Innisfree is a South Korean cosmetics and skincare brand owned by AmorePacific Corporation, focusing on providing natural and environmentally friendly beauty products to females between 18-25 years. While no financial results are available, Innisfree Singapore’s strong growth over the years can be inferred from its rapid store expansion, especially given the exorbitant rental rates in Singapore shopping centres (Heng, Singh, & Kua, 2016). Indeed, Euromonitor International reports (2016) affirm that the Korean beauty wave, and in particular the offering of natural products, looks set to remain major driver of the growth of the beauty and skincare industry in Singapore.
As such, Innisfree Singapore’s business goal would likely be to maintain a strong presence in Singapore. This leads to our research question, which is: How can Innisfree Singapore continue to maintain a sustainable revenue through better use of social media? Currently, Innisfree Singapore uses social media to promote brand awareness. Their all-natural Korean image is strong, as evidenced through comparison with the social media accounts of other Korean beauty brands in Singapore. Given Innisfree Singapore’s 80k of followers on Facebook and the rapid store expansion, they have done well in that respect. Innisfree is now ready to take its social media strategy to the next level, which is to add value to the company. Our proposed strategy are as follows:
Objective #1: Expanding its current target audience to include potential male consumers between 20 and 35 years old, as more Singaporean men within this age bracket are becoming beauty-conscious (Heng, 2016) and the Korean wave continues to support this trend of redefining traditional norms of masculine grooming (Tee, 2016).
Strategy: It has been shown that men are more likely to rely on social media and search engines when shopping (Honigman, 2013). Specific to skincare shopping, some men have also turned to male celebrities for inspiration on how to groom themselves (Heng, 2016).Therefore, Innisfree can feature brand ambassador Lee Min Ho advertising the men’s skincare range – Forest For Men, complete with captions on product information and benefits. Sponsored posts may be used in order to reach out to the Facebook community. Following the posts on products, like and share giveaways can then be conducted. In view that men hardly post on social media, these contests will involve female followers tagging their male friends on why he deserves to be pampered with Innisfree men’s skincare range. The hashtag #ForestForMen will be used for all the posts related to the men’s skincare range, so as to create more awareness and a distinct difference from the ladies’ products.
Objective #2: Increasing engagement levels with current customers, as increasing engagement levels to build a strong brand community would go a long way in increased product experimentation (Euromonitor, 2016) and thereby ensuring the sustainability of sales.
Strategy: Engagement is most effective through face-to-face contact, via roadshows and events held. Effective usage of social media through media richness, can amplify the audience reach of such events by enabling those who could not make it to the event, to vicariously experience the event. Based on a case study of Laneige’s Beauty Road event, Innisfree can similarly utilise the 3M framework to have effective event-related social media postings before, during, and after the event.
Before the event: Like-and-share contests, requiring followers to share these online posters with their friends in order to win exclusive event merchandise. This will tap on the ‘Monitor’ element, whereby Innisfree can monitor to see what people are saying about the event, even before the event commences.
During the event: On Instagram, Innisfree can use the ‘Magnet’ approach in the following way: Roadshows and events generally would have photo booths and product giveaways. These photo booths are often very popular, with users posing at these photo booths and uploading photos to their personal social media account. Simultaneously, product samples are distributed freely without any meaningful customer interaction — Customers merely have to queue for the product. With the ‘Magnet’ approach, Innisfree can require customers to post photos of themselves at the photo booths, complete with the event hashtag, in order to redeem the free product. This interaction would be much more meaningful to both Innisfree and the consumer, thereby creating engagement in real life and in the virtual space.
After the event: After the event, Innisfree can use the ‘Monitor’ approach to follow-up in engaging consumers. For example, they can run a contest whereby consumers post make-up video tutorials on Youtube of their favourite Innisfree products launched at the event, and stand a chance to win a hamper of that product line. This will get consumers to actually think about what they enjoyed most at the event, and which product they would continue to use post-event. In that way, Innisfree will be subtly building a strong brand community.
To that end, both our social media strategies work in tandem to convey the message that Innisfree is not just a beauty brand, but a community where both the current and proposed target audiences – female and male consumers, want to belong in as their needs are met. Our strategies have also taken into account the limitations of the strategies, such as the extensive work required. However, given that Laneige is a sister entity of Innisfree in the AmorePacific Group, an internal secondment of social media staff or mentoring program between Laneige and Innisfree social media staff can be arranged so Innisfree can implement the social media strategies in the most efficient way.
While Innisfree Singapore has been performing relatively well over the past few years, the proposed social media strategies are aimed at value adding by fulfilling the main objectives of (1) expanding Innisfree Singapore’s current target audience to include potential male consumers and (2) increasing engagement levels with its current consumers and thus building a strong brand community that is loyal to Innisfree. Ultimately, Innisfree Singapore’s consumer base would be widened and its consumers would resonate with the brand on a deeper level, therefore translating into increased sales.