How L’Oreal is tapping generative AI to transform its marketing

This syndicated post originally appeared at Zeus Kerravala – SiliconANGLE.

Good companies are always looking to use the latest technology to transform themselves. For decades, L’Oreal Groupe has been a leader in beauty and is now looking to use AI to disrupt the industry.

Boasting 37 global brands, the company addresses contemporary consumer needs using innovative marketing and cutting-edge technology. L’Oreal is embracing generative artificial intelligence, transforming how it engages with customers.

Through partnerships with tech companies such as Nvidia Corp. and experimentation with over 800 beauty images generated by AI, L’Oreal is exploring new beauty paradigms. The company envisions a future where mirrors are digitally connected, beauty products are driven by technology innovation, and robots operate salons. This AI-powered vision was outlined during a recent Nvidia GTC 2024 session, where Asmita Dubey, L’Oreal’s chief digital and marketing officer, shared insights into how generative AI is used to augment marketing within the beauty sector.

Dubey said when integrating generative AI into its operations, L’Oreal focuses on three key areas: science, technology and creativity. This includes the company’s Generative AI Task Force and the GenAI Content Lab. The task force is responsible for a framework outlining the “guardrails” and “do’s and don’ts” of generative AI. At the same time, the content lab serves as an innovation hub for “sparking creativity” through technology.

More specifically, the Generative AI Task Force identifies potential applications and use cases for the technology within the organization. It’s also tasked with upskilling employees to ensure they have the necessary knowledge and skills to leverage AI effectively. Lastly, it fosters a community within L’Oreal that spreads knowledge about AI across the entire organization.

The GenAI Content Lab is a creative experimentation space for producing beauty content. It encourages collaboration through a network of partners and explores service models for AI-enhanced creativity. The GenAI Content Lab also establishes guidelines and ethical standards for using AI. For instance, L’Oreal doesn’t use AI-generated images of faces, skin, body or hair to market its products falsely. Instead, the company uses AI internally for brainstorming, designing and planning.

By experimenting with generative AI, L’Oreal produces relevant and engaging marketing content. The technology has proven effective for scaling product shots and background production, significantly reducing the resources needed for traditional photoshoots. Beyond still images, L’Oreal is also exploring video generation to enhance visual marketing.

L’Oreal is using Nvidia’s Omniverse platform to create detailed 3D models of its products, which can be placed in various contexts and settings. The advantage is twofold: It significantly reduces the time and resources traditionally spent on photoshoots while providing flexibility in showcasing products across different media platforms.

Omniverse allows for easy contextual adjustments to make images more suitable for social media and e-commerce. For L’Oreal, this has been a game-changer in the fast-paced world of beauty marketing, according to Dubey.

“We believe that technology can push the boundaries of what is possible,” Dubey said. “We can cater to the infinite diversity of beauty needs, and therefore, we are also empowering our consumers with elevated beauty services. We know that 70 percent of consumers are overwhelmed by the amount of beauty choices, so we are bringing them beauty services that can help them navigate through this.”

One of these services is Beauty Genius, a virtual beauty advisor that makes it easier for consumers to choose beauty products. Built using AI and augmented reality technologies from ModiFace, a company L’Oreal acquired in 2018, Beauty Genius offers personalized skin analysis and lets users “try on” makeup virtually. It also provides customized product recommendations, selecting from more than 750 options in skincare, makeup and haircare. Lastly, by curating content from L’Oreal brand websites and social media, Beauty Genius is an educational resource that gives consumers beauty advice and tips.

L’Oreal is adapting to changes in content creation by partnering with more than 50,000 influencers and creators who are experts in AI, AR, virtual reality, and 3D modeling. These partnerships are global, with a strong presence in markets such as China. They cover popular platforms such as Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook and Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat, reaching a broad range of consumers.

Moving forward, L’Oreal focuses on three areas: improving technology readiness, ensuring that AI is adaptable and modular, and effectively managing brand data. The goal is to merge human creativity with AI and personalize beauty through technology. According to Dubey, this shows L’Oreal’s commitment to using emerging technology to lead the beauty sector and provide consumers with tailored beauty services.

One of the themes of GTC was that AI would change every aspect of our lives, and the show provided many use cases in healthcare, smart cities and scientific discovery. I liked the L’Oreal presentation as it shows how GenAI can be used easily by the masses to change the way consumers interact with the brands they love and use every day.

Author: Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.