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5 Men’s Beauty Gadget Trends (and What They Mean for Brands)

Posted By: SGK May 23, 2016

According to Kathryn Sloane, Director of Growth at SGK, the male grooming industry is booming in Asia. And while there is some movement in the West, Asia continues to grow, and contributes to more than 60 percent of men’s global beauty sales.

READ: Men’s Beauty Goes Big in Asia  

“In a region that embraces technology, it’s hard not to notice the buzz around electronic beauty devices, with the promise of professional results in the privacy of your home,” says Kathryn Sloane.

According to Transparency Market Research, beauty devices are expected to achieve global sales of $10.7 billion by 2018. Brands are tapping into this opportunity by creating electronic beauty products that enhance men’s beauty standards and outperform traditional grooming methods.

Below are five men’s beauty gadget trends to consider:  

Cleansing at night. Asian men are now more likely to cleanse at night, so introducing products and adjusting the beauty branding to relate to nightly rituals will interest this market. By responding to theses cultural and behavioral nuances, brands are given the ability to extend the grooming regimen by encouraging men to go beyond their preferred core products.  

Looking for logic and benefit-driven messaging. Not only are men in Asia looking for professional results with their in-home beauty products, they are searching for products that reflect their social interests – things like pollutant-removal. Brands must build logic and benefit-driven messaging to reinforce its importance in the market.

“With trendy ingredients, brands will be compared on-pack to these more sophisticated shoppers,” says Kathryn Sloane.

Going beyond grooming devices, men are also looking for unique, benefit-driven ingredients in their beauty add-ons, like unrefined shea butter and essentials oils -- creating value for their money spent on premium grooming products. To make it easier for consumers to find these sophisticated products, there is a clear opportunity for retailers or brand owners to differentiate their offerings online.  

Searching for more information. As men are searching for beauty options more than ever, now is the time to respond to men’s shopping habits and re-think your touch points. While cost was once a determining factor of which shampoo to choose, now with everything from organic, strengthening, vitamin-enriched hair cream, ensuring the product is healthy and high-quality beyond price is incredibly important to the modern men’s beauty shopper.

In the UK on the other hand, it is important for brands to differentiate themselves with promotions and special deals. In Germany and France shoppers expect to find lower prices online compared to brick and mortar stores and are interested in searching for new makeover and beauty ideas.   

Open to experimentation. It is important for brands to understand that men are willing to experiment with different products. Free trials open up great opportunity when introducing new or innovative grooming options. In order to get the most success out of these trials, look to where your consumers are!

Try introducing new products at men’s tradeshows and offer free samples or quick demos – or leave a starter kit at a gym your consumer frequents. This way, if there is any feeling of uncertainty, men can take the products and try them out on their own.  

Subscription boxes are also gaining traction in the beauty space by bringing experimentation right to the consumer’s home. Birchbox Man, a monthly grooming and lifestyle subscription, includes product samples of items such as specialty soaps, razors, beard brushes, and more. For just $10 a month, consumers are sent a collection of products, of which could lead to consumer loyalty.

With these on-ground activations and product trials, brands will prove to be a convenient and credible extension of the male beauty regime.  

Looking for dialogue outside of the shelf. To win, brands must build and elevate their dialogue to optimize conversion. With increased visibility through the use of social media and ecommerce sites, it is important to engage with consumers both virtually and at the physical shelf.  

Consumers use the Internet for product promotions, peer reviews, and to view videos for beauty inspiration. This presents a huge opportunity for brands to amplify their online presence with great potential for high returns.

“It’s safe to say, male grooming is here to stay and with more men participating and willing to spend in the category, we expect it to evolve rapidly with intensifying competition,” says Kathryn Sloane.  

As both men and women give more preference to beauty gadgets and personal care, the opportunity for brands in this space will grow with the usage of online shopping. Read more about Kathryn’s insight regarding the men’s beauty market in Asia in the first issue of Patterns: Brand Insights from Around the World

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China, Land of Opportunity: Meeting News Challenges with a New Consumer Focus

Recent headlines tell of economic jitters and tougher regulations in the world’s second largest economy. Does the news signal an end to the robust growth that so many brands have enjoyed for so long? It’s all a matter of perspective.

