Mobile Marketer has re-launched! Click here to learn more!

L?Oréal eyes facial recognition to personalize mobile experiences

NEW YORK - A L?Oréal executive at the Mobile Marketing Association?s SM2 conference pinpointed facial recognition technology as a way for the brand to personalize a shade of makeup to a consumer's skin tone.

During the ?Connect along the path to purchase: Mobile offers pure synchronicity along the purchase funnel? session, the executive spoke about some of the brand?s newest mobile innovations for its line of beauty brands. The session was moderated by Michael Burgi, features editor at Adweek, New York.

?I think the area that we spend a lot of time on the corporate side talking about is facial recognition technology,? said Rachel Weiss, vice president of digital innovation, content and new business ventures at L?Oréal USA, New York.

?It?s something that is not perfected yet,? she said. ?There are things that we are starting to see in market that are working.?

?A lot of it is wanting the color to be as true and real as possible, especially if someone?s putting on something personal and making that choice.?

Finding mobile?s role
Mobile plays a critical role in the path to purchase for L?Oréal?s brands, but the challenge is that mobile still falls under innovation ad spend.

This year, L?Oréal?s focus has been around using mobile as part of the path to purchase. The funds for the innovation program make up a small part of L?Oréal?s advertising budget.

Loyalty plays a big role in this path to purchase, including branded apps, mobile coupons and capturing behavior.

L?Oréal is currently running a pilot with the mobile application shopkick to figure out how consumers engage with the brand through loyalty and what it takes to convert a consumer to buy.

Additionally, L?Oréal is the first brand participate with the Pretty in My Pocket mobile social beauty shopping app that delivers offers to users (see story).

In the past few years, the beauty conglomerate has focused on getting the basics right with mobile, including optimized sites and search.

The next step in L?Oréal?s mobile strategy is trying to understand what the medium looks like for 20 brands, whether it is a mobile coupon or a Flipboard magazine.

On the media side, L?Oréal is also working to get a better idea of what mobile advertising encompasses outside of basic banner ads.

Applications are also a hot topic for marketers, even though it might not be the best tactic for a campaign if it does not focus on utility.

As an example of an app that does serve up utility, Ms. Weiss highlighted a business-to-business app for L?Oréal?s Redken brand.

The app is intended to be used by hairstylists and continues to be updated since launching three years ago.

Fragmentation issues
According to Ms. Weiss, different screen sizes are a huge challenge for both brands and agencies.

Brands with small pockets of money might be forced to choose between which platforms to build mobile experiences for.

Therefore, it is the agency?s responsibility to educate clients on what it takes from a budget, maintenance and advertising perspective to reach consumers on multiple platforms, per Ms. Weiss.

?I believe intellectually yes,? Ms. Weiss said. ?I believe that what I?ve seen in terms of where it could be, we?re not totally there yet.?

?I?m very excited about personalization platforms that will make mobile integrated into a campaign, but it depends on the campaign and its goals,? she said.