L'Oreal Global Brand Local Knowledge

6825 Words Dec 14th, 2012 28 Pages
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REV: JULY 29, 2011

REBECCA M. HENDERSON
RYAN JOHNSON

L’Oréal: Global Brand, Local Knowledge

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You need a global brand, which is then adapted to the key markets on the key continents in order to offer
consumers the right and relevant products, which is what unive
ersalization is all about.1

— Jean-Paul Agon, CEO, 2010

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Since its founding in 1909, L’Oréal tightly couple d innovation and speed to market with
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expansion of its geographic and consumer base.2 L’Oré al believed that launching new innovative
products on a regular basis was key; the company typi cally outspent competitors on research and
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development (R&D). In 2010, L’Oréal spent 3.5% of reven ue on R&D, while Procter
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L’Oréal: Global Brand, Local Knowledge

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global.8 To be a truly global company, Owen-Jones noted at the time, the firm had to promote its
various national brands to the rest of world “because that was the other great alternative in the
beauty industry. And so we did something that was basically unthinkable for most multinational
companies. We didn’t just accept to have local brands. We tried to put our brands everywhere. We
sell the United States to Americans, the United States to the Chinese, Italian elegance to the Japanese,
French beauty to Africans, and Japanese chic to Brazilians.”9 In 1996 L’Oréal acquired Maybelline in
the U.S., the Chilean company Unisa, and the German company Jade, making L’Oréal the leading
producer of mass-market makeup at the time. By the late 1990s, L’Oréal and Maybelline were the two
fastest growing brands in the U.S.: L’Oréal was perceived as the supremely elegant, high-priced
luxury brand, while Maybelline was viewed as a high-quality/low-price value brand.10

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Historically aimed at women, L’Oréal began targeting men in 1999 when it introduced L’Oréal
Feria for Men and Casting ColorSpa for Men in 2000. That same year, underscoring its commitment
to multicultural markets,11 L’Oréal acquired two ethnic haircare marketers in the U.S.: Soft Sheen
Products (a manufacturer of products for individuals of African origin), and Carson Products Co.,
which had a…