It’s hard to miss a Guerlain campaign. Particularly, when it’s of a model lying on a bed of beautifully diverse and colourful flowers grown in France or some of the world’s most stunning images of nature taken by world-renowned photographer, filmmaker and environmental activist Yann Arthus-Bertrand.
This is not the work of a brand that shies away from the spotlight. As a matter of fact, television remains a focal point for Guerlain at this point. It still makes a huge impact.
“It still has an incredible audience, and still has captive attention even more so than on digital,” said Guerlain France’s Director of Media Jérôme Grange, in an interview with Luxury Society at a Teads Beauty event held in Paris.
However, audiences are being eroded on television, thanks to the rise of smartphones and tablet computers. And digital is now the second-largest medium for brands today, he noted. Nowadays, everything is happening on digital and Guerlain’s digital budget for France has doubled in 3 years.
“Up until today, the model has been quite traditional,” said Grange. “We had mass media such as TV, Out-Of-Home (OOH) and the press. For a long time, the press was a mass medium that could sell a million of copies a week.”
“The model has been evolving slowly but surely, and what we see is that there will be fewer true "mass media”. OOH and TV will likely continue to have solid audiences but not to the level of what they used to be,” he added.
“I still believe a lot in the press. It’s a very good medium for context, attention, images,” he continued. “But we will reach a point where the model will change. There will still be audiences, but they will be very different to what we had before.”
And what was, may never be the same again. At a time when staying in touch with the modern consumer, whose time is fragmented on different platforms and in front of different screens like their phones, laptops or tablet computers, is becoming increasingly difficult, brands are under more pressure than ever to ensure they go further in how they engage with them.
According to the latest insights from the Teads Attention Program, which compiled insights spanning 20 countries, 120 advertisers and measured more than 2.5 billion impressions, high-quality content can “turbocharge” attention three times more than on Facebook, particularly if premium ad formats are used. Meaning that if beauty brands really want consumers to connect and engage with them, they need to invest more in producing content that resonates and in distributing it across the most relevant platforms.
Indeed, for Guerlain, producing content that resonates is a driving force for the brand. The LVMH-owned brand takes a more top-down approach to harmonise its brand image, stepping away from traditional “influencer marketing” to maintain consistency around its global messaging. It does, however, still collaborate with influencers on TikTok given the medium of the platform is creator-led.
“Content has become a big subject of discussion in recent years,” noted Grange, who has also worked for KR Media, and Mediacom. “For us, we set guidelines on a global scale so that all our markets adapt to the same format. Of course, there are some minor differences, particularly when it comes to our Asian markets but the majority of our content remains the same across the board to maintain a strong global consistency within our messaging.”
For us, working with influencers across various platforms meant you didn’t always have complete control, he continued. “It’s not always the highest quality and we had a real issue with harmonising messages at Guerlain, so we focus more on paid influence, which means we can still work with influencers in partnerships such as trips and events.”
“It’s more in that direction instead of creating content with influencers who may not necessarily understand and use your brand’s codes,” Grange added.
With the beauty industry being what it is, innovation is always the forefront of what brands do. In the long-term, what remains a priority for Grange and his team is transformation and shifting the brand’s mindset towards how to address the new challenges that come with a more fragmented media landscape.
“I love it actually; I’m very alert on the subject,” said Grange. “Of course, we look at our competitors like Dior, and Chanel. And we also look at Rimowa, Jacquemus, L’Oreal and other groups to see what they’re doing.”
“We are still at the very beginning, but it is all about this transformation and changing our mindset a bit because, after all, there is a small shift in mindset to make,” he noted. “We have been working in the same way for many years. And now, with all these platforms that require more specialisation, it’s about how you will work on your strategy, and how it will inevitably evolve.”
“It’s more complicated because we all have principles in mind, things we do ‘out of habit,’ and we will have to be much more open than that. But it will take time because there will also be a phase on internal education.”
Other considerations include better understanding the metaverse and leveraging it in the best way possible for the brand.
“I think we will discover new things,” he said. “The metaverse is exciting because it will open up new horizons for us in terms of people and even in advertising. But it's also scary because today, we’re not mastering the subject yet; we’re imagining things; we are all imagining creating a new life in the metaverse without knowing what the consequences are.”
But most importantly, it’s about taking a different approach to new audiences. “With everything becoming so fragmented, we will have to approach media with a slightly different intellectual process,” said Grange.
“Previously, we would focus on medium and be quite aggressive, but now we have to consider many more media platforms, and it will be a sum of all of these smaller media, including some press. We will have to work and focus more on the concept of communities.”