As the first iteration of its strategy to provide relevance in local markets, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics has named Korean model and actress Claudia Kim to represent the brand in Asia. It marks the first time the brand has appointed a face for one market rather than globally.
The brand plans to officially announce Kim’s signing in Seoul on Monday. Kate Upton remains the brand’s face in other markets.
The move to an evolving high-touch model has long been a favored strategy with Fabrizio Freda, president and chief executive officer of Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., which owns the Bobbi Brown brand. Reinforcing the importance of the Asian consumer, sister brand Estée Lauder recently signed English actress Gabriella Wilde as the face of its White Crescent skin care range, which will launch in Asia in February 2015.
As Asia is Bobbi Brown’s largest market outside of the U.S. — about 35 percent of the brand’s global business, estimated by industry sources as about $1 billion, is done there, compared with the U.S.’s 40 percent — it was the first place Maureen Case, president of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, wanted to implement the strategy.
The remaining 25 percent of Bobbi Brown’s overall business is done in the U.K. and Europe, said Case, who believes part of the brand’s appeal in Asia is due to the brand’s inclusive, “be who you are” positioning.
“We’re less prescribed than some of the other Western makeup brands in this space,” she noted. “We’re about maximizing what you’ve got — and in Asia, particularly in Korea. The current Korean beauty trends share many similarities with Bobbi’s philosophy: natural makeup that focuses on glowing skin.
“Kate Upton remains our global face, but we also want to provide regional relevancy in our global markets,” Case continued. “Consumers in, say, Korea or India may look at images of Kate and say, ‘she’s beautiful, but how does the look translate for me?’
As well, this strategy allows us to identify local celebrities in various markets and provide consumers in those markets with a face that mirrors their own attributes. For instance, in Asia, particularly in Korea, women want their skin to look glowing and perfect, but they don’t want to look like they’re wearing foundation.”
Case noted that the brand is currently identifying candidates for a similar role to Kim’s in South Africa, and the Middle East and India are likely to follow.
“We want a deck of cards we can play around the world, both global and regional influencers,” Case said.
The brand will underline this strategy later this month in Korea with a comprehensive digital campaign, the centerpiece of which is a series of how-to videos Kim will star in, noted Emmanuelle Vernet, vice president and Asia Pacific general manager for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.
Kim will also be featured in on-counter visuals, a TV spot and a print advertising campaign.
“By focusing on service and teaching, Bobbi Brown empowers women to look like themselves, only prettier,” said Vernet, noting that the lessons will also appear in printed branded collateral pieces and step-by-step images.
“Asian women will be able to confidently recreate the looks Claudia demonstrates on themselves.” The campaign will begin running on Monday and be exclusive to Korea through June. In July, it will begin rolling out to additional Asia Pacific markets.
Kim’s next movie is “The Avengers 2,” due out in May.