Business Transformation: Go big or go home and don’t take short cuts.

MTL December 11th 2016, 6:30 am. Good morning. I read this article and I had to pause, think further and it was bigger than me, I had to share with you some of my experience. Hopefully, it will inspire or guide your business transformation. Note: I don’t have the entire context from Nokia, I’m not judging, I’m building on it. I had the chance to experiment core changes, since I had the chance to be part of different major organisational changes from media, agency and now a large cosmetics company.  You can’t transform without doing anything wrong.

Transformation it’s a dangerous game, you could break things, you could get hurt. But after all, you will feel so rewarded and ready for the next transformation! You will look at the new business KPIs and truly know, that it was what you had to do for the business, you did not take short cuts, and you did the right thing.

Business transformation is about making fundamental changes in how business is conducted in order to help cope with a shift in market environment.[1]

Form product driven to consumer centric organisation.

5 years ago, we started the transformation of L’Oréal Canada towards Digital, with the creation of a digital team. I can tell you boldly now: the way we do business changed a lot from tech opportunities coming from consumer requests and market pressure. After many PowerPoint presentations, pitches, intense discussions, etc. The organisation decided to tackle its transformation by investing on the FOUNDATION:  right technologic stack, partners, hiring Digital profile in house, educate managers (from top to bottom) and traditional marketing team and constant communication to all employees. The biggest challenge of transformation, it’s clearly change management. HUMAN COMPLEXITY, it’s core factor in your plan. Implement technology it’s predictive: human not.

Year one, we were 2 employees officially mandated to build the digital vision and direction, quantify opportunities, define the how, when, how much as well as with whom. The company’s leadership team knew that we had to reengineer the organisation to keep its market share’s growth, increase consumers satisfaction and bring efficiency by re-thinking in the way we planned, we marketed and we operated our business: ALWAYS WITH DIGITAL IN MIND.

Today, we know we were right: the market is now really competitive with the appearance of many cosmetics indie brands that embrace Fast Beauty movement, social media supremacy, disintermediation of distribution within unify commerce opportunity. Retail is to me the next frontier of Digital.

Here is my personal advice following our digital journey:

First: Identify a clear destination even it changes along the journey based on your learning and market pressures.

Build your foundation and WALK before RUNNING. WALK means test, learn and refine and as soon as it works accelerate and run very fast.

Understand your consumers…to become relevant at every touchpoints

We invested in E-commerce to visualise what would be a new way to market in an environment where we know our consumers (their needs, how they search, behave, transact, replenish and hopefully become brand advocates.) Since we know our consumers better and we now have the control of our data, we re-thought our media model, CRM and Data, we aim to address close than 100% of the Beauty market based on audience (with the creation of a programmatic desk in house). This was not an easy task for the media and analytic teams to implement and operate, since we were playing into core processes at the earth of the organisation. Human mobilisation was core for success.

Second: If you cannot beat them, join them:

One of the key enabler of change came from new INDIE brands acquisition, small businesses using no traditional media just leveraging brand love, the power of social media and marketing influencers. We integrated them not to change them, but to learn from their new model where it s really close than show business.

Key findings: integrated those new brands that were successful, agile and ambitious, has blown an entrepreneurial spirit inside our large organisation and that was a MUST to get the messages of consumer centricity and digital. This openness to change had to come from top management to bottom, from bottom to top and from right to left (I mean everywhere). It was fundamental to eliminate silos within the organization and promote real collaboration between all sectors (IT, Marketing, HR, Finance, Operations).

Third: Dream big it’s fun but Execution is everything

Our teams found that the best way to transform and innovate is coming from pragmatic innovation models and small milestones that proved that our vision was right. This will bring credibility that you are not only a dreamer but also a key player to support short-term business plans. At the beginning of the transformation, is the only way to be a dreamer, but not be the only one.

Acceleration —- Stronger together

From different innovative countries that were pioneer into transformation, L’Oréal Group consolidate effort with the creation of the CDO team to accelerate and create synergy among digital forces.

Lubomira Rochet – CDO L’Oréal Group

The net take away ////

I found that transforming organisation is like an extreme sport. Every small changes you bring, will make you step on somebodies toes, it will make you challenge the status quo every day. It’s hard; it’s not a walk in the park, you will get hurt. I was hurt. My point is: change is good, but bold change is hard even if it worth the efforts.  

The best time to change is when your business is healthy. One of my transformation let motive is: the best time to reinvent your organisation is when you are on calm water but it’s also the most difficult time because the feeling of urgency is not always there. The capacity to change and the agility to do so was a great strength of L’Oréal. From my 18 years’ experience in various industries, sadly human and organisation usually try to change when it is going through rough times.

Go big or go home approach is key to win

I’m telling you, with the strength of data, the machine impact on marketing, opportunities will be huge and I hope that you are ready to TRANSFORM, dream big and avoid taking short cuts.

I would end on this personal advice based on my experience: Good luck for the journey ahead. Build on the momentum, change when your water is calm, go big or go home (you have one chance to do it right). Good day. Martin Aubut.

Contacts :, @martyboy008,


I would like to take the opportunity to thanks all individuals, who embrace change and was pioneer of the transformation. I would like to thanks also, the one who challenge us and push us to be stronger and clever in our approach.

Note: I’m starting to document Canadian organisations best practices. Please DM me to share your experiences or organisations worth discussing.

Conférence de Martin Aubut et Guillaume Brunet au Webcom, web2.0

Provenant du Blogue de l’ami Guillaume Brunet

Merci à qui vient de mettre en ligne les vidéos les conférences du dernier Webcom Montréal. Vous pourrez y voir ou revoir les Michelle Blanc, Richi Chandra, Laura Fitton, Mark Prensky, Isabelle Juppe et bien d’autres.

Au même moment, Guillaume et moi venons de recevoir les résultats des évaluations concernant notre présentation « intitulée De la recette à la rencontre – ingrédient, recettes, trucs et exemples concrets pour assurer le succès de vos communautés », et je suis très fier de constater que notre présentation a reçu une appréciation bien au-dessus de la moyenne de tous ces conférenciers de renoms.