From digital cowboys to digital scientists in the length of only 10 years. Discover what is behind Marc’s L’Oréal Great story
In the span of only 10 years, how fast can you and your career grow? In this #LOrealGreatStory we had the chance to catch up with Marc, who started at L’Oréal as an intern by ‘accident’. After falling in love with the company culture and pursuing a strong entrepreneurial mindset, 10 years later Marc is still with the Group, and most would say he is thriving! From one role to another, and from the first global Digital team at L’Oréal to driving digital transformation across the world. If you want to get inspired by someone whose successes are as admirable as his humility… this story is for you.
Hi Marc! You are celebrating 10 years at L’Oréal: how does it feel?
It’s true, L’Oréal is the only company I’ve worked for and it’s quite funny because I joined L’Oréal by accident… it was not the plan at all. In fact, it’s all because I bumped into a recruiter on my business school campus and they had internship offers. I thought it was a great company with great reputation and brands so when they offered a 6-month internship, I accepted. I thought 6 months would be good enough, with the plan to move for tech companies after… but I completely fell in love with the company and I’m still here 10 years later!
What did you dream of becoming as a kid?
It wasn’t really about becoming an astronaut… but when I was a kid, very early I loved computers and technology in general. Above all, I was lucky to have a computer in my room — back in the days when we did not even have internet! So when I was only 10 years old, I was already building and assembling my own computer. Growing up, I didn’t know what job I wanted to do exactly, but I just knew it had to be in technology.
What do you think made you grow so fast between your first and most recent position at L’Oréal?
My initial 6 months were transformed into 10 years because I’ve always found interesting challenges to work on, and mainly because L’Oréal puts you out of your comfort zone very frequently! L’Oréal is the kind of company that wants to see you grow and change and will do what is necessary to help you do that!
I will always remember my first day as a marketing intern, for Maybelline and Garnier in France. I was participating in my first-ever marketing meeting, with the marketing director of the brands, and she put nailpolish and mascara on the table, asking all of us to try them and give our opinion on the texture, smell, efficacy… to brainstorm together.
I barely knew anything about beauty, barely knew anything about marketing, barely knew anything about nail polish and mascara (!!!), and I was panicking and asking myself: ‘am I going to say something stupid!!!?’.
From someone who knew absolutely nothing about beauty and marketing… today I’m in Taiwan and Chief Marketing Officer in a beauty company, and I’m now the expert in liquid foundation, compact foundation, no-transfer foundation etc…! I’ll also be the first one to check what are the beauty products on the sink of a friend’s bathroom and remember ‘ok interesting this person is not using the skincare products I was expecting!’.
When you were working in the global CDO team, what made you decide to move to China?
This is back from 2015, I was starting to think about my next move. At the time, everyone wanted to move to New York: the USA, the dream, Carrie Bradshaw ‘Sex, and the city’... But being in the CDO team, having more and more interactions with China, I was seeing China was going through a digital revolution! So I raised the request to go to China and surprisingly nobody asked why or said no! I found support to make it happen and I fell in love with working in China so I stayed for quite a long time!
I truly believe that at L’Oréal you design your career based on the people you meet, the ones that inspire you, the ones that believe in you!!! The person who hired me in China hired me without giving me a job description but trusted I could do something in her team.
Memories from your first steps in China?
On my very first day, I arrived at your office and my name tag is in Chinese! I was thinking ‘ok this is my new name here, I don’t know who wrote this, I cannot read it!!!’ That’s also the moment I chose to take Chinese lessons seriously so I was doing at least 4h classes per week.
Were you always confident in yourself through this fast career track?
Of course not! Many times in the last 10 years I have felt anxious, occasionally feeling the impostor syndrome! For example as an intern, being the only guy in the team and people asking me things about nail polish… Then when I was asked to replace my second boss after only 1 year, I thought in my mind I’m way too young to do this job! Again in the global Digital team, I was the kid in the room surrounded by very senior employees, and finally when moving to China as an expatriate and being the youngest member of my peers again. Essentially, I’ve been the youngest in every role I’ve had. I use this anxiety positively, as a way to put myself under pressure and try to overdeliver. A fast career is always a mix of being lucky, meeting the right people, and of course prove that I can deliver on the responsibilities I was given.
I’ve also met meaningful people, inside and outside L’Oréal who have supported, mentored, and pushed me throughout my career! I owe my last career move to Taiwan to one specific boss that I truly consider a life mentor and is still supporting me today in this fantastic journey.
Working in digital: what is the hardest and what is the most exciting?
Digital has been brought to the next level. When I started, we were 200 digital headcounts worldwide at L’Oréal, today we are 4000 (!!)… So the exciting part and if you want to join the L’Oréal digital teams… you will find so many resources, so much budget allocated to it, so many headcounts, so much energy, full commitment from the top management.
Now the challenging part is that digital is becoming more and more complex. Digital from 2011: “should I post on Facebook?” Digital in 2021:”in the new cookie-less world, how can I engage with consumers while respecting data privacy and leveraging advanced ad tech?”
Digital people 10 years ago we were like cowboys! Today, were are scientists. Working in digital means understanding many aspects: technology, KPIs, performance, content, social… that is why you need to learn every moment to stay up to date with the game.
What kind of person do you try to be every day?
I guess people will say I’m a happy, smiley person, I want a positive mood at work. I will tell my team every day that if we fail something, nothing will explode, so let’s try again; let’s test and let’s enjoy what we do while we are doing it!
What project has a special room in your heart?
The biggest project I did in 2015, I was in charge of innovation in the global digital team, trying to find startups that aligned with L’Oréal’s vision and mission. One startup I engaged with was Modiface, and I signed the first L’Oréal x Modiface collaboration contract before L’Oréal finally acquired Modiface 3 years later! It’s not all me of course, but being part of that story is beautiful!
Finally, if you had a message for your younger self, what would it be?
Life tip and career tip for younger Marc (and others): say and ASK what you want from life. As my younger self, I always had questions that could generate anxiety ‘can I do this?’, ‘Am I allowed to do this?’ In the middle of my career, I realized that if you actually say these thoughts aloud, nobody is going to judge you, they are normal thoughts. What I’ve learned during my 10 years at L’Oréal is, more often than not, people around you will try to help you meet your needs when you express them. That’s how I was sent to China: by asking!
Anything else to add?
You can succeed as an introvert at L’Oréal, which is not something I would have thought at the beginning of my career.
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