L’Oréal Paris ups influencers but admits convincing the board has been ‘difficult’

The beauty brand’s general manager for the UK insists it has “not yet” encountered influencer fatigue, as it adds three more ambassadors to its ‘Beauty Squad’.


L’Oréal says it has seen a direct sales uplift due to its beauty influencers, but admits getting the board to back this strategy has not always been easy.

The brand announced today (6 July) that it has added three more beauty bloggers, Lydia Millen, Ling KT and Amena, to its ‘Beauty Squad’. L’Oréal originally launched the ‘squad’ in September last year, in a bid to “craft a different type of relationship” when working with influencers while simultaneously reaching out to new audiences.

The bloggers have been used to reveal latest products, create “fun and engaging” content as well as attend key beauty events including London Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week and Cannes Film Festival. The brand claims the Beauty Squad has allowed it “to engage with consumers easily and timely in today’s lightning-paced digital environment”.

Speaking to Marketing Week, L’Oréal Paris’s general manager for the UK Adrien Koskas says the brand is shifting more of its budget away from traditional media to social influencers after seeing an uplift in sales. The brand had previously revealed that its first influencer campaign had caused its True Match product to become the best-selling foundation in the UK.

“We have rejigged our investment from traditional media to social media and influencers and we are seeing a positive impact, especially when it comes to make-up,” he says.

READ MORE: L’Oréal says brands are using influencers the wrong way

“The great thing about influencers is that we sometimes do social promotions where they talk about the products and tell their followers they can use a discount code to buy it online at a specific retailer. We can then track that code, and we’ve seen a fantastic uplift in sales. The impact [from those campaigns] is immediate and working really well for us.”

That said, not everyone was initially enthused about the brand’s change in strategy. Before the Beauty Squad, the brand predominantly focused on big celebrity tie-ups, such as Helen Mirren and Cheryl Cole. Koskas admitted it took some convincing among his colleagues and the board that this was the right way forward.

L’Oréal was worried about what it would do with the model if we were [working with] influencers as well as celebrities, but we now know we can manage both with no issues.

Adrien Koskas, L’Oréal Paris

“At the beginning, it was not obvious for rest of the group, my peers and the management in Paris, that it was important for us to push [beauty bloggers]. And when I look back, we were leading the way, as today everybody recognises the importance of beauty bloggers to the beauty industry,” he explains.

“L’Oréal was worried about what it would do with the model if we were [working with] influencers as well as celebrities, but we now know we can manage both with no issues. The relationship you have with influencers has to be true and sincere, and it’s also about the way you use them. You can’t put them in an ad as if they’re big media celebrities, they have to be used in their own environment to make it credible.”

More purpose-led campaigns to come

Earlier this year, L’Oréal Paris shifted its marketing approach by launching a purpose-led campaign in collaboration with The Prince’s Trust.

It is running confidence courses quarterly at each of the 18 Prince’s Trust centres, which hopes to help 10,000 young people by “turning self-doubt into self-worth”. The programme, which comprises of four modules, will address issues such as body language, communication, employability and relationships.

Its influencers once again played a big part in the campaign. Koskas claims the response to it has been “amazing”, and that it has hit 100 million impressions. The net sentiment around the campaign also stands at 99%, with consumer comments being “very positive across the board”.

L’Oréal is now looking to renew the campaign, not only with influencers but with members of the public who have been through its programme. The second wave of the campaign is expected to launch later this year. Koskas also says that more purpose-led campaigns for different areas of the business are set to follow.

He concludes: “We are also considering different causes with another L’Oréal brand within a different category. Today, for people to engage with brand, brands need to have a purpose – it’s not enough to sell products, you need to have a clear role or mission in the world.”



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