Beauty Store Business

AUG 2019

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22 August 2019 | "Any organization with plans to go global needs to ensure it is building upon a solid oundation grounded in research and insights," says Howard Belk, co-CEO and chie creative oicer o global strategic branding irm Siegel+Gale. "Research has to include more than basic brand metrics like awareness, recognition and understanding. You really have to understand how people make choices in dierent parts o the world, based on dierent value systems. Mapping your audience's decision-making process is central to how you present your story in culturally relevant ways." Below are several questions brands should answer beore embarking on global expansion. What is the purpose o your expansion? Are you looking to secure greater market share? Will tapping other markets help balance the seasonal luctuations o your domestic business? It's important to develop a strong understanding o what you plan to gain by expanding into a oreign market. This knowledge will help you withstand the challenges you're sure to encounter. "It takes double to triple the energy you put into your brand to expand it into other countries," says Jin Choi, president o styling tools manuacturer Izutech. "You're dealing with language, culture and distribution that you're not amiliar with. Make sure you have enough resources or assurances that you really need to get into that country." Belk concurs, adding that businesses must survey the competitive and cultural landscape o the country rom the outset. "There may be regulatory barriers that make it impossible or you to sell your proposition. It's also possible that what you do is so ar aield o cultural norms in a particular market that the proverbial squeeze isn't worth the juice; especially when you consider the resources–both capital and human–it takes to break into new markets," he explains. "Ask yoursel simple and clear questions about how steep the climb will be. And be very clear about the investments needed to break through, your expected returns and your long-term commitment to get there."• What is the country's idea o beauty? You're selling beauty. But beauty isn't the same everywhere. So, it's important to know their beauty expectations to help gauge your brand's chances o success. "[This helps you know whether] what you have in the product may inluence or enhance their beauty," adds Choi. Is there oreign demand or your product? Are there consumers outside o your domestic territory looking or what you're oering? Are they amiliar with your product? "The biggest myth is that you can just take what works at home and rinse and repeat in additional countries. History is ull o brand disasters where more than the tagline was lost in translation," says Belk. Businesses cannot think o new countries as outposts i they want to build the brand globally, he explains. "Cultural missteps can cost a company millions in sales and cause signiicant reputational damage." For Izutech, expansion was a no-brainer. When the eicacy o its ast-heating KTX450 LT Titanium 1.25 Inch lat iron spread by word o mouth to other countries, Choi knew it was time or expansion. The existing demand or his product in other countries gave him the assurance he needed to embark on expansion. However, demand and ability to penetrate a market doesn't promise long-term success. For example, the KTX450 Keratin Treatment Express lat iron was doing really well in Egypt, until the Egyptian government unexpectedly banned ormaldehyde, halting sales or the product, and consequently, reducing total product revenues. Can its relevance be eectively translated into the country's business standards and culture? "Even i the brand is relevant to the end consumer, the market–including distribution, pricing, trade terms, supply chain and business partners–can make or break the best brands," says Francesca Raminella, chie commercial oicer or JD Beauty Group, manuacturer o proessional beauty products. "The devil is in the details: ormulas, packaging rules, names, advertising and overall imagery. The best ideas will ail i execution is not lawless." She explains that even or the Wet Brush, which she reerred to as a simple solution to an everyday problem (brushing hair sans pain or damage), the concept still had to be sold. "Detangling was a word and concept that had to be expressed and explained in dierent ways in dierent countries. That educational part o the proposition had to be worked on and expanded." Belk tells brands to remember where they're going, not where they're rom. In other words, you've got to ocus on whether the product can be successul in another country, regardless o the success it's had in the United States. "Brand imagery must relect in-country perspectives on gender, privacy, overall social norms and historical context. Design is a critical piece o the puzzle; making assumptions on the design ront is perilous." He adds that it's important or brands to give attention to their graphic identity system, such as their logo, color palette and onts. "Many global companies have wisely created proprietary onts to set them apart and make them immediately recognizable in multiple languages and territories. Think about production standards and costs. Everything rom signage to photography, point-o-sale merchandising and delivery will need to be modiied depending on the market." How does the country adapt to change, trends and new oerings? Will it take months or years or your brand or product to be embraced? "Explore how they learn and adapt to new options," says Choi. "Asian countries are very dierent in the way they adapt: Japan and Korea are very dynamic, very quick to adopt new trends, while other countries are not." This research, in particular, will help set your expectations and can guide your strategy. Belk recommends that businesses think holistically about brand experiences, language and translation, the brand promise, proessional and contractual relationships, and the tools they need to make it work. "Respect the realities o the markets in which you hope to expand," he says. "While the world seems smaller, thanks to global connectivity and social media, your brand will still have to master a number o challenges, including tackling cultural divides and potentially unexpected resistance. It can get complicated quickly." Belk adds that another reality o the globalized market is that many emerging markets go digital rom the outset. "Not being mobile-irst is a one-way ticket to irrelevance. Build your brand or small-scale viewing o brand assets, messaging and communication strategies. It's how people relate to brands–and make purchases–in new markets," he explains. "Any organization with plans to go global needs to ensure it is building upon a solid oundation grounded in research and insights." –Howard Belk, Co-CEO and Chie Creative Oicer, Global Strategic Branding, Siegel+Gale

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