La vie en rose

Friday, June 01, 2007

First month at L'Oreal

I have to turn in an executive summary about my internship, and since I have no time to write a blog entry, you get to read the paper! Enjoy!

With operations in over 130 countries, L’Oréal is the largest beauty and cosmetics company in the world. After starting in the hair-color industry in 1909, L’Oréal branched out into other beauty products and now markets over 500 brands in the cosmetics industry. Its brands are organized by the company’s four target markets, thus constituting L’Oréal’s organizational structure: mass market, professional, luxury and active. The newest brand in the Professional Products division is Mizani: high-end hair products for African and mixed heritage hair distributed uniquely in luxury salons. In the first year of its launch outside of the U.S., the brand is differentiating itself from its competition by focusing on ethnicity instead of hair type. The primary challenges for the Mizani brand are creating awareness around the special needs of African hair as well as emphasizing the need for a high-end product in a market comprised essentially of low to mid-ranged products. As the Assistant Product Manager for the Mizani brand, I am responsible for many different aspects of brand marketing including advertising, event planning and B2B customer relations.

One of the main objectives for the Mizani brand is to expand its presence in luxury salons for African and mixed-heritage hair. The challenge associated with this objective is the lack of luxury salons in the market. To boost the brand’s exposure, the marketing strategy is centered on emphasizing the professional, luxury products available in order to push the demand for high-end hair care. In order to increase customer awareness of the availability of professional products for African hair care, I am currently developing brochures to be distributed to salon owners, consumer leaflets on product information as well as advertisements published in high-end fashion magazines geared towards our target market.
To further its establishment as a new, strong competitor amongst other high-end hair care brands, Mizani is also planning to host a stand at two upcoming exhibitions: Boucles d’Ebène and le Mondial Coiffure Beauté. The annual Boucles d’Ebène fair takes place in June and showcases African beauty in France. This will be Mizani’s first year as an exhibitor at this fair that shares the same target market. Also an annual event, le Mondial Coiffure Beauté occurs in September and is the largest worldwide tradeshow in the hair care industry. These two events will help create brand awareness and image while establishing Mizani’s position as the leader in high-end hair care for African hair. I am currently coordinating our presence at these events with internal and external contacts to design and create the stand while focusing on our marketing strategy.

While expanding its presence, Mizani is also committed to growing its existing business by cultivating current relationships with its partner salons. This month, we launched the new “Assistance Client Mizani” service in order to better serve current customers. As the representative for “Assistance Client Mizani”, I notify partner salons regularly about new product launches and any special offers by telephone and through mailings. In return, the partner salons have a personal contact at Mizani should they have any product oriented questions or be unable to reach their sales representative. In the first month, this service has received positive reviews from the salons.
My position as Assistant Product Manager at L’Oréal has already exposed me to many different facets of brand and product marketing. As part of a team of three people in the Mizani marketing department, my responsibilities are increasing exponentially as I become more familiar with the company and the brand. Overcoming the challenges associated with introducing a new, high-end brand and product line into a niche market is proving to be a very enriching marketing experience. This position is providing me with fundamental marketing and business skills that will be essential during my future career.