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Queen Margaret University


‘Strategic Evaluation of L’Oréal’

Submitted By: Sandeepa Karki

Submitted To: Queen Margaret University

QMU Matriculation No: 17009755

Word count: 4155

Submission Date: 4th January 2018

Table of content

1. Introduction

1.1 Introduction to Report…………………………………………………………1

1.2 Introduction of Strategy………………………………………………………2
1.3 Introduction of L’Oreal ……………………………………………………...3-4

2. Strategic Evaluation
2.1 PESTEL Framework……………………………………………………………5
2.2 Industry Analysis (five force)………………………………………………….6
2.3 Market Segment………………………………………………………………...7
2.4 Blue Ocean Thinking…………………………………………………………...7
2.5 Strategic Capabilities …………………………………………………………...8
2.6 Benchmarking ………………………………………………………………......9
2.7 Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR)……………………………………9-10
2.8 Organizational purpose: values, mission, vision and objectives…………….11
2.9 Business Level Strategy (Porter’s generic)……………………………………12
2.10 Corporate level strategy (Ansoff Matrix) …………………….………12
2.11 BCG Matrix …………………………………………………………….13

3. SWOT Analysis
3.1 Strength …………………………………………………………………………14
3.2 Weakness…………………………………………………………………….14-15
3.3 Opportunities…………………………………………………………………...15
3.4 Threat …………………………………………………………………………...15

4. Recommendation ………………………...……………………………16
5. Reference

1. Introduction

1.1 Introduction of Report

Following management report is about L’Oreal Company and its strategy. L’Oréal is the
first international cosmetics production company in the world which provides the
products such as make-up, hair care, skin care, perfumes, coloring, and luxury products.
The report has four different sections introduction, strategic evaluation, SWOT analysis
and recommendation. First section consist the introduction of L’Oreal Company and
introduction of the exploring strategy.

Second part is about the evaluation where eleven frameworks are used to evaluate the
company’s strategy and find out the position of company. The framework which are used
below are; PESTEL analysis, Industry analysis (Five Force), Market Segment, Blue
Ocean Thinking, Strategic capabilities, Benchmarking, strategic Purpose, Corporate
Social Responsibilities (CSR), Business Level Strategy (Porter’s Generic), Corporate
Level Strategy (Ansoff’s Matrix) and BCG matrix.

Third section consist the SWOT analysis of the company which means strength,
weakness, opportunity and threat. The SWOT analysis of company is analyzed from the
second part of the report which is strategic evaluation.

And finally last but not the least recommendation section which is given after analyzing
the strategic evaluation section and SWOT analysis section. The findings are come up by
summarizing the whole report.

1.2 Introduction of Strategy

According to Alfred D. Chandler, strategy is the long term goals and objectives of an
organization which helps to allocate the necessary resources in necessary place to achieve
the goals (Whittington 2008). Whereas Henry Minntzberg defined; strategy as the pattern
of taking decision of an organization. However Michael Porter states that being different
is about the competitive strategy which means producing the product which has not been
produce by any other competitors and differentiate the organization than competitors
(Johnson et al. 2011).

There are three different level of strategy they are; Corporate-level strategy, Business-
level strategy and operational level strategy. Strategy statements of the company are its
mission, vision, objectives,and scope. Exploring strategy model is divided into three
different parts; strategic position, strategic choices and strategic in action (Johnson et al.

Strategic position is used to analyze the internal and external environment, goals &
objectives, capabilities and culture of the company. Strategic position helps to identify the
opportunity and threat of the company. And also helps to analyze the culture and values
followed by the company and employees (Johnson et al. 2011).

Strategic choice is concerned with the innovation, business, competitors and an

acquisition & alliances of the company. This part helps to analyze how to extend the
business globally and to know how far company should extend them internationally
(Johnson et al. 2011).

