How to Future-Proof your Brand in a Digital Age

May 2015

A candid panel discussion between General Manager for L'Oréal Paris Elen Macaskill, CEO Mike Ramseyer and Marie Claire Publishing Director Justine Southall generated bright ideas for ensuring brand success in the environment of tremendous change that's been brought about by digital. According to these experts, a combination of operational integration, a content-first approach and smarter methods of measurement are key to ensuring that organisations survive and thrive.

Elen, what is L'Oréal doing to adapt in today's digital climate?

Elen: It's meant huge change, and not just for the marketing team. It's really made us rethink our whole business. One of the things that I feel on a daily basis is increasing complexity. We have to be absolutely ruthless on ROI because we need to do more for less all the time. We're really trying to drive down costs and leverage spend to do more content and tailored creative.

Collaboration is really important. It requires a new skill set within teams. More than ever, we need people who can work across multiple areas to accelerate our activity.

Justine, as a traditional print title how does Marie Claire approach digital?

Justine: What we do is make content; it is absolutely the thing that keeps us alive. Marie Claire is a brand that has enormous history and trust in talking to women and inspiring them. The magazine is at the heart of that; it's the experiential, tactile piece. But what's actually extended our reach way beyond anything we could ever have had when we were just a magazine is digital.

The quality of the content is absolutely key to getting people to buy and be part of Marie Claire. Online, it's a different story because readers aren't paying for it, but they are coming to us because they recognise the name and the expertise. So if you look at beauty searches in Google, we come top in hundreds of searches.

Marie Claire has announced a partnership with Speciality Stores that will see the launch of a retail beauty business. What thinking underpinned the collaboration?

Justine: For so many women, our lives are extraordinarily complex. There's so much out there, it's important to have a kind of lighthouse in this ocean of information and products. It made complete sense to us that if you're looking for the best mascara through Marie Claire, wouldn't it be great to be able to buy one, too?

Mike, what do brands need to know about measurement in this complex environment?

Mike: The beauty business is looking for a measure of value in online and social. I think — and a lot of the companies we work for think — that this is something called EPM, which is engagement per thousand. It's when someone saw my message, liked my message and did something about it. To take that one step forward, if we know the cost of a campaign then we can then overlay that with an EPM figure. With a simple calculation we can work out the cost per thousand, which is a true measure of industry activity.

You then get an ROI that feeds back into your business. No other medium can do that in the same way that social and online can do — and I think that's pretty good news for the beauty business.

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