May 7, 2018, by Susan Lim

L’Oréal Brandstorm 2018

The team from the University of Nottingham Malaysia comprising of Jessica Neoh Jie Qi (Chemical and Environmental Engineering), Kate Lee Chia Min (Computer Science), and Rynn Leow Chok Nam (Economics) emerged as the first runner-up from 73 participating teams in the recent L’Oréal Brandstorm 2018 Malaysia National Finals. This year, the teams were challenged to “Invent the professional salon experience of the future” with digitally-centred and customer-oriented solutions. The trios wowed the judges with their pitch “Réale” that connects a smart hairbrush to an AR app to accurately visualise colouring results and track personal hair health. Brandstorm is L’Oréal’s globally renowned innovation competition with more than 60 countries competing. Students have been tasked to disrupt the beauty industry over the past 26 years with an emphasis on technology, marketing, and CSR elements.“People fear change, and the same goes for millennials who consider colouring their hair. If they are able to visualise the result with the help of technology, it enhances their trust towards the hairdressers and the desire for change.” Rynn says when it comes to colouring, most people fear about unmet expectations and damage to the hair.

From left to right: (Kate) Lee Chia Min, (Jessica) Neoh Jie Qi, (Rynn) Leow Chok Nam

“They also want the visit to be convenient and personal,” Jessica adds. The app also offers a digital salon booking service which the market currently seems to lack when there are similar apps like AirBnB and Uber for booking short stays and a ride. Users can review their visits and track their hair profile digitally diagnosed with the smart brush.

While Réale targets at L’Oréal salons to entice the millennials, the team also launched an “I am Fearless” campaign to drive the message among customers. “By showing how others have successfully transformed, the viewers are convinced that they can too.” As Kate continues to elaborate, “We also want Réale to have a positive impact on the community and environment, so there is a dollar for dollar movement for local communities when they use the app and our brushes use sustainably sourced wood and metals.”

From left to right: (Kate) Lee Chia Min, (Jessica) Neoh Jie Qi, (Rynn) Leow Chok Nam, L’Oreal Malaysia Talent Acquisition Manager Sarina Sariff

Three teams competed at the National Finals, and the champion team will represent Malaysia in Paris this May in the run for a grand prize of 10,000 €.The team would like to thank family, friends, and Dr Pek Chuen-Khee from Nottingham University Business School (NUBS) for their constant support.


For more information please contact Jessica Neoh.

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