Strategy in action is used to analyze which strategy will be suitable, acceptable and to
know which kind of organizational structured will be used. Strategy in action is
concerned with valuating strategy, organizing them, practicing into the reality, changing
strategy as per required, and possessing (Johnson et al. 2011).

1.3 Introduction of L’Oreal

L’Oréal is the first international cosmetics production company in the world which has
been running from the past 108 years in the cosmetic world. The company manufactures
the products such as make-up, hair care, skin care, perfumes, coloring and luxury
products (L’Oreal S.A. 2016). L’Oreal is selling their 34 different brands in 140 countries
worldwide and the products can be found at departmental stores, cosmetic stores, travel
retail, e-commerce websites and also own their brand boutique. Currently L’Oreal is
employing over 89,300 people worldwide. The central headquarter of L’Oreal is in
Clichy, France (M2 Presswire 2015). The sales of L’Oreal in the fiscal year ended
December 2016 is 25,837.1 million euro. The sales is increased by the 2.3% than the
previous fiscal year 2015. And earn 3,105 million euro net profits (L’Oreal Finance

L’Oréal group was Small Corporation found by the French chemist Eugène Schueller in
1909 (BUCK 2015). In 1907, Mr. Schueller has created his own unique hair color known
as Aureole, which became famous within the Parisian hairdressers. After the success of
Aureole hair color Mr. Schueller has decided to establish the L’Oreal Company in 1909
with the famous slogan “Because you’re worth it”. And the company took the major step
by shifting its marketing focus from hair care products to beauty products in 1957
(Advantage Marketline 2017a).

L’Oreal group has divided their products into two parts they are beauty products and the
body shop. The beauty brands has divided into four different divisions; L’Oreal Luxe,
Consumer products, Professional products and Active cosmetics.

L’Oreal luxe division is all about the beauty products and perfumes. The brands that falls
under the L’Oreal luxe are; Lancôme, Giorgio Armani, Biotherm, Kiehl’s, Yves Saint
Laurent Beauté , Ralph Lauren, Shu Uemura, Urban Decay, Viktor&Rolf, Maison
Margiela, Diesel, Clarisonic and Helena Rubinstein (L’Oreal S.A 2015).

Professional products division consist the products of hair salon. The brands of the
professional products division are; are L’Oréal Professional, Kérastase, Redken,
Pureology, Mizani, Essie, Carita, Decleor and Shu Uemura art of hair (L’Oreal S.A.

The consumer products division provides the various body care, hair dye, hair care, skin
care and make up products. The brands under consumer products are; L’Oréal Paris,
Garnier, Maybelline New York, NXY Professional Make Up, Magic, Essie and African
beauty brand (L’Oreal S.A 2015).

L’Oreal active cosmetics division provides the demo-cosmetics skin care market. The
products that fall under this division are; Vichy, La Roche-Posay, Sanoflore,Roger and
Gallet and SkinCeuticals (L’Oreal S.A. 2016).

The Body shop was acquired by the L’Oreal in 2006. The body shop provides the ample
of cosmetics and toiletry products which is also helping the L’Oreal to gain more profit
(L’Oreal S.A. 2015).

The key competitors of L’Oreal are; Coty, Johnson & Johnson, Revlon, Unilever, The
Procter & Gamble, Beiersdorf AG, Kao Corporation, Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, Estee
Lauder Companies Inc. and LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis vitton SA(COVENTRY 2017).
In 2017, Company lunched the massaging device for the first time in the world which
helps to get rid of anti-aging, wrinkles and counters of the skin with the unique
massaging head. And in the same year, Digital marketing level 1 has been launched by
the L’Oreal (Advantage Marketline 2017 a).