Fundamental changes in Chinese markets are causing growing pains. But brands that adapt to China’s “new normal” stand to gain a substantial advantage. That’s true for local Chinese brands and global brands alike – and there’s a lot to be learned from the strengths of each.

Discover a land of opportunity. You’ll find a profitable meeting of East and West in our latest issue of Patterns.

For this and four more articles from SGK’s global marketing experts, read Making Connections: Brand Insights from Around the World. Download the full Patterns report now.

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Men's Beauty Goes Big in Asia

What do men see when they look in the mirror? Think of your brand as that mirror. It can reflect basic hygiene and grooming to meet social norms, or it can reveal expressive possibilities for a highly personal style.

Asian markets lead the world in embracing men’s beauty. And while most Western men aren’t quite ready for foundation and lipstick, they’re increasingly looking to flaunt their own individuality.

In our new issue of Patterns, we hold a mirror up to the East and visualize new opportunities for helping every man look his best. Going big with men’s beauty could be the future of your brand.

For this and four more articles from SGK’s global marketing experts, read Making Connections: Brand Insights from Around the World. Download the new Patterns report now.

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5 Actionable Consumer Trends in Asia That Can Supercharge Your Brand

Posted By: SGK April 30, 2015

When it comes to the consumer market in Asia, you need to be nimble. That’s because the pace of chance and innovation continues to accelerate across the region. In his BrandSquare Live Session, Maxwell Luthy, Director of Trends & Insights at, shares five actionable consumer trends in Asia that can unlock new opportunities for your brand. Each trend highlights a key innovation opportunity that could help you serve, delight, surprise or build stronger relationships with consumers.

1.    Perfect Payments
In Asia, mobile subscriptions were estimated to hit 3.6 billion in 2014, which is roughly 51 percent of the total worldwide. That, combined with increased access to financial services, has caused mobile powered payments to go mainstream in Asia. Skipping cash and checks, Asians are expecting top quality banking via mobile. To meet the need in Vietnam, MasterCard partnered with Sacombank to create mobile POS terminals that allow wet market traders in the region to take mobile payments. 

2.    Here/Now
In Asia, the mobile-wielding population has an endless desire for on-demand economy. Consumers are seeking services that provide the basics – transport, food, laundry, and deliver them right here, right now. Parking Duck’s online marketplace helps Bangkok drivers find alternative parking spaces from peers and companies. And when it comes to media consumption, Lukup Media is the first on-demand TV service to be launched in India, giving subscribers immediate access to music, movies and more.

3.    Digital Discipline
Brands in Asia are beginning to ease the digital addiction that many consumers in the region are feeling. Luthy cites that Asian consumers are increasingly looking for a break, or even treatment, to keep them away from their devices. This means there is room for brands to step in and help consumers achieve this goal. In the Philippines, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola have introduced the BFF Timer application, which rewards users with badges and coupons when they are spend time away from their mobile devices. In Hong Kong, Volkswagen created a viral movie theater campaign to highlight the dangers of texting while driving.

4.    Made (Classy) In China
China is quickly becoming a new global source for luxury products and services. With rising incomes, Chinese consumers and brands want their social and cultural capital to rise as well. Exception de Mixmind is a classic example of an understated Chinese luxury brand that steers clear of conspicuous branding. Jeweler Qeelin, leverages Chinese heritage and symbols and plans to double stores across China. The moral of the story: Don’t underestimate China when it comes to luxury.

5.    Taboo Busters 
Fading social norms mean that Asian consumers are creating and living by their own value systems. Forces such as urbanisation, access to education and awareness of diverse lifestyles through the media, are leading Asian consumers to question longstanding social norms and rules. In India, where remarriage is still taboo, Tanishq, a popular jewelry brand aired television ads featuring a woman’s second marriage, spreading progressive views on marriage and winning new fans in the process. 

