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A Celebration and a Lesson

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: October 5, 2009, from the October 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

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L’Oréal: Eugene Schueller’s work ethic, commitment to excellence and innovative vision have remained with L’Oréal throughout its history. Always challenging, reinventing and striving to improve, the company believes that for a product to be a success, it must be useful, effective and of the highest quality in all aspects. The fundamental belief that science drives product development is supported by the fact that L’Oréal reinvests about 3.3% of total sales back into R&D, and the interaction between the brands’ marketing departments and the labs is significant. Every step in the life of a product is carefully orchestrated, from the laboratory to customer sales.

GCI: In a recent fiscal report, Jean-Paul Agon, CEO, said: “To weather this [current economic] crisis and indeed emerge stronger than before, the group is implementing five main strategic thrusts: developing accessible innovation to broaden the consumer base, opening up new product categories, accelerating globalization, ensuring sustained advertising and promotional investments, and lastly reducing costs.” Has a closer eye on costs, in fact, made the company more innovative? Has it forced a closer look at products, R&D and markets that will actually strengthen the company?

L’Oréal: L’Oréal has always pushed the limits of scientific knowledge and innovation. This has been part of the company’s DNA and is ongoing. We will continue to enlarge our consumer base in all categories with innovations such as the Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller, Lancôme’s Genifique, and SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF, to name a few. For L’Oréal, new market conquests began early in the company’s history and continue today. Geographic expansion has profoundly enriched L’Oréal’s expertise, expanding its horizons, sharpening its approaches and refining its offerings. With brands that are present in 130 countries and with 60 subsidiaries, the company will be opening new subsidiaries in Egypt, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Africa.