What particular aspect of digital marketing is unique to Japan?
“If I talk about Japan, we are three years behind where they are at in the USA. So when I built our digital strategy, I always tried to follow the successful models in the USA, paying particular focus to new technology and best practice. Then I attempted to build that strategy as an effective model adapted to the Japan market.
“L’Oreal is a big brand, but still relatively small in Japan, and in turn we have a very small media budget compared to our competitors, so this is why I have to think of a new idea, something very unique to build specifically for the Japanese consumer and make it outstanding.”
To what degree is the digital strategy driving growth for L’Oréal in Japan?
“Nihon L’Oréal at a company level is not very fast moving in Japan. But I would say that in the digital category here, the L’Oréal Paris brand has the fastest moving and most efficiently executed digital marketing strategy in Japan, and I’m very proud of that.”
What have been the key components of your digital strategy?
“We always start building our strategy two to three years before it is implemented. When I joined in 2006 I thought that @cosme, the leading digital review and e-commerce platform for cosmetics in Japan, would prove to be a vital part of our strategy.
“I tried to build our strategy by involving @cosme and developing L’Oreal’s product rankings on the website’s consumer review section, something that we were very successful with.
“At the same time I tried to build our own fan base on the Nihon L’Oreal dedicated website, and this has become our main ambassador to creating social buzz and impact in the digital realm. We have built this to the point where we are the second biggest digital player in the cosmetics field, ahead of many other much bigger players with much larger budgets.
“And the future, I’m doing more data driven marketing, providing analysis of the customer journey from our fan base on the dedicated website. This data information is helping us to form our future strategy.”
How important is celebrity sponsorship in the digital arena in Japan?
“Celebrity sponsorship is very important in Japan, but you need to choose the right individual for optimum engagement – someone that a broad spectrum of consumers can relate to. For our most successful digital celebrity sponsorship to date, we chose pop singer T.M. Revolution to promote a hair styling product called Extraordinary Oil Treatment, which we have specifically developed to take effective looking selfie photos. After the campaign was launched earlier this year, sales of the product rose by 18,000%.”
What type of products are best suited to digital marketing and why?
“It is very difficult to pinpoint, but we have discovered that in particular Japanese consumers are searching online for gray hair treatments. In Japan people often feel ashamed about going gray, so they want to research and buy the products discreetly, without friends and relatives knowing.
“When we recovered the search data on the Nihon L’Oréal website, we realised that consumers were making this particular search very often, so we have developed digital marketing strategies for gray hair products and treatments that target this consumer trend.
“However, conversely, when we promote gray hair products in open digital marketing platforms, we have discovered that these type of products receive very few ‘likes’ or acknowledgements from consumers because again they want to be very discreet about this matter.”
Junko Miyano spoke to Cosmetics Design during the Cosme Tokyo, Cosme Tech event 2014, held at the Big Site event space in Tokyo last week. The next event is scheduled to be held in the same location in January 2016.