Brands are part of the conversation at LeWeb'08


Georges-Edouard Dias, LeWeb'08

As I’m attending LeWeb’08 in Paris, I thought I’d share some interesting things I’ve been hearing at the conference. To begin with, an interesting quote from Georges-Edouard Dias, SVP, E-Business at L’Oréal: “brands are part of the conversation”.

Let’s rewind and go back to 2005 when L’Oréal set up a blog for Vichy, one of their brands, to promote an anti-wrinkle cream.

As I mentioned last week, blogging in France is big. So big that France leads the world when it comes to the number of blogs per internet user and it was therefore only natural for brands to identify blogs as business opportunities.

L’Oréal was probably one of the first brands in France to get involved with blogs. The Vichy blog featured Claire, a consumer who was reporting on a daily basis on how great the Vichy treatment was – very quickly though, Claire was identified as a fake blogger, paid by Vichy and it backfired on them. Since then, the “Vichy case” is referred to as a ‘what not to do’ in social media case study, in the same way as the Wal-Marting Across America and All I Want for Christmas Is a PSP examples from the English speaking world.

It didn’t work at the time, but listening to Georges-Edouard yesterday though, it is clear that L’Oréal have learned a lot over the past few years and it’s actually quite refreshing to hear brands such as L’Oréal talking about online conversations and saying that brands have to be sensitive enough to listen to their customers.

Interestingly he mentioned that “we no longer learn marketing in books” but rather by being sensitive, by listening to people online and becoming part of the conversation.

At a time when conversational marketing is still so new, a very inspiring story.