2. Strategic Evaluation

2.1 PESTEL Analysis

The economic standard of the Chinese people is low however the size of market is large.
Therefore L’Oreal in 2015 has decided to lower the price of the product to increase the
domestic sales in China. Government of china has announced to cut off the duties from
the imported products so L’Oreal followed the rule as they didn’t wanted to lose such a
big market (Boardroom Insiders 2015). Technology plays the very important role in
cosmetic world even though has completely different background. L’Oreal being the
largest cosmetic manufacture company investing hugely on the technology which is
positively impacting the company. Every year L’Oreal comes up with the new technology
which attracts the million of the customer. In 2015 L’Oreal has lunched the app called
Makeup Genius which is the beauty app. This app works in the Iphone or Ipod which
transform the front camera to virtual reality mirror for trying the product of L’Oreal. The
technology they have used in this app was used only in gaming and Hollywood before.
L’Oreal company faced the huge success of the app with 11 million downloads (Sophie
2015). And in 2017, L’Oreal has introduced the ‘Fit App’ for the first time in the world
which helps the newcomers to understand the company’s culture (L’Oreal 2017c).

In today’s world due to the harmful chemicals most of the costumer tend to buy the green
products which is based on natural elements and protects the environment. L’Oreal is the
company who is taking stand to aware the guest about sustainability with four
commitments they are; innovating, producing, living and developing sustainably (Amrtch
2016). Kérastase is a hair care brand under professional product division of L’Oreal
Company. Kérastase has innovated new collection called ‘Aura Botanic’ which offers 4
luxury cosmetic formulas based on natural ingredients. It is the first range of product to
rich such a high level of naturalness (L’Oreal 2017b).

2.2 Industry Analysis

L’Oreal can be the biggest barrier to new entry but have low threat of the new company
toward the L’Oreal Company. L’Oreal Company is the world’s first cosmetic manufacture
company which have been running from past 108 years. It is well known company exist
in 140 countries with 34 different brands which cover the wide range of market and have
the experience and knowledge to tackle with every pros and cons. That’s why it is a
barrier to new entry (M2 Presswire 2015).

Threat of substitute is very low in cosmetic industry however the natural also known as
home remedies are famous among the people from rural area where cosmetic industry
loss the huge number of business. And another substitute of beauty products is plastic
surgery, the growth of the plastic surgery have been continuously increasing over the
years. In 2015, total 15.9 million people had done the surgery as per the annual plastic
surgery procedural statistics in United State (Plasticsurgery 2016).

There are numbers of competitors of L’Oreal Company such as Avon, Unilever and
Revlon which cause the higher bargaining power of customer in the market. There is
concerted buyer with low switching cost which creates the Buyer competition threat
therefore the bargaining power of customer is high. L’Oreal must deal with the threat of
buyer and provide the fresh and innovative products (Simoons 2015).

The power of the supplier is low in cosmetic industry as the industry has number of
supplier in wide varieties which lower the power of supplier because the industry can
choose the supplier as per their choice (Simoons 2015).

Competitive rivalry is high for L’Oreal Company as the company competes with other
same category of Manufacture Company such as Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Revlon
and Avon. These company also sale the great number of cosmetic products however
L’Oreal is the number one seller in the world (Entertainment Close-Up 2016).

2.3 Market Segment

Geographically, the L’Oreal Company has three market segments North America,
Western Europe and New market. According to the fiscal year 2016, from North America
segment 28.2%, from Western Europe segment 33.2% and from new market 38.6% was
earned in total revenue of L’Oreal (L’Oreal S.A. 2016).
2.4 Blue Ocean Thinking

The largest manufacture company of cosmetic, L’Oreal is the leading company with huge
market share. Company is expecting more 100 million middle-class customers and to
fulfill the vision company has targeted African’s consumers with the new hair product
specially made for them by observing and understanding their needs rather than providing
them the same brands made for Black consumer from United State. This strategy helps
the company to differentiate it with other companies such as Avon and Unilever (The
Sunday Independent 2017).