Tracking trends, especially in Asia can help you meet and surpass consumers’ rapidly changing expectations. By looking at trends powered by continued urbanization, rising affluence and ever-more connectivity, you can unlock a wealth of opportunities and fortune for your brand in Asia, and beyond. 

For more insights, be sure to watch Maxwell Luthy’s BrandSquare recording on Youtube, “Unlock the Opportunities: 5 Consumer Trends in Asia.”

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Unlock the Opportunities: 5 Consumer Trends in Asia

Posted By: SGK April 21, 2015

Staying ahead of the curve is essential for your brand. But in the APAC region, it can unlock a plethora of opportunities.

In a new BrandSquare Live Session, we’ll explore Asia’s top macro-trends for 2015 with Maxwell Luthy, Director of Trends & Insights for He’ll break down the top five actionable consumer trends in Asia. Each highlights a key innovation opportunity that could help you serve, delight, surprise or build stronger relationships with consumers.

Don’t miss out on a chance to stay up-to-date on the current state of affairs in Asia and how this year will be one of possibilities. From “perfect payments” to “taboo busters”, these actionable insights can unlock the potential to supercharge your brand in the APAC region. 

Register now for Unlock the Opportunities: 5 Consumer Trends in Asia – Thursday, April 23 at 1pm ET. See you there!

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Marketers: 8 Qualities About Asia’s Millennials You Need To Be Aware Of

Posted By: SGK March 24, 2014

Asia is a mosaic of many cultures, and each one has faced and overcome its own distinct challenges. Across the region, however, young Asians increasingly their hard work and dedication pay off in ways their parents never imagined. But more than ever before, they’re also looking for innovation, creativity, individualism and fun.
Here are eight notable qualities of Asia’s millennials that consumer brands entering this region need to know. 

1.    Resilient. The global financial crisis affected Asia, but not nearly to the extent felt in mature Western economies. Additionally many of these countries have demonstrated amazing resilience in recovering from epidemics, natural disasters and other setbacks – not only in recent years but throughout their long histories. This has created a sense of community and an ability to handle stresses, which young people in the West don’t always display.

2.    Driven. While Japan and Korea have the most mature economies in the region, the new “tiger economies” such as Indonesia, Thailand and China (although it’s facing new challenges) are in a very accelerated state of development. As the European and American middle classes continue to stagnate, young people in Asian cities are building and buying things their parents never dreamed of.

3.    Powerful. By 2020, 60% of all millennials will reside in Asia. And they’re gaining incredible buying power – currently around USD 907 billion, equivalent to the combined GDP of Indonesia and the Philippines. By 2020, they will be the main driver of the APAC economy.

4.    High Achievers. Many young Asians are better educated and have higher earning power than older generations. What used to be the American Dream – a degree, a car, a house, kids and a dog – is now the Pacific Dream.

5.    Individualistic. Exposure to other cultures is fueling empowerment and a desire for self-expression among Asian youth. Especially in Tier 1 cities, Internet access and micro-blogging is feeding a sense of individualism that was culturally discouraged among their parents’ generation.

6.    Embracing Opportunities. The stereotype of serious, studious, hard-working Asian youth is fading as millennials begin to crave more freedom to play and enjoy life. Like their Western counterparts, they’re delaying marriage and changing jobs more often as they explore their options. And access to online learning is bringing rural and poorer youth options they never had before.

7.    Under pressure. At the same time, Asian millennials are beginning to face employment pressures similar to their Western counterparts. The media in China have declared this to be “The hardest year in history to get a job.” The number of students with a job lined up after graduation is under 30 percent – a record low.

8.    Prepared. Twenty years ago, Asian companies were staffing senior positions with imported talent. Today, Chinese, Indonesian, Thai, Malaysian and Philippine professionals are returning home with BAs, MBAs and experience earned in Western countries. Fluent in their native language and culture, these workers now have every advantage.

