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Beauty Branding: New Generation, New Trends

Posted By: SGK June 06, 2019

This blog post has been contributed by Bowen Yang, business development manager, Brandimage China.

The universal language of marketing is continuously evolving. From field selling to market planning, today, we see the dominance of the consumer creating meaningful content and experience for them. We have started living in a subscription world, and membership sign-ups are growing day by day.

Being part of an 'in-group' is becoming a necessity to feel included as part of something big. It starts from subscribing for a TV series to cosmetic trials and extends to the healthcare sector.

Millennials are the key drivers of membership concept in this new age. Their transition from watching brand commercials on TV to directly interacting with their favourite brands on social media made way for clubs and exclusive participation.

READ: What Does ‘Brand Love’ Mean to Younger Generations?

While social media is cost-effective and high performing, it is an all-time competitive landscape. For companies to have a leg up on the competition, creating personalised content is nothing more than a prerequisite. Non-engaging contents are dismissed with a swipe losing its immediate touchpoint with a potential customer.

The subscription economy model appeals to customers to halt and engage with the content posted by the brand. Brands can leverage this idea to build and strengthen their relationship to convert customers to members.

So, what makes a subscription brand successful?

Below, we outline a few examples from the beauty and personal care space to illustrate what a successful club looks like:

Exude brand values. Brand authenticity is something that consumers want to see. A brand that reflects its brand values both internally and externally is perceived as consistent and trustworthy by its customers.

For example, SK-II took on women empowerment as a subject matter to create awareness around Chinese women who are pressurised to get married. SK-II rolled out #ChangeDestiny campaign where videos titled, "Marriage Market Takeover" and "Meet Me Halfway" reflected the stigmatism and antiquated value system of China. The discussion around dwindling interest of marriage and hope for change triggered lively discussion on Chinese social media like Weibo and WeChat.

Promote learning. Direct-to-consumer marketing supports knowledge flow from brands to consumers. It positions consumers at the centre of all strategy and activity; increasing brand relationships. Most of the Chinese customers have cultivated a habit of researching customer reviews before finalising their purchase decision.

To accommodate that rising behaviour in China, the Xiaohongshu app (a Chinese lifestyle app) hosts a variety of product and experience-based reviews and recommendations shared by individual users.

Personalised feedback provided by the users builds trust among the user community and promotes ongoing engagement with the app for further information. Knowledge sharing via such app keeps the community continuously engaged and brands to actively promote in this space.

Community building. Brands can apply influencer marketing to build a community that will be immersed through its activities via different channels. Creating content via KOLs allows followers to engage and consume the content displayed by the influencers through social media platforms.

Brands can also collaborate with KOLs to conduct make up tutorials for walk-in customers that will increase footfall to their retail stores — encouraging consistent learning amongst consumers answers the need to remain connected for the latest updates of related news or trends.

The home-grown beauty brand, Pechoin, rebranded itself by optimising its product design and targeting younger Chinese millennials who support local brands. Through key opinion leader (KOL) marketing campaigns, it exhibited the real experience of using the product, inspiring viewers to try out the products for themselves. The campaigns proved successful, and Pechoin was crowned as the top-selling national beauty brand last year.

Create a space to congregate. Constructing a space to congregate is essential for a community to thrive, interact with other consumers and with the brand. It can be either online, offline, or both. While most subscription models are strictly online, some brands have ventured into the retail experience world to enhance their offline image.

Recently, Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) Beauty Hotel made its way through major cities across the globe connecting with its cosmetic followers. Breaking free from its usual retail booths, YSL introduced a one-day beauty hotel that included the likes of neon lights, and Instagram-worthy beauty stops. Building an area with customised activities elevates the brand experience for the beauty fanatics as they continued their chatter online via YSL's hashtag.

READ: Retail Is the Ultimate Social Platform

Invite feedback. Millennials have grown up in an era where they are likely to write, react or do both when finalising their purchase decisions. Incorporating consumers feedback reassures them that the brand listens to them, and boosts their confidence when brands convert feedback into action via the products or services they offer.

Glossier, a UK cosmetic brand conducted field research, understood its customers and as a result widened its range of foundation shades to reach out to different coloured consumers. It was a well-received initiative that has improved the brand's sales revenue.

It also dedicates a significant portion of its promotional activity to user-generated content by posting photos and comments from real-life customers on its channels. Integrating customer's posts, Glossier manifests as 'customer-first' company building a deeper relationship with its consumers.

Customers can no longer be treated as single purchase contact. It is imperative for brands to view their customers as members, not consumers. Today's consumers are web-savvy, mobile-enabled data sifters with personality — but don't forget, they still enjoy interacting with brand experiences.

Transparency in brand values, knowledge sharing, community building, spatial freedom and voice of share are key ingredients for a successful subscription model.

Are you ready to embrace the new age beauty branding for your market? Get in touch with us here!