2.5 Strategic Capabilities

Resources and competences of the L’Oreal are very strong in term of Human resources,
financial resources and Physical resources. The human resources of the company is
huge with total 89,331 employee with great experiences. The CEO of L’Oreal is Jean-
Paul Agon since 2011 however his career at L’Oreal Company was started in 1978 and
has huge contribution to stating up the market in Asian zone. Lubomira Rochet is chef
Digital Officer of L’Oreal since 2014 and has the great experience of strategy and
development since 2003 as well as experience working in Microsoft to create ecosystem
(Advantage marketline 2017 b).

L’Oreal is the international cosmetic Company present in 130 countries worldwide. The
Company has 44 manufacturing plant, 18 research and development center, 16 evaluation
center and 52 scientific and technico-regulatory department which makes the physical
resources of the company strong (L’Oreal 2017d). And company has been recognized as
the top company according to the financial resources with the 25,837.1 million euro
sales revenue (L’Oreal S.A. 2016).

The Research and Development (R&D) center is consider as the dynamic capability of
the L’Oreal Company. And In 2016, Company have invested 850 million euro in research
and development to create an innovative products for the consumers and have been
lunching fresh and innovative product each year (L’Oreal 2017d).

2.6 Benchmarking

L’Oreal Company has been awarded very often for its work. In 2015 and 2016, L’Oreal
was known as the leading company in fighting climate change by the Carbon Disclosure
Project (CDP). In 2016, the company was recognized as the most ethical company in the
world and have succeed to won the honored seven times (L’Oreal 2017b). In January
2017, the company received an Operational Excellence Prize from MEDEF in partnership
with France Qualite. And in the same year Company raked the number one position in
global gender equality in 2017. Based on 2016 sales of beauty and personal care products
L’Oreal is the leader company among the beauty products in the world with sales of
25,837.1 million euro. L’Oreal Paris and Maybelline New York are known as the top two
make-up brand of L’Oréal company in world (GCI Magazine 2017).

2.7 Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy

According to corporate social responsibility stance L’Oreal Company stand in Forum for
Stakeholder interaction stance where Company look after the triple bottom-line of
sustainability and set the commitment ‘sharing beauty with all’ by 2020 with four
different commitments; innovating sustainably, producing sustainably, living sustainably
and developing sustainably (PR Newswire 2017). L’Oreal Company has been working on
reducing CO2 emission from the production and transportation to protect the
environment worldwide. The main objective of the company is to have zero impact of the
products to environment. Some of the ambitious targets of L’Oreal Company is to reduce
the water consumption from the production, reducing waste and sending zero waste to
landfill (Sharing Beauty 2017).

By, the end of 2016, L’Oreal reduced -67% of CO2 emission from production and -20%
of CO2 emission from transport after 2005 to now. And they reconstructed the skin model
for testing the products rather than animal testing from 2014 (PR Newswire 2017).
Because of these activities company have received leading company award to fight with
climate change by CDP.

L’Oreal has been contributing toward the society by providing the employment
opportunity to people from underprivileged villages. Their aim is to provide job to total
100000 people by 2020 and they have provide employment to 67,533 people by 2016.
They also employ the disable people to their company and till this date they have
provided total 1,010 disable people worldwide. They have been sourcing employee from
the Solidarity souring program as well and sourced total 63,228 people (Sharing Beauty
2017). They have recognized as the most ethical company and awarded for gender
equality. They have given chance to all the gender to work in higher level job as well.
There are diverse staff group from 162 different countries (Born 2015).

They have been providing many facilities to the employee of L’Oreal Company
worldwide. They have provided the healthcare coverage for employees and financial
protection to all employee or non-work related accidents as well (Sharing Beauty 2017).
They have been providing training to all the employees and even introduced the Fit in
App for employees to understand the culture of the organization. And company was
recognized as the best workplace in France (L’Oreal 2017c).

They have set the program called a consumer advisory committee in 2016 so that
consumer can provide the advice to the L’Oreal Company. They also provide the
vocational training and provided the free training to 3,295 people. The entire supplier will
have training to improve sustainability policies. It is also associated with the United
Nations sustainable development goals to protect the planet (Sharing Beauty 2017).


