Social media lull pushes South Korean firm to pursue new opportunities overseas
Health and beauty company Bcommonce is a subsidiary of Empathywith, a marketing agency that specialised in helping brands with viral marketing campaigns.
The first product the company launched was the Armpit Deo BB puff, a product which is still one of its best-sellers.
Unlike conventional deodorants, Armpit Deo BB Puff is also a make-up product designed to lighten the appearance of underarm skin. The application is different as well – rather than a spray or a rollerball, users apply the cream with a sponge applicator.
The company’s biggest challenge today is overcoming the slowdown in social media growth in South Korea, its primary market.
“Although the Korean market is doing well. It’s not enough. The market is so saturated and in Korea, social media use has stopped growing. Not as much Facebook or Instagram use, nowadays it’s all about YouTube,” said Joe Juhyun Park, chief of business development.
As such, the company has started to explore new opportunities abroad. It has just started exporting its products outside of Korea.
Today it is exporting a modest amount of products in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam as well as Hong Kong.
“We have not been exporting long. It's not big but I think it’s a pretty good start. We're receiving a few trials orders and we hope to turn these trial orders into commercial orders,” said Park.
He said SEA will be a focus for the company as it believes social media use is still growing in the region. It is currently seeking more partners that can help them understand the SEA beauty market.
“Because we are a Korean company, we understand that demographic very well. But it's not easy to understand the cultures and habits of social media users in other countries. The good thing for us is that there’s still a big Korean trend in this region because of K-Pop, K-dramas and K-beauty. So, we can take advantage of that.”
Additionally, the company hopes to find partnerships in Japan.
“Japan and Korea are different of course, but they share a lot in common when it comes to things like style. They influence each other back and forth. So, it may be easier for us to reach these consumers,” said Park.
How to go viral
Today, Bcommonce has several brands in its portfolio ranging from foot peels to men’s skin care.
Park explained that a viral product has to be easy to understand and yet be special enough to remain in the mind of consumers.
“First of all, people need to know what it is just by looking at it. Then you have to develop something special, something so special that people cannot look away from it. When the come across a video clip online, they should be hooked in, and not be able to scroll away. They have to walk away thinking: Something like this exists? Wow.”
He added that it was important to gauge market demand. The company does this by using social media.
“We use social media to search for demand. We also post content related to the product, for example, body odour trouble, and see how people respond. We check out their comments, replies and see how many people tag their friends.”
The success of the Armpit Deo BB Puff prompted the company to release more products.
“In 2018, after Armpit Deo BB Puff launched, we just kept launching and launching, month after month,” said Joe.
He admitted that not all of the company’s product have succeeded the way they wanted it to.
“Sometimes, the audience does not react the way we expected them too. Maybe there was no demand… Sometimes it’s too innovative and the market is not ready to accept and adopt it.”
He told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that the company still has many creative ideas it has yet to execute.
“I think our creativity will never run out. There are still many concepts in our heads. We just need the money to develop them. For the business to be sustainable, we have to pick the product very well. We must only develop the ones that will work.”