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Beautiful combination

Five elements of L'Oreal's success

What would you do, becoming the head of the largest cosmetic company in the world?

The new top manager L'Oreal Jean Paul Aton, who took office in the spring of 2006, decided to continue the course of his predecessors. The result is old ideas on a new scale.

Idea # 1: Beauty is Science

Lipstick, capable of changing color depending on the mood of the mistress (turn blue in moments of anger or bright red when the mistress is happy). The device, which can make up a woman's nails, repeating the pattern on her dress. Light makeup, imitating the rich colors of butterfly wings. All this is the very innovation that Jean-Paul Agon is looking for today. Three of these unusual ideas were included in the presentation of the cosmetics of the future, which he presented to his colleagues in June.

If in early 2006 his appointment as a top manager caused many market analysts questions about where he would lead the company, then in a few months everything fell into place: Jean-Paul Agon confirmed his adherence to the historically established business philosophy L'Oreal, and including its policy in the field of scientific research.

The study of beauty is one of the main components of the success of the company, which came out of the scientific community in 1907. Its founder was a scientist named Eugene Schuler, who invented the first hair dye. Since then L'Oreal has never stopped research to improve the effectiveness of their products and their innovative qualities - 3.4% of sales proceeds go to research. In 14 research centers of the company, located in France, Asia and America, employ about 2900 people. Thanks to their discoveries, L'Oreal annually registers hundreds of new patents (according to this indicator the organization is always ahead of its competitors). In 2005 the company registered 529 inventions. It is interesting that over 57% of the company's managers working in the field of research are women, which is an unprecedented example in the cosmetics industry.

The interests of research centers L'Oreal are very diverse - from the problems of aging to the ethnic features of the application of cosmetology. So, in 2005, the company L'Oral even opened the Institute of Ethnic Hair and Skin Studies in Chicago, whose results will help determine the most effective cosmetic products for people from Africa.

One of the main scientific problems in 2006 was the development of artificial leather. This issue was taken up by the company shortly after acquiring the chain of stores Body Shop. This brand has long been known for the fact that its products have never been tested on animals. Taking the idea of ​​predecessors for the basis of his work, Jean-Paul Agon decided to take it to a new level. The artificial analogue of human skin, created by specialists of L'Oreal, in the future will be used to test all the products of the company. And Mr. Agon believes that this discovery has a huge potential and can be applied at all enterprises of the industry, forcibly replacing animal tests from the cosmetic industry.

The goal of scientific leadership is clear - in order to win the battle for technology and consolidate its position in the market, it is necessary to have a better research base. For the same reason, up to 95% of cosmetic products L'Oreal are produced at the company's own plants. (It's a rather unusual idea for an era when everyone prefers to transfer their production to regions with cheap labor.)

The company is firmly convinced that buyers are smart enough and can distinguish good quality from bad. "We strive to fully control the quality of production, as well as keep all the formulas secret," says Jean-Paul Agon. "This is an additional guarantee of the high quality of our products throughout the world, and it is also a guarantee of our commitment to certain social, ethical and environmental production principles."

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