‘The focus now is survival’: Indie brand Rock & Herb ramping up online efforts in response to COVID-19

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Rock & Herb will be concentrating its marketing dollars on digital marketing amid COVID-19 crisis. ©Rock & Herb
Rock & Herb will be concentrating its marketing dollars on digital marketing amid COVID-19 crisis. ©Rock & Herb

Related tags COVID-19 Indie beauty brands

Singapore-based beauty brand Rock & Herb will be concentrating its marketing dollars on digital marketing as it rides out the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The brand was co-founded by Dr Chew Su Chuen, a scientist with experience in nanotechnology and health sciences who aimed to develop a brand of natural products that are backed by scientific research.

Since it launched last year, the brand has been seen its business grow encouragingly with a healthy rate of returning consumers.

This year, the firm was planning to expand its business and introduce new products this year.

However, it has since had to delay some of its plans. For instance, it has postponed the release of some new launches due to supply chain issue brought about by the outbreak.

Jack Yee, co-founder and director of the company, told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that the company will be shifting its focus on ‘survival’ for the coming year.

This would mean concentrating on building up its presence online, which Yee believes is especially important for a new brand right now.

“I see the power of online, which is why we spend a lot of our marketing dollars on digital marketing. We are still a new brand, so we are spending more online to build our base. It’s the best time to ramp up our online presence,” ​said Yee.

He added that focusing on online efforts may well be the brand’s long-term strategy for growth.

“Consumer behaviour will change drastically because of the virus. For example, as more and more people are forced to work from home, they may realise they can work effectively from home. In the aftermath, the conventional office may no longer play as significant a role anymore.”

Similarly, beauty companies large and small may no longer view brick and mortar stores the same way.

“The retail sector is going to get tougher especially after this. Will it be like in the past where brands will have a hundred store across the country? No. Going forward, the goal would be to optimise,” ​said Yee.

He elaborated that physical retail stores would remain important for brands, but their function would change.

“Ultimately, cosmetics are still something you need to feel. Stores in the future will focus more on experiences. I see the big brands cutting down on their shops and shifting more of their efforts online. For smaller brands, they will remain predominantly online with one or two key stores where people can experience the product.”

Yee believes the ideal for small brands like Rock & Herb would be to have an omnichannel approach. This would consist of its online platform and two stores – one catering to locals and another for tourists.

“It’s all about balance in the long term,” ​he said.

Currently, the brand is currently in talks to find an offline retail partner but does not have a firm timeline to make it happen considering the situation.

According to Yee, the firm has no plans to work with third-party e-commerce platforms as it wishes to control its band story and the information it puts out.

“We feel that the brand would just get lost among the hundreds of brands and storytelling is key for a small brand.”

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