Market research company Mintel has also emphasised that social media is growing in APAC, and in recent years has increasingly been included as part of marketing strategies and promotional activities.
Increasingly, social media is becoming an integral element of sophisticated marketing campaigns in APAC as the O2O (online-to-offline) trend evolves and consumers make purchases via online stores.
The cosmetics, beauty and personal care sectors are utilising social media to visually demonstrate product lines and grow their customer base through online word of mouth.
‘Try before you buy’
Belinda Carli, Director of Institute of Personal Care Science, Australia highlighted how social media channels are being used. YouTube, for example, enables brands to “visually show consumers the application of products including make up to demonstrate style creation, which contributes to their promotional activities”. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest also feature, “with the ultimate goal, to share content”.
Carli went on to say that apps are also gaining popularity. Colour selection apps work by loading colour onto a photo for consumers to see how they would look without having to try or buy the make up first.
“Social media enables cosmetic looks and ‘fashion trends’ to be adopted, which has then spilt over to personal care and innovative products such as face masks or those, in particular, with visual appeal,” said Carli.
Articles, images and videos that show consumers ‘how to use’ or ‘before/after’ looks help to strengthen the use of social media as a lucrative marketing channel for the colour cosmetics and personal care industries.
“Brands that are up with social media are utilising these platforms and really, any brand that doesn’t start embracing social media is getting left behind,” added Carli.
Social media is also successfully pairing the O2O experience for consumers and is a factor in the rise of online shopping: “Consumers usually want to ‘try before they buy’ but this is impossible online; video content, however, makes it ‘virtually’ possible to see how a product will perform and so consumers are enticed to purchase without actually trying it.”
Potential for all
Opportunities to create brand awareness, generate leads and gain or increase customer bases are available to both small and large brands. Carli emphasised that the level of engagement and therefore growth “really depends on the quality of the content...It must have some sort of instant visual appeal whether it’s a before/after concept, a ‘how to’ concept or similar”.
Specialist marketing companies, such as K-beauty marketer Leferi Beauty Entertainment, are focusing on key areas of APAC cosmetics and beauty to forge growing marketing strategies and campaigns, as well as extending their reach to other APAC countries and wider regions.
“Even unknown brands can feature and may invest in companies like Leferi Beauty Entertainment to help,” added Carli.
“However, it is not necessary as they can do it themselves if they have internal personnel who are camera ready, great concepts and presenters and appropriate software to prepare the video content.”
Due to the marketing channels’ accessibility, low cost, simple setup and return opportunities from unlimited exposure, social media provides both small domestic startups and established international players with the potential to grow its brand.
Carli highlighted that the key to getting it right when creating campaigns is demonstrating skill and competence: “Even very small startups can create social media, that’s the exciting part – but doing it right to compete against the professionalism of the big brands is important."
Unlike typical market opportunities, social media enables companies to enjoy maximum exposure with few penetration restraints. For brands to excel, it’s important they have a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes integrated digital marketing outlets including an e-commerce shop, to pair activities on brand websites and social media accounts.
“There is plenty of market for both players when utilising the media and targeting markets appropriately, especially if they have an online shopping cart,” said Carli.
Skill and input
When it comes to technical development, companies need to invest in people with specific expertise to ensure marketing assets represent the brand’s core competencies. This enables them to reach target audiences through high-quality creations.
Once completed, however, companies like autonomous solutions that allow their remote input.
For example, to develop an app, “a company would need a suitable app developer and concept to be able to do it, but once the initial investment is made they could probably alter content themselves”, explained Carli.
“For all brands, it really comes down to making the content visually interesting, short and catchy and providing a solution or wow factor to be watched and more importantly, ‘shared’,” added Carli.
The second instalment of this article will be published on 19th December 2016.