At Market Logic, our clients’ approaches to their insights platforms often fall on a spectrum. At one end of the spectrum, small teams start deploying insights platforms for their own use, gradually extending reach over time by leveraging success from one business line, function or region to the next.
At the other end, corporations embark on a grand, enterprise-wide deployment of their insights platform, with the ambition to fully democratize insights and data from the outset, for a truly global and at-scale experience. L’Oréal is one of these organizations, democratizing access to insights for tens of thousands of staff, at an impressive and accelerating speed.
In 2018, L’Oréal’s next CEO Nicolas Hieronimus saw an opportunity for cross functional knowledge sharing to replace knowledge silos he saw between ‘competing’ brand teams inside the organization. He shared his dream to democratize knowledge on market trends and consumers across functions, regions, and brands with the global team. One year later, that dream came to life with L’Oréal’s “One Intelligence” insights platform, led by Julia Sarhy, Global Consumer Insights Director.
Consumer & Market knowledge siloed across the globe
L’Oréal is a huge company with a flotilla of 35+ brands in 150 countries, 350 CMI professionals, and 88,000 employees. So how siloed was the organization’s knowledge? Julia and her team decided to find out. They got to work mapping all the places in the organization where consumer & market-facing information resides.
The team mapped all the organization’s global market and consumer insights knowledge, including brand equity, go-to-market (i.e., shopper and media), and mix validation and communication tests. They identified silos across the organization’s global entities and brands in evaluation, division, research and innovation, packaging, and others.
“We ended up with more than 60 different sources and SharePoints, each of them completely isolated, not sharing their information with the others,” Julia explained.
L’Oréal launches insights platform to half their workforce
L’Oréal’s envisioned solution? “A unique, widely accessible, trans-divisional insights platform where all relevant documents are centralized and reachable via an optimized search tool,” so business users can make better decisions, faster.
The Market-Logic-Powered “One Intelligence” insights platform launched in February 2020 with a Grand Opening Week to 40,000 users, almost half of L’Oréal’s employees, an ambitious and calculated strategy befitting their ambitious objective.
“It was very important for us to make the knowledge accessible to anyone. Our objective was to fuel customer-centricity across the group by enabling everyone to use this information to develop their products. We wanted a junior product marketing researcher and a Head of Country or even Head of Division to access exactly the same information,” Julia said.
The Grand Opening Week entailed a portfolio of communication assets. “We sent banners, flyers, and stickers to more than 40 different locations. Every CMI team had a communication relay in their country, with organized events on site,” Julia said.
“Executive endorsement was key to make everyone at ease with sharing their knowledge,” Julia pointed out. “Endorsement videos with next CEO to be Nicolas Hieronimus, Group VPs, the Heads of Asia and Americas regions, plus multiple Heads of CMI, were displayed at all sites.”
One Intelligence shifts the role of CMI teams
Julia said the Grand Opening Week instilled pride across CMI teams while shifting their focus from information delivery to strategic use.
“Our local CMI teams were proud to be at the core of consumer centricity, with a new platform that shifted their role. Rather than just being the people that give out information, we were now here to help strategize the information that’s available to all,” Julia said.
By bringing the launch theme “If only we knew what we know” to life, CMI teams also gained time efficiencies. “This was about being more empowered, more knowledgeable and using your time and competencies to help build strategies with stakeholders, rather than just sharing documents,” Julia added.
Massive demand for self-service insights at L’Oréal
Since the launch, demand for access to One Intelligence has proved strong, with 14,000 unique visitors making 80,000 connections with the platform.
Julia said the insight platform’s expert-curated content plays a vital role in driving this traffic by reassuring audiences they can find targeted, reliable information. The platform further enriches insights with 80 integrated industry news feeds and three syndicated sources: Mintel, Euromonitor, and Kline.
Requests to access One Intelligence came from surprising corners, including Supply Chain and HR/Learning, where associates were eager to know more about the market and consumers. To support expansion to these communities, the team reviewed security management and performed further risk assessments before approving even broader access.
Risk management in democratized insights
Where business partners are reluctant to share works in progress with competing brands inside the corporation, or to publicize results from “fail fast” innovation programs, L’Oréal introduced policies to delay the publication of innovation and marketing mix research until after a product launch “so everyone can benefit from the best studies, with total safety and reassurance,” Julia said.
Julia also shared details about the scanning and escalation process L’Oréal uses to prevent excessive content downloads from their platform. The process works around the world, 24/7.
Personalized engagement plans activated by community of champions
While the team are pleased with platform engagement numbers across core agencies including CMI, marketing, and digital, they proactively explore ways to increase reach and drive more engagement. Recently, the team conducted a survey that garnered an incredible 600 responses, revealing what people knew of the platform, how they were using it, how often, what for, and their expectations.
“We viewed these quantitative results as the frame for different streams of animation and engagement, defining what the value proposition is for each user community, and the best engagement plan we can think of to activate them,” Julia explained.
The insights team’s creative focus on user engagement with One Intelligence is relentless. One workstream is creating and engaging a champion community of people who are advocates for the platform, with personalized animation plans.
Other methods include monthly push newsletters on hot topics, such as health and wellness, or China. This year, Julia hired a community manager to work on personalized engagement plans for each target audience.
For Julia, making the One Intelligence platform future proof is all about sharpening the vision for the platform over time, as a dynamic, social place, where visitors feel that they are on the pulse of breaking insights, with live connections to hot topics. “One Intelligence is much more than a library you come to when you’re looking for a book. It needs to be a place you visit to learn, explore and leave, not only with useful books, but also connections to experts who can help you continue your learning journey.”
A CEO’s dream come true
“We can be so proud of this work because our CEO had this vision of becoming better competitors on the market, not inside the company. It was very important to have this mindset shift,” Julia said. “It was also about being more cost effective and being more robust, making decisions on concrete and robust data, and being more strategy driven and consumer driven, because that’s part of the sustainability of every company today.”
L’Oréal’s success with One Intelligence has been a dream come true for the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Nicolas Hieronimus. At a celebration for the company’s CMI professionals last year, Nicolas proclaimed, “I had a dream, and you made this dream possible.”