We’re optimistic about Asia for brands, and Asian millennials are as optimistic as they can be, although they share the cultural inheritance of knowing that life can change quickly. Brands that are sensitive to Asian mindsets and nimble in entering and executing in markets can benefit from opportunities here, right along with Asia’s millennials.

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5 Tactics For Leveraging Opportunities In Indonesia

Posted By: SGK December 04, 2013

With many developed nations still working their way out of the Great Recession and several emerging markets experiencing their first cooling periods, its easy for brands to succumb to “expansion exhaustion.” 

However one emerging nation that warrants a fresh look is Indonesia, which continues to hold tremendous potential for brands that can pay close attention.

1.    Make the most of Indonesia’s extraordinary diversity. Leverage Indonesia as a pilot market for regional launches or your global developing-markets strategy.

2.    Get to the grass roots of change – you won’t unearth the wealth of opportunities simply conducting focus groups in Jakarta. Talk to people in their homes, on the streets and in transit to get an authentic feel for unmet needs.

3.    Engage the youth. With more money than ever before, tomorrow’s entrepreneurs are making themselves heard and represent remarkable opportunities for brand owners. 

4.    Actively contribute. Consumers want brands that show they want to be part of Indonesia’s future. How can you do this as a true expression of your brand?

5.    Make it modular – take into account the astoundingly complex retail landscape when creating brand identity systems and shopper programs, allowing for clear communication across channels. 

With its large population and young labor force, Indonesia is in the midst of a consumer-spending boom that analysts say could last for years. In March 2013, the Boston Consulting Group projected that middle-class and affluent consumers in Indonesia would double to 141 million by 2020 – more than the entire population of Thailand. 

Marketers, don’t overlook Indonesia’s undeniable potential! For more insight download our latest issue of Patterns - Marketing Forward: New Insights to Drive Brand Performance.

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Pan-Asian Branding Leader Steven McGinnes Tapped to Lead SGK's Brand Development Group in Asia Pacific

August 08, 2013

DES PLAINES - SGK (NYSE: SGK), formerly marketed as Schawk, Inc., a leading global brand development, activation and deployment company, announced today that it has tapped Pan-Asian branding leader Steven McGinnes to lead its brand development group in Asia Pacific along with direct oversight of Anthem’s Singapore office.

The brand development group of SGK drives brand performance by creating brand desirability through two brands, Brandimage and Anthem. Brandimage, a global consultancy of brand equity architects and designers with offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore, and Anthem, a global creative agency with offices in Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo, actively connect brands with people by amplifying desirability.

In this new position, McGinnes is charged with building the Company’s brand development offering in this region and creating desire for the Brandimage and Anthem brands among Clevel decision makers at global and regional organizations.

Brad Wills, executive vice president international, group managing director, Asia Pacific, noted, “Steve has nurtured rich relationships with marketing decision makers by providing no fuss, insight-driven branding solutions across the region. We are pleased to add such a strong skill set, thereby further enriching SGK’s brand development capabilities in Asia Pacific.”

Eric Ashworth, president, added, “Asia Pacific is rich with opportunity for global companies to market their brands. It is also culturally complex, which requires a deft handling in the execution of brands across regions. We’ve nurtured a culturally diverse roster of exceptional talent at Brandimage and Anthem. Steve’s intelligence, passion and energy builds on an already strong base and will help us take our brand development group to the next level in this part of the world.”

McGinnes was the co-founder and principal of Singapore-based boutique strategy and creative consultancy, The Hummingbird Perspective, recognized throughout Asia for its innovative brand solutions. The Hummingbird Perspective served global companies and large regional organizations, and its clients included companies in the food & beverage, personal care and life sciences categories in addition to others.

Steve McGinnes, managing director, brand development group, Asia Pacific, commented, “Building a successful boutique offering has been exhilarating and very rewarding. However, the opportunity to bring Hummingbird’s tools and techniques, as well as its fantastic client partners to SGK is a fantastic opportunity that I could not pass up. Brandimage and Anthem have an amazingly talented team and great clients. My job is to further build on this successful foundation and help more clients drive exceptional brand performance across Asia.”

