2012 Marketers of the Year shortlist: L’Oréal Canada

The cosmetics company proved its beauty is more than skin deep with rich, engaging programs for many of its brands and across several platforms. They say beauty gets attention and personality gets the heart. This past year L’Oréal Canada won over consumers through the launch of integrated sponsorships, cause marketing campaigns and promotions with plenty […]

The cosmetics company proved its beauty is more than skin deep with rich, engaging programs for many of its brands and across several platforms.

They say beauty gets attention and personality gets the heart. This past year L’Oréal Canada won over consumers through the launch of integrated sponsorships, cause marketing campaigns and promotions with plenty of beauty and personality.

The Montreal-based cosmetics and beauty company is sitting pretty with a portfolio of 31 beauty brands, and over the past year reached an estimated 33% market share. And the Canadian division was L’Oréal’s second fastest-growing subsidiary among developed countries in the past year.

“To be able to get several brands to come together and create things we consider to be innovative platforms… I think is a sign that we have that entrepreneurial spirit and we’re willing to reinvent ourselves,” Marie Josée Lamothe, chief marketing officer and chief communications officer at L’Oréal Canada, says of this year’s marketing accomplishments.

In the spring, L’Oréal Canada partnered with Rogers Media for an online reality competition called Canada’s Best Beauty Talent that appealed to both consumers and beauty professionals.

The six-part series, hosted by Canadian supermodel Coco Rocha, saw hair and makeup artists teaming up to create a different look each episode using products from L’Oréal Canada’s top brands, including Kérastase, Lancôme and L’Oréal Professionnel.

The coverage played out across several platforms. The teams’ creations were featured in Rogers-owned publications such as Hello Canada, Flare, Chatelaine and their social media sites.

Rogers directed viewers online with 60-second teasers during Canada’s Got Talent and used other media assets such as CityLine and Breakfast Television to promote the show. It was a hit, earning 57.5 million media impressions and garnering L’Oréal a 52% increase in Facebook followers across all the brands that participated.

The company is thrilled with the results and insights gained from the consumers who watched in season one, says Lamothe. For instance, more consumers tuned in from a tablet than expected.

The company’s L’Oréal Paris brand gave consumer engagement the red carpet treatment when it signed on as a major sponsor and official beauty partner of the Toronto International Film Festival this year.

Over the last 18 months, L’Oréal Canada started looking at sponsorship as a way of producing a steady stream of content specific to a community rather than simply trying to generate awareness, says Lamothe.

“It’s not about creating awareness in front of people that are interested in TIFF,” says Lamothe. “It’s about the content we create that becomes relevant to that community throughout the year.”

Months before the September festival opened, L’Oréal Canada asked its Facebook fans to help create a limited edition “Simply Chic” collection from one of four looks sketched by the brand’s official makeup artist, Eddie Malter.

The line chosen by fans included nail polish, mascara, lipstick and primer, and went into stores in the weeks before the festival.

The company also reached out to beauty bloggers to help create buzz around the new collection, and partnered with CTV’s eTalk for four one-minute segments on red carpet beauty trends.

The brand was also present at the festival’s photo studio where celebrities and directors were offered touchups before press conferences and gala events. A beauty correspondent was on-hand during red carpet events to interview celebrities for the brand’s YouTube channel, which received 250,000 views in only two weeks.

L’Oréal Paris also set up a lounge in downtown Toronto and offered free manicures and product to passersby that registered their contact information for the company’s CRM database. In all, L’Oréal Paris collected 8,500 new email addresses.

The sponsorship and activations paid off. Sales for the brand increased 19.2% during the first week of the 17-day festival compared to the week before.

L’Oréal Canada has focused heavily on its digital and social presence over the last two years, which has given the company a better understanding of its customers by simply listening to what they say, says Lamothe. “It made us more aware of our consumers. We use social platforms as focus groups and as listening platforms and that makes us more aware of the feedback from our communities and we work very hard to adjust based on what they’re asking,” she says.

For its philanthropic efforts this year, the company’s Lancôme Canada brand helped raise $11,000 for the Look Good, Feel Better foundation by donating $1 for every new Facebook fan and $1 for each time a fan shared the Lancôme Celebrates Women application during the fundraising campaign. The brand also donated $7 for every bottle of Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate sold at retail or online.

When it comes to marketing, L’Oréal Canada has both beauty and brains, which earns it a position on Marketing’s list of top marketers—because they’re worth it.

To read the full version of this story and more about the companies that made the Marketers of the Year and Media Players of the Year shortlists, check out Marketing’s Nov. 19 issue, which is on newsstands now.

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