2.8 Organizational Purpose: Values, Mission, Vision and objectives

The mission of the L’Oreal is “Beauty with All” which means helping each individual to
feel beautiful and comfortable in their own skin no matter men or women. To achieve this
mission L’Oreal has set a strategy of Universalization which also means Globalization.
Globalization helps to respect the differences of each individual (The Economic Times

The vision of the L’Oreal is to create the beauty products that meet the desire of the
customer and win over one billion of customer around the world (Goodman 2013).

Objective of the L’Oreal by 2020 are: reducing the CO2 emission from transport to
plants and become the carbon balanced company. Reducing the waste from the
production and send zero waste to landfill. Reducing 60% of water consumption and
providing the employment opportunity to more than 100,000 peoples who belong to
underprivileged communities (M2 Presswire 2015).

Values of the L’Oreal is considered as the code which need to be followed by the
employee and expected to behave everywhere in the world. Which includes; Passion to
know what kind of product is being made for customer because producing cosmetics
products means understanding the customer, and their need by keeping their tradition and
culture in mind. Innovation is vitally important as the company is started by scientist and
is necessary for higher level of performance. Entrepreneurial spirit because no matter
how many challenges company faced always has been motivated and should have can do
attitude. Open-mindedness is another important value which has been followed since
decade as it helps to understand the customers, their needs, their culture and respect the
diversity. Quest for excellence means exceeding the demand of the customer and is
important to follow other values to give excellent service, products to their customer. And
the sense of Responsibility should always be there in each and everything they do as the
company is known as world’s leader in cosmetic world (L’Oreal 2017a).


2.9 Business level Strategy

As per doing Porter’s generic strategies framework L’Oreal Company is in

differentiation strategy stage because the company target the broad to achieve
competitive scope and the most of the product they made is different than others. In 2017,
L’Oreal lunched the digital marketing level 1for marketing purpose (Vizard 2017). And
also introduce the messaging device to reduce the wrinkles and counter the face
(Advantage Marketline 2017 a). In the same year, L’Oreal lunched botanic hair care
brand which reached the high level of naturalness in the world. All of their products are
completely fresh and innovative and different than other competitors (L’Oreal 2017b).

2.10 Strategy Direction

As per doing the Ansoff’s matrix to find out the corporate strategy direction of the
L’Oreal company. To do the market penetration L’Oreal Company lunched Make-up
Genius App which promote the products of the company through app (Friendman 2017).
L’Oreal opened a health and beauty business of inter consume products (ICP) in Kenya in
2013. They provide all the existing products as well as new products specially made for
African women which help to develop market of L’Oreal in Africa (Weblog 2015).

In 2017, L’Oreal has introduce the face cleanse under Garnier brand, botanic product with
higher level of naturalness and anti-aging messaging device to develop the products
(L’Oreal 2017b).

L’Oreal Company is diverse in terms of its product. L’Oreal entered to pharmaceutical

company by purchasing synthelabo Company in 1978. In 2005, L’Oreal Company started
to produce the products for men as well. And in 2012 company opened an academy called
training and education center in Russia which helps to hairdresser beauty advisors and
pharmaceutical (Advantage Marketline 2017 a).


2.11 Boston Consulting Group (BCG) matrix

As per doing the BCG Matrix of the L’Oreal Company consumer products division is
known as the star with 48.1% sales. Under consumer product L’Oreal Paris and
Maybelline New York are known as the top two brand of the world and NYX
professional makeup have the highest growth in the market (L’Oreal Finance 2016).
Among these brand lipstick is the star product of year 2016 with +13.6% growth and 1.5
billion lip make-up products was sold per year (Shi 2017).

The body shop is natural based product with animal right welfare. The market growth for
natural based products is high however body shop couldn’t take the big market share.
L’Oreal Company has decided to sale the company and already signed the contract with
Natura Cosmeticos in 1 billion. Therefore it is known as the Question mark as per the
BCG matrix (Advantage Marketline 2017a).

