L’Oréal Summers – Luxury & Brand Management Lessons From The Industry Leaders

“Alice in Wonderland” is a phrase most of us associate with our childhood memories and fantasies. But how would you feel, if it played out live in-front of your eyes?

Yes, that’s how exactly the first day of Internship at L’Oréal India felt like! Walking into the most coolest office, amidst multiple standees welcoming the interns, into a “Eureka Room” containing goodie bags filled with L’Oréal products- yes, that’s how fantasies play out. The 17 L’Oréal interns couldn’t have had a better welcome.

We had a week-long induction programme which was the perfect mix of education and fun. While we had extensive immersion sessions on the various L’Oréal brands and product categories conducted directly by the top management of L’Oréal India, we had equally fun and informative workshop sessions on make-up and skincare, by the expert practitioners themselves. We were also taken around the L’Oréal factory, where we could actually see the production happening in full-swing, and also visited the Research and Innovation Centre, which is the nerve centre where all the innovation happens! We were also lucky to be a part of a Market Activation exercise for Garnier, where we actually went about the general trade stores, and could actually imbibe a lot about the whole segment, the retail issues, how to deal with the retailers, among other things. This experience and the insights gained would definitely go a long way helping us understand how business works, at the last link of the value chain, and about the backward-influence of customer buying pattern.

Week number 2 saw us go into our respective departments and get inducted into our respective brands, and get started with our actual projects. I worked in the Marketing team of Decléor, a luxury skincare brand, from L’Oréal’s Professional Products Division. Mine was a market research project with critical implications on the brand’s services offered and brand equity. I worked with the whole marketing team of Decléor, who supported me throughout.

My project was a market-intensive one, and I had to visit a lot of our Decléor salons. There, in the salons, I realized how respected and admired L’Oréal is, and how much of faith and respect the salon therapists as well as the customers have, on the brand.

MY LEARNING:

  • The brand value that L’Oréal enjoys is indeed phenomenal. In the beauty industry where products were thought of and considered only due to their functionality, it was important to differentiate, so as to push products and then eventually convert customers into loyal ones. L’Oréal has done exactly that.
  • The best part of L’Oréal is that, in spite of having so many brands, there is virtually zero cannibalisation. So perfect is the targeting and positioning that L’Oréal know exactly the profile of the customers who would be the intended audience for a particular brand. Such is the level of precision.
  • Customer value is created by means of their carefully curated processes and products, backed by research and innovation.
  • Over the years, they have carefully built up on the success of their products and their brand image as a whole, and this allows them to command a say in everything, from pricing to merchandising.

Thus, years of professional excellence combined with innovation and adaption to latest trends and technologies, make L’Oréal create exponential value to all its stakeholders. These were some of the most important Brand Management lessons that I learnt first-hand, through my stint, with the best in the business.

  • The other important lesson I learnt was in Luxury management. As Hubert de Givenchy said, “Luxury is in each detail”, you ought to pay attention to the details, especially when your brand is the epitome of luxury. For a Decléor ritual, the minutest of details are paid attention to- right from the way the towels are folded, to the placing of the products on the tray, to the soothing background music, to maintaining the ambiance of the Decléor cabin- every minute detail is looked into, so that the customers receive an unparalleled Decleor experience, that truly soothes the skin, body and mind.

Thus, these 2 months have been a whole new experience all together; the lessons from which we’ll carry forward.

For all the future aspirants of L’Oréal, passion towards the work is the most important factor that L’Oréal looks for, in the applicants. This, will also lead them to evaluate the candidates on their second most parameter, that is creativity. They are genuine people who appreciate and reward good talents, making them one of the best employers. I hope I get the opportunity to work with them in the future.

Good luck!

Akshara Venkatesan

Marketing Intern at L’Oréal India PGP 2019- IIM INDORE

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