Kevin Capota – L’Oréal

Kevin Capota – L’Oréal

Kevin Capota is the Chief Marketing & Digital Officer at L’Oréal Netherlands. He is responsible for the expertise team which focuses on digital transformation, media, CRM, CMI, e-commerce and consumer care. He and his team help facilitate the business and the different brand teams to excel and to drive the marketing transformation.

L’Oréal has been (and still is) one of the frontrunners when it comes to digital transformation of their brands and its way of communicating. Kevin: “In these times of crisis, we noticed that the strong growth in online revenue compensates partly for the loss of offline retail sales, with shops closing at the start of the corona crisis. We have started working on e-commerce early on, and gathered a lot of knowledge and experience how to sell beauty online. This foundation has been helping us now to leverage the online shopping boost that is currently happening.”

Main ingredients for growth

Market share development and having a strong awareness and brand image are L’Oréal’s main KPI’s for growth. Kevin: “We have been steering more to these brand metrics, which of course translate into market share. Because we have 34 different brands, every brand has their own strategy and challenges. We have both very strong brands with still a low awareness, and then again, heritage brands with high awareness, but which we are adjusting to current times.” Kevin gives us another important element in realising growth: “There are new values which are becoming more important. Transparency of ingredients is a big topic in beauty care. How do you make sure your brands act in a credible way with increasingly better informed consumers? It’s not just about market share and awareness, but also about how our brand perception fits in with the values which are important in current times.”

Creative as a driver for growth means communicating in an honest and consistent manner. Kevin: “Honest communication, and transparency. All based on consumer insights by finding out what the consumer truly wants. We are now focusing more and more on delivering value to our consumers. When you have a good product, a strong brand and a story people are willing to engage with. The next step is servicing your consumer. That’s a reason for people to commit to your brand. So, we provide consumers with more personalised advice by integrating AR technology in our marketing mix. For instance, we have introduced virtual hair colour try-on, which lets you try real-time different hair colours. And we diagnose consumers on the quality of their skin by using AI skin diagnostics, followed by a personalised product routine. We also offer live video chats to our consumers with our beauty advisors. All of this has been accelerated due to Covid-19, when all make-up testers had to be removed from physical stores and Beauty Advisors were forced to work from home as their stores were closed. Next step is that the AR technology will be integrated into Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube ads so we can reach even more people with these services.”

Next to awareness and service, Kevin tells us there is a third driver for growth. “A well-integrated shopper activation. These days, retail is not just a sales channel, they have developed into publishers where you can bring across your brand story. The synergy with our retailers is one of the most important focus points. We must find a way to combine the two, which both parties will benefit from.”

The role of creative

When it comes to creative, Kevin states that brands must stand out. “The message overload we are hit with every single day, you must grab the attention. What is important – and can be a pitfall for many advertisers – is that we all understand the codes of each new platforms. Which type of creative do you use on social? And with what purpose? What will you do on YouTube? Your website, e-commerce? So, what is hugely important is that one really understand what the platform is all about. With what motivations and needs are people visiting those platforms? This allows us to allocate and adjust our creatives to those platforms accordingly. Together with our Global team we have developed frameworks for this, rules of the game we want to follow narrowly for every platform based on accumulated global learnings”.

“Successful creatives need to strike a chord with the consumer”, Kevin continues. “They should trigger a relevant need, where consumers start to think it’s interesting for them, and they want to try it. Next to that, it needs to be inclusive. A quarter of Dutch millennials is non-Caucasian. We want to include everyone in our story, no matter what skin or hair type you have, and aim to present a representative reflection of society.”

Creative challenges

Kevin tells us that one of the biggest challenges within creative is consumer centric communication. “Having a message that is consumer centric, and not too focused on yourself or your product. We have a marketing intelligence department ensuring that we keep track of what consumers really want and need. In different categories where there are different target groups and needs. And this can be a challenge, because we work with international creatives. However, within those we can adjust the nuance to make it relevant on a local basis.”

“Secondly, when you look at a brand such as L’Oréal Paris, it’s not a single brand. You have so many different categories with various sub-brands. How do you build a consistent brand among all that? It’s a challenge, especially when you take into account that we also develop local campaigns when we see from data, we have something different to tell our local consumers than the global creatives do. Leading to even more storylines within a brand. We always make sure to include our advertising agency (who is also our global partner) to ensure the brand in local campaigns is well in tune with the global brand vision.”

When it comes to creatives themselves, Kevin tells us that a lot of thought is put into the brand cues and distinctive assets. “With most of our brands, it’s clear that the message is coming from our brand. L’Oréal Paris is known for ‘because you’re worth it’. Which we use at the end of every commercial. We can bring the brands across consistently within the creatives.”

Role of influencers

According to Kevin, advocacy is an important pillar in the category. “What influencers or micro influencer write about your brand. But it’s also about reviews, whether it’s an in-depth product review or a comment on social media. Advocacy is very important because consumers perceive it as a more credible form of communication than when it directly comes from our brand.” Kevin tells us that L’Oréal uses influencers on social media to share their brand message. “It can be a challenge, because you give them the creative control of telling your brand message. And with a clear brief, we have learned to let go of that control. But the bottom line is, influencer content performs best when they can stay true to their form, this will have the most impact on their followers – which they know better than anybody else. Of course, it is about recruiting the right persons, with the right following base and we’re investing in long term influencer relationships, because you put a lot of trust in them to create something that will benefit your brand. Advocacy output is a thing you can’t fully control as a brand, but you have to take that opportunity. Because word of mouth is a powerful driver to strengthen your brand.”