Staff Writer
Jan 9, 2018

L’Oréal China’s Michael Zhang weighs in on data, successful digital campaigns

A unique perspective from the frontlines of the eighth annual Tencent MIND Awards.

L’Oréal China’s Michael Zhang weighs in on data, successful digital campaigns

When it comes to assessing digital marketing strategy Michael Zhang, corporate media director of L’Oréal China and judge at this year’s Tencent MIND Awards, has clear criterion, “It’s always engagement. Consumer engagement, real engagement, it’s so important. We cannot guarantee that sales will absolutely, automatically happen, but in a media campaign, at least you can make sure that engagement is really happening.”

But the tides have turned in the years Zhang has spent in the industry, “Today is not like three years ago—when we didn’t have a lot of data—today we have too much data.” Engaging consumers is no longer a one-dimensional affair, but a targeting effort based on gathering troves data, shaping it into something humanistic, and implementing it in a useful way.

If this sounds like a Herculean effort, connecting the dots becomes easier when partnering with large-scale data providers like Tencent. As Zhang puts it, “Tencent is not just a media vendor. They also have a lot of social information and ecommerce data. We try to link all this data together to re-profile a consumer’s overall journey and touch points.”

Insulating barriers between companies in the data game don’t benefit anyone. Brands like L’Oréal and data giants like Tencent—who are more open and communal with their assets—make for a more transparent, collaborative environment. In September, the two brands renewed their Joint Business Partnership agreement and announced the launch of the Brand Data Center, a tailor-made Tencent marketing solution for L’Oréal aimed at bettering precision, efficiency and traceability through social and big data.

These efforts elevate digital campaigns and make consumer profiling more relevant and personal, and this profiling is monumentally important when initially targeting a campaign’s demographics. Zhang goes on, “If it’s a new product, you probably want to reach more new customers, if it’s a flagship product, then you probably will think about how to build loyalty.”

It’s often an even more nuanced affair, like in a recent L’Oréal campaign that targetted couples on 520 Day (much like Valentine’s Day). The digital campaign, which encouraged users to share shades of lipstick on Tencent social platforms, led to 52,000 tubes of lipstick flying of the shelves within an hour, and made 418 million social impressions over three days.

Another 2017 L’Oréal campaign focused on marketing hair products to the younger “post 90’s” demographic on Tencent’s own reality show, “Stars Gather for Your Dream”. The content engaged users beyond the digital realm, offering the opportunity to attend Cannes Film Festival and walk among the stars on the red carpet with L’Oréal-styled hair and makeup. Hitting the mark, the “post-90’s” demographic made up 85 percent of the content’s viewership, and the sales on L’Oréal’s flagship store increased tenfold.

After a banner year, expectations are high for Tencent and L’Oréal’s collaboration in 2018. Their blueprint for success takes shape in four distinctive areas.

  • Media efficiency Driving media efficiency and effectiveness with data and digital.
  • Content Connecting the brand to young consumers via their passions and interests.
  • Innovation Exploring business opportunities in digital between brands through meaningful collaboration.
  • Data Deep-diving for consumer insight with their CRM team using cross-platform data integration.

In terms of using this data to drive consumer insight, Zhang is proactive, but realistic with its implementation, “This will never be a perfect solution, because the consumer is changing. Today you say he’s a coffee lover, tomorrow he’ll become a tea lover. It’s an ongoing and continuous effort. The most important thing is having strong talent and capabilities.”

That talent was on full display on 9 December. Look out for more exclusive interviews, case studies and insight from this year’s Tencent MIND Awards.



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