Fox School faculty members Sheri Lambert, Amy Lavin and Dennis Paris outline how L’Oréal implemented its digital transformation strategy
PHILADELPHIA, March 3, 2021 — In January 2016, Nima Gohil, director of product performance management – hair innovation at L’Oréal USA, knew it was time to sink or swim. Companies across several industries had reaped the benefits of committing to a digital transformation strategy, but L’Oréal was not one of them.
In preparing for the Strategic Meeting at L’Oréal North America’s Research and Innovation Headquarters, Gohil spent weeks reviewing L’Oréal’s current digital strategy and assets while also making recommendations for the future. Now, five years later, L’Oréal is among the leaders in the digital realm. Just last year, the company’s ecommerce sales were up 49%, representing 13% of the company’s total global sales.
How did Gohil and L’Oréal do it? That question is the impetus behind “Optimizing Consumer Insights: L’Oréal’s Digital First Strategy,” a new case study completed by Sheri Lambert, Amy Lavin and Dennis Paris, faculty members at Temple University’s Fox School of Business.
Recently accepted for publication by Ivey Publishing, the case explores the many ways in which L’Oréal implemented digital strategies over the last several years. Lambert and Lavin are also currently teaching the case in their Digital Innovation in Marketing courses on Digital Brand Management and Business Intelligence.
“For our students, we see this case as both a timely and relevant illustration of the importance of continued innovation,” says Lambert, assistant professor of marketing as well as director of the Master of Science in Market Research & Insights program. “In the past year, we’ve seen so many small businesses adopt digital transformation strategies but this case offers a reminder that the big companies must remain equally nimble and agile too.”
The case is also cross-disciplinary, appealing to both students and practitioners in the realms or marketing as well as management information systems.
“All marketers need to think like information technology professionals and vice versa. Nima did not have a background in IT, but she was cognizant of its importance and the role it plays in allowing L’Oréal to grow its brand,” says Lavin, an assistant professor in management information systems and director of the Master of Science in Digital Innovation in Marketing program.
One of the key takeaways of the case is its illustration of how Gohil approaches the age-old notion of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” L’Oréal had had considerable success with its well-established Beauty Babble program, but Gohil believed its impact could be even greater. She was right.
“We wanted to expand our reach to new consumers and better understand how much they engage with, or listen to, social media influencers, so we thought it would be helpful to introduce a customer relationship management (CRM) technology that would enable L’Oréal to capture, track and manage their relationships with not only social media influencers, but their followers as well,” Gohil explains in the case.
L’Oréal offered its Beauty Babblers early access to products and in return for these perks, they received a one-year commitment from the vloggers, as well as their consent to post their product experiences online and to generate a minimum following of 35,000 followers.
The strategy was an example of L’Oréal’s desire to be “in the moment” with its consumers. The company wanted to be present, at least digitally, with its customers as they were using its products. That philosophy has continued to guide L’Oréal’s digital efforts.
On Sunday, March 21, at 7 p.m., Gohil will meet with students in the Digital Brand Management and Business Intelligence course to discuss the case and her work reframing L’Oréal’s digital strategy. Her talk is free and open to the public. Attendees can access the presentation via this Zoom link.
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