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Why Transparency Matters for Brands in a Post-Truth World

Posted By: SGK January 30, 2018

Coming off of a year of uncertainty, more than ever before, brands and marketers need to work diligently to keep in touch with consumer behaviors — connecting in an impactful and positive way.

Asserting efficacy and trust will be a top priority for brands across categories as long as skepticism drives purchasing behavior and consumer attitudes. Since consumers rely on trust in many forms, its up to brands to find new ways to build that trust. As we look forward, bolder action from brands will be incredibly important and will go a long way in fostering trust.

According to Mintel, to establish the “Trust Funding” trend for 2018, they analyzed pending political and legislative events, consumer attitudes, and my looked at the momentum in product and campaign launches.

WATCH: Mintel’s 2018 Consumer Trends for North America 

While the trust funding trend is picking up momentum in other regions of the world, below we will discuss how it is playing out in North America:

What is Trust Funding?

Trust in North American is diminishing — in people, government, and companies. A lot of consumers really want to feel good about what they buy, so they’re putting their dollars where their trust remains intact.

Companies and brands must find new ways and change up the nuances in which they operate to regain trust. Looking back at 2016, the Oxford Dictionary named their word of the year “post truth” — the idea that opinion and emotion have more of a factor in shaping public opinion than actual facts.

Since then, we’ve seen a lot of developments as it relates to news. We live in a 24-hour news cycle, and whenever a scandal happens, we hear about it immediately. Everything is out in the open, whether from people, brands and government on social media; all of this creates the perfect storm leading up to consumer skepticism.

Looking at a couple interesting data points that highlight the way social media plays a role in consumer opinion:

Only 5% of Canadians say they trust news stories they read on social media sites. – Mintel Consumer Trends, 2018

8% of Americans trust product information that they get from social media/networking websites more than other sources. – Mintel Consumer Trends, 2018

With all of this skepticism, we’re not only living in post-truth world, but in a post-trust world as well. In this post-trust world, we see that chasms in society are growing larger, which furthers distrust between different groups of people.

With all of this, we’ve seen a growing expectation that consumers have for brands to stand up and speak out. Brands are expected to establish their values, and to make them known. If a brand is in the same “tribe” as consumers, they are viewed as being trustworthy and are likely to purchase from or support that brand.

In fact, according to Mintel, 80% of US consumers say that professional sports teams should take a stronger stand on controversial issues. A third of Canadian millennials say they enjoy social media posts that raise awareness of ethical issues.

READ: 4 Key Trends That Define How Millennials Interact With Brands

We see a lot of brands across the board identifying with certain issues. While it is certainty risky, it’s a risk worth taking because building up a brand tribe goes a long way towards building trust.

There is also an expectation from consumers (55% of US consumers) for brands to be morally and ethically good. Ultimately, it’s time to innovate and stay ahead of the curve and competitors, while inspiring and embracing cultural movements.

As the trust funding trend continues to evolve throughout the year, brands should leverage the opportunity to react sooner, rather than later. Brands will need to court consumers with transparency, honesty, and facts; at the same time, they will need to find new ways to prove their positions.

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Is Your Brand Ready for 2017?

Posted By: SGK December 28, 2016

Consumers are moving away from the globalized, established world order – and moving toward a more local, accountable, way of thinking and acting. Enough homogenized, one-size-fits-all rhetoric – and more local empowerment toward grass roots delivery and accountability.

“Large global brands will face the challenge of relevancy in 2017. With consumers thinking more about themselves, their community, their country – rather than being inspired by your brands global reach – they may be turned off by it,” says Steve McGinnes, Managing Director, Branding & Design APAC at SGK.

What did 2016 hold for Asia’s top brands, and what can they do to continue growth in the New Year? 

WATCH: SGK’s Steve McGinnes Discusses 2016 Asian Brand Predictions

Global brands will need to work harder to connect locally to understand the nuances of behaviors, of preferences, of desires and fears of individuals and their real or virtual communities.

Brands need real insight into what makes people tick in 2017. We can’t simply continue to target Millennials, Gen Xers or Boomers as though they are single uniform groups. The hundreds of millions of individuals that make up these target groups are simply that – millions of individuals.

We need to go deeper.

“For brands to not just thrive, but to survive they must develop deep, relevant and actionable insight around the countries and communities they exist in,” says McGinnes.

They must translate that into services, products, communication and packaging that speak directly to those communities – in a clear, effective and motivating way. They must do it in a way that responds to the real needs of the consumer – not just the vision of the brand. They need to do it well and they need to do it quickly.

But local vs. global cannot mean lower quality. People want the same high quality in product, on pack and in service they are used to. They won’t compromise on quality for increased relevance. There must be a deep local knowledge, with actionable consumer insight, and relevance in product and packaging.  Consistently high quality will not just be expected, but demanded. For brands, the new world will look a lot like the current one – only much more so.