The services offered by The Hummingbird Perspective will now be available through SGK and driven by Steve in his new role. The addition of these services and skills represent a significant complement to SGK’s existing brand development offering, which will continue to be enhanced.

Prior to establishing The Hummingbird Perspective, McGinnes served as regional managing director (Asia) for Clear, a full-service brand consultancy. Earlier he was regional managing director for Holmes and Merchant, brand innovation and packaging design specialists. McGinnes also served as the head of strategy for Saatchi Lab and as an innovation director at Drink Works in London.

McGinnes studied anthropology and communications at Goldsmith College, part of the University of London, and is well known throughout Asia Pacific as a lecturer at industry
conferences and author of brand-related articles and white papers.

SGK has been conducting business in Asia Pacific since 1999. Today, the Company offers expanded services that help create brands, sell brands, produce brand assets and protect brand equities. SGK counts the region’s leading multinationals as clients.

SGK is a leading global brand development, activation and deployment company that drives brand performance. By creating brands, helping sell brands, producing brand assets and protecting brand equities, we help our clients achieve higher brand performance. SGK's global footprint spans more than 20 countries. SGK was formerly marketed as Schawk, Inc. For more information visit:

Kathryn Sloane
65 6253 2181

Brad Wills
65 6253 2181

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SGK Patterns Issue 1, 2013 - Emerging Markets, Converging Opportunities

Today, new markets don’t simply emerge: they converge with marketers’ experiences in established regions, with personal technologies that enable mind-boggling communication, and with business technologies that enable tremendous process clarity. This issue of SGK Patterns examines these converging opportunities in several emerging markets and across several key product categories. SGK experts weigh in on:

 Brand management technology for faster starts in new markets
 E-commerce in China: people have the power
 The huge opportunities for pharmaceuticals in India
 The impending personal care product boom in Brazil
 Russia's intriguing private label marketplace
 The youth market is the future of every market

Download Emerging Markets, Converging Opportunities – the newest issue of the award-winning SGK Patterns.

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China Will Soon Be the World’s Largest Online Marketplace: Here’s Why

Posted By: SGK March 20, 2013

The current issue of SGK Patterns: Emerging Markets, Converging Opportunities includes an in-depth article on China’s fast-growing e-commerce space. Here are some of the highlights from “E-Commerce in China: Social Media Is the Fuel,” provided by Anh-Huan Tan, Director of Brand Strategy/Asia Pacific for Brandimage, part of the Schawk, Inc. brand development practice.

From Cluster-Oriented Consumption to Me-Consumption

The Chinese used to shun "individualism." Not so today: the rise of personal media is proof. Each individual, and thus each consumer, is now a source of information and is becoming the hub of his/her sphere of influence. The power is moving from brands to consumers, and consumers online are embracing unique kinds of self-expression.

The Virtual World Lighting Up the Real World

Here are some Chinese examples.

  • lets consumers to try out clothing and shoes virtually. Each selection is displayed on the bottom of the page with a link back to Taobao for final purchase.
  • Taobao Mall in Beijing offers an “experience center” for home decoration, bringing together e-shopping and offline sampling to help the consumer make better choices when shopping online.
  • Yihaodian, the famous online supermarket, offers QR-code shopping in every big Shanghai metro station, facilitated by giant LEDs and the shopper’s mobile phone
  • The Yishion clothing brand has launched an online fitting activity. After purchase, consumers are invited to use augmented reality online to try out new outfits. Their sessions are recorded and advertised live in-store.

Consumption Guide Planners

  • The aggregation site allows shoppers to compile information on products and services from multiple sources.
  • Taobao experts will respond to user-published photos of products they’re looking for, providing information on other relevant products.

Grass-Roots Decision-Making

In Volkswagen’s People’s Car project, consumers can vote on potential design features and strongly influencing the final design of a new model.

For the full article and five more on emerging markets, categories and brand management technologies worldwide, download SGK Patterns: Emerging Markets, Converging Opportunities now. It’s free.