During a press conference held at its headquarters, L’Oréal's Laurent Attal, executive vice president of research and innovation, presented a new development strategy for the company. L’Oréal aims to add one billion new consumers by establishing regional research and innovation hubs in China, India and Brazil to gather consumer feedback, then implementing a "design to value" strategy for innovation.
For example, the company noted that kohl, an emblematic product in India used for eyes, is being used as a source of inspiration for the development of products that will meet the beauty expectations of Indian women as well as expectations of consumers from other regions.
The company also noted that antiperspirants and oily skin products are strategic products to develop for emerging markets since, in most of these countries, sweat and oily skin are seen as one and the same and are intimately linked to climate, diet and physiology.
To place more emphasis on consumer input, the company has created a “Consumer Insights” International division to assess, for example, the quality of a shampoo or shower gel’s lather, which is not appreciated in the same way by all cultures. To respond to these diverse expectations, instrumental evaluation methods that assess clinical efficacy are combined with objective evaluations of the product’s emotional and sensorial performance (i.e., brain imaging, “eye tracking,” or sensorial mapping).
The company furthered that earlier and more efficient predictions for product success are key and should be built on the knowledge of cultural contexts, beauty rituals, diet and climate, and the in-depth knowledge of skin’s structure and understanding of its mechanisms.