Professional product division and L’Oreal Luxe are considered as the cash cow of the
company. Professional product division consist hair colorant and salon products with
12.1% of market share along with 13.6% of sale. L’Oreal luxe consist the products such
as perfume, and beauty product which generated the second largest sales in 2016 with
30.8% (L’Oreal Finance 2016).


3. SWOT Analysis
3.1 Strength

Research and Development center is the major strength of the company as the company
innovate new products every year by understanding the customer. Company have
invested total 850 million euro from the total revenue to research and development center.
L’Oreal has total 18 Research and Development center worldwide (L’Oreal 2017d).

L’Oreal Company has recognized as the leading company as per its last year sales and
maintain its brand image to be in top (L’Oreal Finance 2016). Company is 100+ year olds
cosmetic manufacturing company which has provided the large of products from
shampoo, perfume, makeup and many more. Company has listed on the top 100 world’s
most powerful brand in 2016 (L’Oreal S.A. 2016).

Company is present in 130 countries and has more than 40 manufacturing plants which
help to produce large number of products at a time. Company can produce in large
quantity and have wide range of supplier to supply the company in different places (M2
Presswire 2015). Organic product is also the strength of the company as the world is
more conscious about the environmentally friendly products and no animal testing
(Targeted news 2017).

3.2 Weakness

Organizational structure of the company is the most important part of any company. The
decentralized organization structure is the weakness of the company as they have many
subdivisions. That’s why; controlling L’Oreal Company is difficult task (L’Oreal S.A.


L’Oreal is dependent on the small independent distribution channels to sell their products.
L’Oreal have few stores which are owned by them so, it is the major weakness of the
company. The brand image of the company is totally dependent on the hand of retailer
which can result bad brand image, less advise given to consumer and very narrow space
for operation in case of inventory analysis (Advantage Marketline 2017c).

3.3 Opportunities

Company focus on the organic beauty products which can provide the better
opportunities for company as the world is conscious about going green. The world is
more conscious about the environmentally friendly products and no animal testing. So
they new innovation of the company is opportunity for L’Oreal (Targeted news 2017).
Acquisition of new company and the business opportunity in Africa as they have recently
open the research and development center. L’Oreal is working on to provide the different
and innovative products to women from Africa by anticipating their needs. Africa has the
huge market for cosmetic with middle level women which can result high sales for
L’Oreal (Weblog 2015).

3.4 Threat

Cosmetic business is growing business sector in today’s world and there are many
emerging company with new idea and development. The competitors can be the biggest
threat for company as every company is trying to come up with blue ocean strategy.
Competing with different international cosmetic company is not an easy task so that it
can be biggest threat (Advantage Marketline 2017c). L’Oreal is the multinational
company and operates in different part of the world, resulting the fluctuation in foreign
exchange rates. Company’s annual report calculate in Euro so, different currency can
result fluctuation and foreign exchange risks are the major threat to L’Oreal (L’Oreal S.A.


4. Recommendation
From the above evaluation it is crystal clear that the company has great position in the
market worldwide. L’Oreal Company has been generating huge number of sales at the
same time doing a lot of CSR activities for saving the earth and society. Company has
been recognized for its innovation and creation as they introduce new products each year
however the cosmetic industry is emerging industry with lots of competitors and L’Oreal
have to compete with them.

The major recommendation for the company is that the company should give little much
attention to men products. In this century many guys are as conscious as the girls are
while it comes to skin but company focuses least on the man’s product.

L’Oreal decided to sell the body shop as they earn very little. Rather than selling the
division company should try to produce more innovative products in Body shop division
because division is based on environmentally friendly with no harm for animal’s product.
In today’s world customer wants to use natural products because of the harmful chemical
found on cosmetic so they should try to recover the company rather than cutting off.

Company should also try to open their own stores rather than depending on small
independent distribution channel though it’s expensive but it’s the best way to maintain
the brand image of the company.


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