MADAME L’ORÉAL: the cornerstones of success for Liliane Bettencourt’s empire
Liliane Bettencourt, co-owner of L`Oreal, died in the status of the richest woman in the world at the age of 95. She left behind a huge fortune of a famous empire and an immense collection of paintings.
Bettencourt had problems with the law, conflicts with her daughter up to litigation, was in the center of public scandals (including political ones), she was deceived for large sums of money.
But she knew how to keep her face, and also had the resource to inspire everyone around her to achieve their goals. Her empire L`Oreal was based on the hard work and emotional intelligence of Liliane Bettencourt, her desire was to develop own skills and develop her business. She had a habit to spend part of her earnings on charity. The success of the famous French empire is based on all these factors.
Liliane Bettencourt (nee Schueller) was born in Paris with a silver spoon in her mouth. After all, she was the only child – the heiress of the fortune of Eugene Schueller. Years earlier, the talented chemist took care of the condition of his wife’s hair. Seeing how she was tormented with low-quality paints, he, through trial and error, made an almost perfect paint for his beloved. It was spread among people. Before the daughter was born, French women of fashion had already heard about L’Oreal hair dye.
Her own pocket money and wealth did not deprive little Lily of the desire to work. At fifteen, she got a job in a family company to glue labels on shampoo bottles. The girl moved up the career ladder at an accelerated pace, got acquainted with the basics of management and accounting, but started from the lowest positions – like everyone else. She has participated in consumer surveys, product testing, research and company events.
“Thanks to my father, I realized that nothing in life comes for free. Many thanks to him for this!” – said Liliane. She inherited the L’Oreal company after Eugene’s death and became its main shareholder in 1957.
Until her advanced years, Liliane was active, took a keen interest in the affairs of the company, was a member of the board of directors, and also managed her own charitable foundation.
“Friendship, taste for life, knowledge, health – I would say that these things are most valued,” said Liliane Bettencourt in an interview with reporters back in 1988. Actually, only two of her interviews were published in the press in her entire life. She tried to be as private as possible. However, the Parisians were aware of the good deeds of the heiress of the L’Oreal empire.
A year before that very interview, she and her husband André Bettencourt founded their own charity project, the Bettencourt-Schueller Foundation. The couple actively supported medicine and scientific research, donated money for education, culture, and various humanitarian programs. Actually, the wing of the Marmottan-Monet Museum was restored for the money of the foundation. About 160 million euros were spent annually on good initiatives.
Liliane Bettencourt personally established the award, which is awarded to scientists under 45 years old, awards to laboratories in France for biochemical research, an annual award for choral singing and others. She was awarded at the state level for funding AIDS programs.
And today 55% of L’Oreal’s profits are spent on science and education. The Foundation encourages the winners in these areas with annual grants in the amount of 250 thousand euros. Also, about 800 researchers from research centers work in the company. 33% of profits cover social projects, 12% – arts and culture.
L’Oreal is very attentive to its employees. When hiring, they use psychometric tests to measure a person’s emotional intelligence. A company’s sales managers, selected based on core EQ competencies, have been proven to be highly successful in their business.
For example, the transition period – the late 90s – increased the company’s net profit by more than $ 2.5 million. The turnover of employees recruited on the basis of emotional intelligence competencies decreased by 63% compared to those hired only through interviews.
Liliane Bettencourt herself had a high emotional intelligence and very easily trusted people. Others have often misused it. For example, her friend photographer François-Marie Banier managed to take advantage of her gullibility and received 1 billion euros in his accounts, insurance, and also works of art. As a result, he was sentenced to three years in prison.
Liliane Bettencourt sought to develop her father’s business at any cost. She personally monitored the quality of products and was interested in consumer feedback.
“Assure your customers that the products we offer are safe and effective. Negative reviews can hurt a company’s reputation so hard, and rebuilding it will be time-consuming and costly, “she taught her employees.
As a result, Liliane Bettencourt made L’Oréal the leader in the luxury segment. The company began to produce high-quality decorative cosmetics, skin and hair care products, as well as exclusive perfumes, and also began to target medical products. Fifty factories for the production of products were opened in 22 countries of the world.
Liliane Bettencourt was burning with her empire and even at social events she could advise any novelty of her own production. “After all, I deserve it!” – This famous company slogan is also credited with the authorship of the incomparable Madame L’Oréal.