Meet the Member: Celia Poncelin, Chief Marketing Officer, Heuritech

Member news | November 23, 2020

In this week's Meet the Member feature, we spoke with Célia Poncelin, Chief Marketing Officer at Heuritech. Heuritech is the winner of the LVMH Innovation Award 2017. Their platform forecasts trends based on the analysis of consumers and influencers on social media. Some of the platform's applications include:

  • Spot all relevant trends to include in next collection's product brief
  • Adjust and balance collection plan in regards to future market demand
  • Spot inspiring trends, details & ideas for your designs
  • Back intuition and ensure the relevance of product choices for next collection 

Read on to learn more about the company's ambitions for the North American market and how their technology has benefitted the fashion industry, among others. 

FACC-NY: Heuritech combines artificial intelligence and fashion experts to empower retail decision makers in luxury and fashion. By analyzing images on social media, Heuritech can help anticipate the success of a product based on the first signs of desirability. In fashion, especially fast fashion, brands have been criticized for over-producing and some instances burning excess merchandise. Does Heuritech’s insight help companies waste less and pursue a more sustainable business model?

That’s exactly our purpose. The acceleration of the pace of trends and the race for constant newness have created one of the biggest challenges for the fashion industry: overstock. Each year, fashion companies have billions of dollars worth of clothes in unsold inventory because of the lack of tools to make accurate forecasts. To resolve this problem, they need to foresee emerging trends to anticipate demand at an early stage and offer the most relevant products to their customers. That’s exactly what Heuritech provides, to help brands produce more sustainably.

FACC-NY: In the world of social media influence, how do you remove or set aside any interference from bots or paid partnerships that aren’t always clearly disclosed?(either by #ad or the Instagram official sponsored post mention).

You are absolutely right that we need to have the clearest and more accurate data, so we need to avoid interference. For that reason, our team of fashion experts proactively follow all the gifting campaigns in the industry. Our true value is to assess whether a trend is being adopted or not. This means seeing how trends spread between influencers and the consumers. Of cours, consumers can be exposed to gifting campaigns but, gifting or not, they are the own deciding to convey the adoption of a trend on the market. In most cases, if you see the product worn over a long period of time, it means it starts to be genuinely appreciated and that’s powerful. The data we provide comes from millions of content posted online each day.

FACC-NY: Fashion is often unpredictable, can artificial intelligence entirely replace the human-centric approach that often determines what makes something “cool”? For certain brands, especially in luxury, being under the radar can ironically be more desirable than mass momentum. A good example of this is the marketing approach of Biologique Recherche.

Definitely – artificial intelligence is never going to replace the humans and the designers, which are the one that have the intelligence and emotion to really sense what’s happening in the market. AI will never be capable of having emotions, and thus will be a tool to improve profitability rather than defining what’s cool or what’s not. This question about coolness depends on each brand, as you rightly pointed: some brand will be more niche, other mass. Which is why it is crucial for our work to really understand the brand DNA and the target audience to deliver personalized insight and data. But it’s a very interesting question especially since a study published by WWD in November 2018 shown that only 38% percent of the fashion executives are fully versed in AI. There is still a long way to go! 

FACC-NY: Do your clients fit any one profile? Are they large, top-tier fashion brands or more up and coming names testing the market?

Indeed, we have collaborated in stealth mode with top-tier brands such as Louis Vuitton and Dior. They were willing to open their doors for us to deeply understand their needs and create a tailored solution. Since then, we have expanded into sports and fashion industries. Before the end of the year, we will launch the beauty industry and also an offer for small brands.

FACC-NY: What are your goals for the U.S. market?

We are currently opening an office in New York and we want to build a local team to establish meaningful collaborations. The American market is very interesting and changing faster than in Europe, with direct to consumers brands such as Glossier and Reformation that are revolutionizing the time-to-market and marketing. 

FACC-NY: The offices are currently based in Paris, do you have plans to expand in Europe or North America or is your technology global by nature?

Our technology is global since we analyze what’s happening on social media. We already work with clients in Europe, Asia, and North America. The headquarter is based in Paris, where Heuritech was founded, but we have an office in New York and plan to open an office in Asia in the next years.

Interested in connecting with Celia? Log into the FACC Member Directory to send her a message.