#15 4 Key Strategies for Launching in the North American Market Amid a Crisis

Global marketing agency serving Korean and Asian market expansion

How a K-Cosmeceutical Company Maximized Its Brand Value  

In the midst of a global crisis, the US arm of a Korean cosmeceutical company officially launched in the US market. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many companies to pause plans, but we adapted the SMB’s US market entry strategy to proceed with a new product launch. Despite intense competition and economic crisis, this SMB is a leader of the beauty industry in Korea, and was able to successfully enter the US market through maximizing its brand value.

The influencers and industry leaders supported the company’s mission “to change the way the world feels about skin care” and gave positive reviews of the product. What makes the product different is its strong research and development, effective ingredients, and technology. A successful brand launch would not have been possible if the company was only focusing on sales instead of growing into a high-end brand. 

Although it is not the biggest player in its home country, the company, which has won several awards for its high-functional product line, is a well-known cosmetics company overseas. Its entry into the US market was not easy. In particular, there is intensifying competition due to big brands in the K-beauty industry aggressively diversifying and coming from Korea many pharmaceutical companies are expanding their new cosmetics businesses. Plus the economic crisis due to COVID-19 causes a significant burden for small and medium-sized companies to enter the North American market.

Here are four key factors to how this cosmeceutical SMB was able to successfully launch in the US market amid the economic crisis. 

First, strategic insight is the key to seeing opportunities in crisis.

In the face of growing public opinion that injection-type skin care methods, which can be artificial and dangerous, cause many side effects, natural skin care is a subject of interest to everyone. In particular, the excellence of the company’s core products, which can provide professional-type results at home despite being in a situation where they cannot rely on dermatology or external professional skin care services during the COVID-19 crisis, has been essential. 

In this process, a branding strategy that can accurately identify local needs and highlight aspects of solving problems, and the execution ability based on excellent communication skills are very important. During the pre-testing period, the company received a very positive evaluation of the core performance of its products from industry experts, so it was able to launch aggressive marketing of home care products.  

Second, follow an airplane-like market launching approach, but focus on targeting local minds.

The most unfortunate thing about global marketing is its haste. The hasty pursuit of sales will make it impossible to strategically drive the market and end up as a temporary initial sale (which may be one of the biggest causes of failure in launching the US market). If you approach your market launch by placing the priority on forming a connection with local buyers, sales will follow. An airplane-like market approach is slow, but gradually has a powerful exit—like a plane as it takes off from the runway before it flies in the sky—this strategy should allow enough time for the market to gain momentum, thus creating a need for products and creating a connection.

Third, don’t do a “sales approach,” do “positioning with professional leadership and knowledge ” to create genuine long term value

Even when using social media, the sales approach is difficult. Even before its launch, the company had already chosen to build trust and communicate through active communication with buyers, which was implemented in the North American market branding strategy. For entering the US market, a balance of logic and emotional approaches are required to prove the nature of the product.

Without the solid support of industries, a successful expansion of the company’s market amid the COVID-19 crisis might not have been possible. It is important to take full advantage of the leadership approach that can be recognized for its expertise before sales. In the North American market, brand leadership is the safest shortcut to securing sales. The company has not yet formally introduced the new product, but there are already a number of inquiries and orders from local customers to pre-order because the company is sharing its professional knowledge and creating a community that sees the value in its initiatives to educate consumers about healthier options for skin care. 

Fourth, lead the company’s value and market with branding power.

There is no one who does not know the power of branding. However, there seems to be a surprisingly large number of corporate representatives who do not recognize exactly how difficult the effort for branding is. The value of a brand is priceless. However, building branding takes a long time, so it is important to maintain a balance between short-term and long-term strategies. This SMB started with the most basic task of evaluation by local influencers to build branding in the North American market, and secured positive reviews and support from market-moving influencers based on product excellence and open communication. Branding is key and successfully built on trust and sincerity.

A successful US market entry by small and medium-sized Korean companies in the midst of a crisis can be a source of hope and inspiration for other Korean companies. There is infinite potential for companies to achieve big things when they stop solely focusing on sales results.