L’Oreal Case Study – Distinguishing Fads and Trends

“Having seen the innovative campaigns that competitors and other industries had implemented, she was convinced that social media could be a game-changer in the hair colour market.” 

The case discusses an innovative social media strategy by L’Oréal Paris, which is to ‘listen’ to consumers and then create product to meet consumers’ requirements and needs. First, the company utilizes Google to track emerging styles and decide which style will stay in a long term. Then it uses social media in choosing where to place the product, how to release it and the name of it.

One of the biggest challenges of the beauty and fashion industry is to distinguish fads from trends.

Fads are style that rise quickly in popularity and then burn out, usually within a year.

Trends last longer – over time they may become “classics”.

Marketing teams in cosmetics often ask four questions:

  1. Is the item/style compatible with a change in consumer lifestyle?
  2. Does the innovation provide real benefits?
  3. Is the innovation compatible with other changes in the marketplace?
  4. Who is adopting the trend?

If the answer to all the questions above indicates an innovation or style that has enduring qualities, it may be a trend instead of a fad.

For example, Harem pants (as seen in image below) were first seen by millions on M.C. Hammer in 1990, and again on Justin Bieber in 2013. In 1990, the style was welcomed by regular consumers quickly because the pants were comfortable and inexpensive. However, it turned out to be a fad because they were inappropriate in professional environment and were not very flattering.

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Editor’s Note:

In today’s world companies are able to obtain loads of information and data from social media. However, companies have to distinguish fads and trends to make a marketing decision rationally. It is also crucial how they integrated social media into the marketing strategy. It needs to include how to deliver the product to consumers, how it should be branded and named, the price point, and how it would be communicated to consumers. Social media like Facebook became a platform that brands adapt to “push” their new products to consumers. For example, Dior’s Facebook page incorporated beautiful photography as well as information about new products. WIth 12 million likes in 2011, Dior consumers interact with the brand on the social platform.