Close collaboration between marketing and science helps generate new ideas and bring innovative products to market, says Steven Shiel, scientific director at L’Oréal UK & Ireland.


Put simply, L’Oréal’s UK & Ireland scientific director, says marketing has the power to maximise the benefits of any product to make it as compelling as it should be, while meeting strict guidelines.

Steven Shiel is responsible for the science behind the beauty, and ensuring the scientific messaging and claims of any given product are accurately portrayed in marketing.

During his 24-year career, Shiel says his interaction with the marketing team has increased dramatically, meaning the development of any product and how it is communicated is now worked on collaboratively from the very beginning.

Here, he tells Marketing Week about how his relationship with and view of marketing has evolved.

Backing up any claim

Marketing is a core part of the business we work in. As scientific director at L’Oréal, my role touches on all communication – everything from the ingredients in our products to how we describe them on-pack.

I look at what we communicate in our advertising to make sure we can substantiate all the claims we make, and that all of the images we use within marketing are representative of what the products can truly deliver. My team and I ensure we deliver a message that is real and one we can back up.

This means working with marketing right from the inception of a new product or marketing campaign, all the way through to seeing it come to life in-market. We’re with them on the whole journey from start to finish.

Having that honest and open dialogue with marketing throughout the process is beneficial on both sides because I don’t want a new idea to be developed up to a point where there’s something we need to course-correct. I would rather ensure that we start off with a great idea that we know we can work with.

The way L’Oréal looks at marketing – and I know it’s a bit of a buzzword, but it’s certainly one we use quite often – is consumer-centricity. It is about really understanding where our consumers want to be communicated with and in what way.

If you look at a high-end luxury brand versus a more pharmaceutical skincare brand in our portfolio, consumers look for different types of information, in different places. They want to have different interactions with their brands.

My philosophy has always been that I’m not the person who says no, even though…