Asian cosmetic brands to see 'top table' success with Korean wave

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Asian cosmetic brands to see 'top table' success with Korean wave

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A 'Korean wave' is helping Asia's brands to take a strong foothold of the market share which will see them take their place at the top table amongst Western players once and for all.   

Following on from the momentum of the Taiwanese and Cantonese waves, the Korean version has been particularly influential on the cosmetics segment.

The Korean Wave refers to the increase in the popularity of South Korean culture since the late 1990s. The term was originally coined in mid-1999 by journalists who were surprised by China's growing appetite for South Korean cultural exports.

According to Singapore based author of Asian Brand Strategy, Martin Roll, this wave will lead to a rise in Asian brand power which will ultimately see domestic brands secure a seat at the top table for good.

Roll told The Diplomat that for any global consumer, the top three or five brands will be Asian and will be as valid as any Western competitor.

"We’re still talking about the same 30 to 50 brands, but the good thing is they are all getting more professional. I think the Koreans are the best brand builders right now in Asia – from Samsung, to cosmetics firm Amorepacific​," Roll revealed to the publication.

How the 'wave' is changing things

The expert goes on to state that the region is moving into a new era where branding takes center stage and becomes strategy, rather than just marketing and glossy advertising campaigns.

Second and third-generation Asian family owners are also returning home from overseas studies perhaps having worked for the likes of L’Oreal, and have a very different mindset to their parents as to how business should be run.

"Asian brands have a golden time ahead of them, but you don’t build a brand overnight. When you come from California, Munich or Paris, you don’t have to explain too much about your country of origin, but if you’re a Korean, Singaporean, Thai or Indonesian brand, you have to do much more explaining to show you deserve a seat at the table​," Roll tells The Diplomat.

Asian consumers no longer an easy bet for Western brands

In this current climate, Roll says it won't be as easy as it was before for Western firms, where Asian consumers mainly wanted international products.

"They need to look at their brand proposition and localize. Western firms think they can do Asia in a quarter, but it takes at least three to five years to get any kind of success here​," he stated.

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