Trends or fads? — Marketing strategy analysis on L’Oréal’s hair dye products

Beauty products make us feel good about ourselves. We all want to own the most beautiful shades to make our eyelids shine, own the best lipsticks to make our lips glow, and the best hair color to make sure we have the perfect look.

Beauty companies struggle to get you like their products. In the fashion and beauty industry, the biggest challenge is to distinguish trends from fads. Fads burn out quickly while trends last longer and have the potential to become ‘classics’.

As the leader in the hair care market, L’Oréal Paris needed to identify which one of the three hairstyles is the ‘trend’: ombre/dip-dye, tye-die/rainbow hair, or splat hair.

Ombre/dip-dye Hair
Tie-dye/Rainbow Hair
Splat Hair

Being a fashion and beauty lover for years, I personally think identifying the enduring trend is not the most difficult part. Some elements never go out of style. Tie-dye and splat hair are a little too bold to become ‘classics’ (especially splat hair) while ombre looks more elegant, sexy and enduring.

Google trends supported my viewpoints. Ombre seems to be the No.1 trend, tie-dye seems to be also popular but a little unstable, splat hair does not seem to have been popular enough until Oct. 2016 but quickly fell back to where it had been before.

屏幕快照 2017-04-19 下午12.39.17.png
Google trends on term ‘Ombre Hair’
屏幕快照 2017-04-19 下午12.38.56.png
Google trends on term ‘Tie-dye Hair’
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Google trends on term ‘Splat Hair’

Social media had been fashion and beauty brands’ ‘to-go’ platform before it became popular for a lot of other industries. Besides the marketing traditional 4P strategies, social media was then the new battleground for a lot of brands. L’Oreal was facing three options:

  1. To create several pages dedicated to the brand on major social media platforms, such as a Facebook page and a Twitter account.
  2. To find consumers that might be willing to create buzz about the brand, and to do so the team would have to determine who to target and what influencer programme to build.
  3. To build a platform for consumers to exchange information about the brand and give tips.

In my opinion, there should be a mix of all three. Social media accounts would create mass awareness while influencers can contribute to the conversion rate, a platform for consumers to exchange information would further entice action by creating community experience. A simple social media campaign with a mix of different platforms and approaches would achieve greater impact than simply focusing on one.

Some new thoughts on social media strategy: first of all, social media seem to be very effective for beauty brands; recent social media development such as snapchat stories, Instagram and Facebook live as new ways to interact with consumers, can contribute to the overall product awareness as well as create value for customers. By utilizing these new social media tools, celebrity or influencer endorsement can have a ‘real-time’ effect and for a hair style trend, this in fact adds a bit more ‘in-style’ and ‘on-trend’ sense in consumers’ mind, and thus can have even bigger impact on sales.



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