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Dior HEC Challenge 2017: "Imagine the fragrance experience of tomorrow"

Students developed innovative concepts for Parfums Christian Dior.

HEC Dior Challenge 2017


On Monday March 6, LVMH Headquarters in Paris opened its doors to a number of HEC students for an afternoon showcasing some of the schools’ brightest young talents.

Earlier in the afternoon the launch of the LVMH “Excellence in Client Experience” Certificate allowed 5 teams to explore and share their ideas on how to deliver excellence at a leading luxury brand, with support from representatives in each sector of the group.

The main event of the day, the Dior HEC Challenge, proved just as exciting as the final 4 teams pitched their ideas to a jury of experts from both LVMH and Dior. Students were challenged to ‘imagine the fragrance experience of tomorrow’ with creative and original ideas being presented by the finalists. Technology was a central feature in every presentation, from virtual reality and touch ID to apps, the teams put forward impressive and dynamic ideas for the future of fragrance, making the winner a tough choice. Voted not only the best by the jury but also the public, Team 14 came out on top with their innovative concept "Dior Moment", offering the clients a multi-sensory experience.

HEC Dior Challenge winning team


Interview with Hongyu Chen, Sijia Chen and Nour Mejri, the 3 Master in Management students who won the 2017 edition of the Dior HEC Challenge

Can you explain the ideas you presented at Dior Challenge?

Our Big idea was to enhance full sensations of Dior Perfume by elevating the client’s experience before, during and after the purchase. The essential image of Dior Perfume is the Christian Dior Garden and we want to create exclusive Dior moments to address this image through a different retailing environment, both online and offline, from department store to beauty retailers.  The idea is to benchmark innovative players in client experience from various industries such as Muji app, Chopin Museum in Warsaw, Coca-Cola gift bottle design, etc.

Can you tell us about your experience pitching in front of the jury?

The strange thing is that we weren’t nervous at all, we were just so happy and honored to be on the stage as the last group to be announced in the final. As we played a video introducing our ideas in general first, our main pitch focused on explaining the details of each idea and the purpose behind them.  What we tried to convey in the pitch was that, a big brand like Dior should be bold in its connection of luxury with technology, sustainability and greenness.  We were glad that our ideas were clear to everyone and delivered with clear structure and logic, as our main concern before the presentation was having too many ideas here and there. Overall, it’s a wonderful experience to pitch in front of so many accomplished professionals.

What was inspiring about Dior universe and its products?

We think the Dior brand is unique in the way it inspires women and men to be their true selves. Furthermore, it gives people the strength and freedom to express themselves and equally the willingness to live life to the full.

We think that Dior makes it clear to its customers that it’s not only a brand but also a companion through the journey of life.

Why do you think fragrance is something people find so important to personalize?

Each soul is unique, and fragrance is something that shows the world your uniqueness. Through the scent, one wants the world to understand the real you. And that is exactly why people want to personalize fragrance.

With clothes, shoes and bags, we can mix and match, and easily present our unique styles through the overall outfit.  However, this is not the case with perfumes – normally we only wear one perfume at a time. So the perfume should be unique and suited to your emotion of the day.

Your ideas focused a lot on moments and the senses eg. The music booth and virtual reality.  Why do you think that fragrance plays such a large part in creating individual stories and emotions?

We believe that fragrance is something essential and unique because it triggers people’s feelings. It reminds you of memories, or evokes certain emotions – but most of the time these are so difficult to pin point and describe. In our project ‘Dior Moment’, we focused on making such abstract feelings more concrete through synesthesia.

HEC Dior Challenge students work


How did the HEC course prepare you for the challenge?

The HEC marketing classes, as well as the presence of LVMH and other luxury brand professionals in classes gave us a valuable first-hand insight into the luxury market.

Furthermore, courses taught on the specialization in Strategic Management about digital transformation and how it reinvents different sectors, such as the luxury one, prepared us greatly.

Has being given the opportunity to participate in events by HEC such as the Dior challenge given you the confidence and ambition to pursue a career with a leading company such as LVMH or Dior?

This unique opportunity of working and networking with Dior executives definitely convinced us to think about a career with LVMH or Dior.

It also gave us the confidence to dare to try something new and revolutionary for client experience at Dior. We feel this project would be really interesting to bring to life!

HEC Dior Challenge master management