As seasoned creatives, we’ve all sat in that briefing meeting. The one where you’re entrusted with launching an iconic jewel-in-the-crown brand into a new market. Its existing cult status adding excitement and trepidation to the room in equal measures. The frequent assumption? That ‘cult status’ can be copied and pasted into a new market. The reality? Whilst leveraging a brand’s huge success in another market can undoubtedly be used as a springboard, you must always start from a point of localisation. Fresh from launching Hero, the iconic leading acne skin care patch in the US, into the UK market, here I share re:act’s top learnings.
We always start with the key question: Is it actually ‘cult’?
‘Cult’ is ironically talked about so much in marketing that it has lost any cult status it once had. For cult brands, at their core, have a small number of devoted consumers. The ones whose loyalty you can count on for life. A brand with an unflappable identity that won’t sway with the changing tides of consumer preference. Cult knows what it is, and cult isn’t changing. But there’s inevitably a point where this niche following spills into mass. And it’s knowing which side of this definition your brand sits on that impacts your strategies.
How much are you willing to risk losing cult for the love of the masses? Or can a ‘cult mass brand’ be a thing? Loyalty equals sales after all, with consumers who engage with a brand on social media on a daily basis making twice as many purchases as someone engaging only monthly. So cult matters.
What drives success of a cult brand is often the presence (or lack) of competitors. Knowing how seasoned your consumers are in terms of that specific brand offering is everything. Did cult status grow from a unique product offering, or a unique product positioning? Are you now launching into a market with a plethora of me-too products? With market maturity comes consumer awareness. Do you need to dial up education with the new market launch, or instead focus on point of difference to stand out from the crowd?
Seeing is believing
Consumer cynicism abounds in all markets, but it’s to what extent your consumer needs convincing of the efficacy of your product that you need to be drilling into. Hero, the leading acne skin patch brand in the US, knows this only too well. Hailing from the beauty powerhouse of South Korea and recently launched in the UK, #koreanskincare has over 2.2 billion views on TikTok alone. Its smart ‘Peel and Reveal’ social mechanic, encouraging consumers and influencers alike to share content of their acne patch being removed, has tapped in the ASMR intrigue that is taking social by storm. And it’s an insight that – so far – is crossing boarders. ‘Seeing is believing’ seems to be a universal demand from Gen Z.
Go where your consumer is
Social strategies can never be copied and pasted across markets. They come from a place of absolute localisation from a variety of data points, including social listening and UK survey data, to specific interviews with the target audience. And the same applies to localised influencers. Defining influencer relevance naturally takes you to a space of content authenticity, which is key to building trust and developing your strong consumer following.
Relevance over reach
When it comes to Gen Z brands, building your social community authentically in your new market via harnessing trend-led content is paramount. As similar as markets can appear on a surface level, what trends in the US, for example, doesn’t necessarily resonate in the UK. Content creators need to be mined for their credibility and authenticity at a local level, ensuring they are already resonating with your ‘bullseye’ audience in a genuine way.
The mantra of the day when converting to a new market is: relevance is more importance than reach. Put your consumer’s needs first. As the UK’s No.1 dry shampoo brand, consumers love the Batiste Original Dry Shampoo format, but hop over to the US and interstate flying makes travel-sized/TSA viable formats a much bigger opportunity. Let your insights lead you.
Are you having a laugh?
Humour. One of the most powerful ways to build affinity with a brand, but also one of the easiest things to get wrong. To understand a culture is to understand what makes them laugh. So – broadly speaking – if part of that brand’s cult status relied on humour in any way, see if that same content will also be met with a wry smile or an eye roll in the new market. British humour, specifically, has a dryness and irreverence that can be wildly misconstrued when applied to other markets. Test that creative with multiple audiences before rolling out, to make sure you’re hitting the mark.
Creative content agency re:act manages the always-on content, organic and paid, for a raft of renowned UK lifestyle and wellness brands, allowing the agency to understand the audience’s needs in detail.
Tom Stone, managing partner at re:act, comments: “As a creative content agency, for us to hit the hearts and minds of consumers, we need to be hypersensitive to local market nuances. When bringing iconic brands into a new market, the worst thing you can do is assume a copy-and-paste approach. Whilst there will always be strategic similarities, it’s in the differences that we often find the richest insights. We like to think we know our client’s audiences better than anyone else.”
Sonila Troka, director of UK marketing at Church and Dwight, who is leading on the launch of Hero into the UK market, comments: “We chose re:act as our lead partner to launch into the UK from a social and digital perspective. There’s always pressure bringing such an iconic brand into a new market, but digging deep into consumer data to appreciate the UK consumer’s attitudes towards acne skin patches, and skincare as a whole, has resulted in a laser-focused social-first marketing campaign. We gained 4,000 followers in just two weeks, with over 1.1m views of launch countdown content. We’re so excited to watch Hero take the UK by storm.”
Tom Stone is managing partner of re:act.
Creating moments that matter for your consumer is key to generating digital penetration for your brand. For localised creative content that cuts through to your desired Bullseye, at any point of the digital ecosystem, visit re:act.