Dear Michael Wachtel, VP of Demand Planning at L'Oreal, I am about to blog about Lady Gaga wearing "Merino Cool".
This past Monday I attended the 2012 IBF Executive Forum and sat in an audience of over 100 supply chain professionals from around the world. The first topic was Integrated Demand Signals (IDS). This was not your father's IDS talk. The panel brought interesting stories of how they collected data, leveraged data and, more importantly, turned data into information. But there was one "thorn in my side" story that seemed to challenge us all, that was, social media and the impact of business operations.
She didn't give a call to Michael Wachtel's demand planning group at L'Oreal beforehand. Lady Gaga wore the Essie brand nail polish (L'Oreal acquired them in 2010) "Merino Cool" with her infamous meat dress at the 2010 MTV Video Awards. Boy did that go viral quickly. At the peak of Lady Gaga-ness, and a dramatic incline to social media integration with traditional media, the combination came at L'Oreal's business operations like hurricane force winds. The color sold out immediately and wound up selling on eBay for $300 a bottle. Gone are the lagging days where the story may have ended up in People magazine's next month's issue and where the company may have had an opportunity to capitalize on the media frenzy. This was exploited in seconds.
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