Exclusive Interview

L’Oreal: how the company is engaging its consumer base

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

L’Oreal: how the company is engaging its consumer base

Related tags Consumer

In this interview, we speak to L’Oréal about how the company is responding to the rising focus on engagement.

A new report from Positive Luxury suggests that beauty brands and retailers are seeing a rising demand for engaging both employees and consumers in new and innovative ways.

Positive Luxury, which describes itself as a platform that ‘connects luxury brands with consumers that care’, released the report entitled ‘The World is Ruled by Emotions: Breaking Tradition the Millennial Way’ via its site, available here​.

L’Oréal is the leading beauty company on a global scale, and its Luxe division contributes strongly to its operations. This article is part of a series of interviews with retailers and brands featured in the Positive Luxury report.

Here, we catch up with Alexandra Palt, Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer at L'Oréal.

Why is the trend for better consumer engagement a focus for L’Oréal? How are you responding to it?

Numerous studies have shown that consumers are willing to purchase more sustainable products and services.

However, there is a considerable gap between the intentions of consumers and their actual purchase behaviours. We believe that there are several explanations for this disconnect.

First, consumers had the impression that they have to make tradeoffs with respect to the price and/or quality of “green” products and services.

Consumers should not have to pay more or make concessions on the functional performance on products just because they are sustainable. It is thus quintessential for companies to transform the way they operate, to offer sustainable products and services at the same price and quality level.

L’Oréal developed SPOT (Sustainable Product Optimization Tool) - an innovative eco conception tool that assesses the environmental and social footprint of all our new products throughout the lifecycle.

This tool has led to a complete paradigm shift, improving the sustainability of products at every stage of development, from the moment a product is conceived until the end of its life.

Second, we believe that consumers lack the right information to gauge the degree to which a product is or is not sustainable.

In order to help bridge this gap, L’Oréal is working to develop a consumer-facing version of SPOT that will explain the environmental and social footprint of the totality of the group’s products before 2020.

Does the demand vary regionally/for different consumer groups demographics? Is it important to differentiate your offering to meet different engagement demands, and if so, how can this be done?

According to the research we conducted internally, we see that people across the world are looking for more natural and sustainable products.

Beyond the use of natural ingredients, people are looking for products that respect the earth’s biodiversity, foster the economic development of society and carefully manage water.

Despite the ubiquitous importance of sustainability across the world, individuals look for different criteria depending on the context of their country.

For example, Chinese citizens are dramatically impacted by air pollution. Consequently, their interests in environment friendly products and services is increasing exponentially.

Brazilian citizens are particularly interested in the topics of biodiversity and fair trade, given the impact of climate change on the Amazon rainforest.

Finally, French citizens tend to place more importance on recycling.

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