L’Oréal Professional Products Division is L’Oréal’s historic division, founded in 1909 by chemist Eugène Schueller. As the “inventor” of the hair-care industry, Schueller was committed to elevating hairdressing to the same aesthetic level as other arts, and to supporting the expertise and education of hairdressers. Today, L’Oréal Professional Products Division remains at the heart of the Group, featuring 8 professional brands, generating 20% of the company’s turnover, and acting as a leading player within a major global industry (of the two million professional salons worldwide, one in four is a L’Oréal salon).

In May 2010, L’Oréal appointed its first Director of International Communications for the Professional Products Division, Sandrine Michard, who quickly developed an ambitious action plan: host the Division’s first international press event at the “Mondial Coiffure Beauté” (MCB), the world’s leading international professional beauty tradeshow held in Paris each November. Attended by 75,000 trade visitors from 60 countries, with 500 brands and 4,000 top hairdressers present on site, the MCB is a landmark event that offered a perfect opportunity to propel the L’Oréal Professional Products Division into the spotlight.

ELAN’s Role: Bringing the World of Professional Beauty to Life
ELAN was selected to work on the project in July 2010, and asked to organise an “international premiere” press trip for 100 international journalists that would provide a complete immersion in L’Oréal’s professional brands and products. Working in conjunction with Market Place, a Paris-based logistics agency (which handled travel and accommodation arrangements), ELAN piloted the project’s international and French media relations, with a three-part role:
• PR content production: production of all PR tools (in English and French), including a press kit, press release, key messages, a “storybook” (providing pitching information for local teams), speech-writing, a media website, and an audio-guide for L’Oréal’s brand booths at the MCB (translated into seven languages).
• Media relations: on-site press office management, interview coordination, spokesperson briefing and proactive outreach to international correspondents based in Paris (country teams were responsible for local outreach).
• International coordination: supporting national PR teams via coordination tools (guidelines, pre-departure memos), agenda planning for journalists and PR managers, coordination of interpreters and translators, and briefing sessions for international teams.

The goal was to generate maximum media coverage in both trade and corporate titles, while highlighting four key points of focus:
• L’Oréal’s leadership in the professional beauty industry, as a driver of business growth and the partner of choice for salon professionals.
• The launch of L’Oréal’s “salons of the future”: five new “concept salons” to be implemented worldwide, focused by type of service (men’s grooming, women’s styling, eco-design) and budget level (luxury, middle range, accessible).
• The global impact of the Division’s “Hairdressers Against AIDS” programme, an in-salon AIDS education programme developed in partnership with UNESCO.
• The announcement of a change in leadership within the Division, with An Verhulst Santos to replace Nicolas Hieronimus as Managing Director in January 2011.

The Media Programme: A Four-Day Immersion in the World of Professional Beauty
Between Nov. 5-Nov. 8, ELAN developed an intense programme of press events that presented different facets of the Division’s activity to journalists, and accommodated the different needs of varied media types:
• DAY 1: Personal hair and beauty treatments in L’Oréal salons around Paris, testing the latest innovations.
• DAY 2: Evening yacht tour on the Seine River hosted by Nicolas Hieronimus, An Verhulst Santos, and hairdresser John Nollet, presenting L’Oréal’s “Hairdressers Against AIDS” programme.
• DAY 3: On-site interviews at the MCB with key spokespersons: management, brand managers, hairdressers, trend experts.
• DAY 4: L’Oréal Press Conference at the MCB with MD Nicolas Hieronimus and Patricia Pineau, L’Oréal Director of Scientific Communications / Individual tours of L’Oréal brand booths / lunch presentation of hair trends at the L’Oréal Academy with stylist Malcolm Edwards / Afternoon visit to L’Oréal research laboratories in Aulnay-Sous-Bois.
In order to accommodate the large number of interview requests from different types of media, 16 spokespersons were available to meet with the media, including the Division’s top management, partner hairdressers, trend experts and research directors.

The Results: Dynamic Global Coverage with Strong Key-Message Pull-Through
Results for this project surpassed the objectives, with 140 journalists reached in total. Coverage reflects a well-balanced outreach between different types of media and the value of the large number of interviews offered, resulting in high-quality articles delivering the Division’s key messages.


Event Turnout
140 journalists from 26 countries attended the MCB press events
65 journalists from 16 countries on the Hairdressers Against AIDS yacht tour
125 journalists from 25 countries at the press conference (France included)
47 journalists from 13 countries at the laboratory visit

61 interviews for 119 journalists
25 one-to-ones
34 group interviews
38 interviews with trade / beauty press
20 interviews with corporate press
3 interviews with TV stations

Press Coverage to Date
137 international clippings from 20 countries
24% print, 65% online, 8.1% television & radio, 2.9% news agencies

Key Coverage Generated by ELAN (via Paris-based correspondents):
WWD: “Pro Beauty Firms Discuss Strategy: L’Oréal Cites Inoa for Success”
DPA: “Deutsche Frauen sind Friseur-Muffel”
Il Sole 24 Ore: “Il Salone di belleza del futuro, high tech ma eco-compatibel”
Reuters: “L’Oréal Professional Eyes Emerging Markets”
The Wall Street Journal: Interview – “L’Oréal Professional Division to Grow Ahead of Market”