Since the end of the 1950s, the French brand Yves Rocher has been offering quality herbal cosmetics. These days, the essence of the company is intersecting with new trends. The green emphasis is attracting young staff members and influencers on social networks.
A terrace planted with vegetation, openable windows, and a flushing system using rainwater. All these are features of the environmentally friendly Element office building in Pankrác, Prague, where the Yves Rocher cosmetics company recently moved. It has been offering herbal cosmetics since the end of the 1950s, and its new headquarters are in keeping with its philosophy.
The interplay of the environment and care for body and soul also appeal to potential employees. “In the new building, we started holding yoga classes and exercises for back pain. And we also have barbecues on the terrace,” says Lucie Ellingerová, Head of Marketing for the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary.
“We’re giving stores a new look, and packaging products with the tastes of millennials in mind. Ninety per cent of new product development is focused on younger clients.”Lucie Ellingerová, Head of Marketing
Ellingerová describes a typical customer as aged between 35 and 55. She has a high school or university education and is interested in what is going on around her. The customer likes to get newsletters by e-mail but also goes to “try, smell and choose” products at one of the 77 bricks and mortar stores.
For the past three years, Yves Rocher has been seeking to expand the target market. “We’re giving stores a new look and packaging products with the tastes of millennials in mind. Ninety per cent of new product development is Yves Rocher 65 focused on younger clients,” adds Lucie Ellingerová. And when addressing customers, Yves Rocher relies on a mix of communication channels. In addition to direct mail, it uses Instagram and Facebook. Over the past four years, the company has also been working with influencers, who are often self-selecting, Ellingerová notes. They are enticed by a long-term environmental ethos, which reflects the principles and lifestyle of many people today.
If Yves Rocher used mainly offline media in the past, online now makes up 70 per cent, with only 30 per cent offline. And the amount the company invests in marketing has also changed – today it is significantly higher. The Prague headquarters also receives instructions from the parent company on how to work with visual aspects of a shop window, or store design. But the French staff do not get involved with the methods of communication and PR, or influencer selection.
“Our customer is queen,” said the company founder, Yves Rocher. And the brand seeks to maintain this ethos in 2019. When she makes a purchase, the company rewards her with various presents and little gifts, which she may exchange for a more environmentally friendly option. “She can also opt for us to plant a tree on her behalf, via our foundation,” says Ellingerová. This approach also appeals to millennials, who make up over 60 percent of branch staff. “When they come for a job interview, they don’t say they want to work with us because they use our cosmetics but because we care for the environment.”
In the same breath, however, she adds that an interest in cosmetics is one of the advantages at an interview. But it is not essential – because Yves Rocher trains its people well. “We’ve got a high-quality training centre that teaches shop floor staff virtually everything about our products. We also provide a small amount of training even when we launch a new product. All sales assistants also have a special application providing a detailed breakdown of the ingredients,” explains Ellingerová, adding that most of all Yves Rocher ensures that assistants are never at a loss for words when a customer asks about a specific facial care product.
However, the company also focuses on employees themselves. It holds a large meeting with store managers every month and invites all staff to a company-wide event once a year. In regular internal newsletters, it provides information about newcomers, wishes staff a happy birthday, and invites them to share activities through which each employee can promote an ecological approach.
The headquarters often sends new colleagues on mystery shopping trips, in which they test the alertness and preparedness of branch employees. An external company handles client satisfaction evaluations, and Yves Rocher also has a customer centre.
The company wants to work on modernizing the brand in the future; there are also plans to make customer loyalty cards digital. And Yves Rocher wants to invest in technology in stores. Maybe we will soon see sales assistants searching for information on Yves Rocher products on tablets.