literacy, mentoring and entrepreneurship to help them write their own futures and achieve their happiness. More than 50,000 women have benefited from it since its launch.

Do you feel your marketing organization is playing a leadership role when it comes to sustainability – as an industry and within your company – and if yes, how?

Our corporate responsibility program is L’Oreal for the Future. It represents social and environmental impact.

We have set ourselves bold, measurable targets for 2030 on climate, water, biodiversity and natural resources, in accordance with what scientific experts demand and what our planet needs.

Our group is the only company in the world to have been awarded AAA by CDP, six years in a row.

For example, the Garnier brand is transforming every part of its value chain to lead the way for more sustainable practices in the beauty industry. Like the Plastic Stewardship program, which promotes a circular economy.

Regarding your question about the marketing organization, Garnier is the first brand in our group to make a scoring system available to its consumers: Product Impact Labeling (PIL). The PIL score offers clear information on the environmental impact of Garnier products from A to E, with an A product considered as “best in class”. This is done by taking into account 14 planetary impact factors and the data is verified by an independent auditor. We now have seven brands in the group using PIL. 70% of our products will have a PIL score by 2030 for the relevant categories.

The brand is also making an effort to infuse sustainable consumer behavior by displaying responsible messaging in advertising, with behavioral nudges to help consumers live greener every day. Many of our brands adopt eco-conscious behaviors that fit with the brand DNA and with L’Oreal for the Future commitments – like refilling, recycling, no water/electricity waste or green transportation. We are also working on eco-production with AdGreen.

Finally, the brand has set up an ocean-bound plastic collection center on the southeast coast of India. This is a collaboration with the brand’s longstanding partner Plastic for Change. The aim is to collect 2,000 tons of plastic in the first year; which would otherwise end up littering our oceans. The center will also support 2,000 people from the local community with a stable income and access to social services.

In summary, the marketing organization can make a positive difference, as we see with Garnier – through initiatives like PIL, through product innovations like Ultra Doux no-rinse conditioner – by infusing sustainable consumer behavior through ad messaging & engaging communities in positive actions.

What’s the most pressing (marketing) problem your company needs to address to help tackle the climate emergency and how are you responding to that?

It is our responsibility to help our 1.5 billion consumers and partners limit their impact when they use our products and encourage them to make sustainable choices.

Digital sustainability is a new eco-expectation from our consumers. It accounts for 4% of global CO2 emissions. We are working with a French startup Impact+ to measure and reduce the impact of media on carbon emissions.

You can vote for Asmita Dubey to be named Global Marketer of the Year. Voting closes January 31.

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