How a K-beauty start-up grew its business by 80% with the help of video commerce

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Grafen is expanding its presence in SEA after successfully growing its presences in Korea with the help of video commerce. ©Grafen
Grafen is expanding its presence in SEA after successfully growing its presences in Korea with the help of video commerce. ©Grafen
South Korean male beauty brand Grafen is expanding its presence in SEA after successfully growing its presences in Korea with the help of video commerce.

With its marketing savvy, the brand managed to grow by 80% from 2017 to 2018.

“We didn’t become a well-known brand in a day. It took more than seven or eight years since we started the brand,”​ said Jeff Yoon, the brand’s senior marketing director.

Yoon said the firm was very aware that they had to focus on building up brand awareness from the start.

“The conventional way of doing business is to go through a franchise or a wholesaler, but we has a different approach of going online first. But we did not focus on just selling products. We wanted to build the brand name in Korea.”

He added that the company built up its name by using social media marketing to target younger consumers.

“We noticed that the younger generation of consumers were beginning to pay more attention to their looks and we used social media marketing methods to reach out to them.”

Yoon expressed that the advantage of social media marketing was its ability to transcend the limitations of time.

“There’s no day and night on social media, so we were able to work all day and all night as well.”

The hard work of building up brand awareness paid off for the company.

“After we became well-known online, we entered franchises like Olive Young and Watsons… and they came to us,” ​said Yoon.

Harnessing power of video

However, Yoon said Grafen exploded when the company began filming short videos about its products for its social network channels.

“We started the video commerce method just two years ago and it was a real turning point for us.”

Yoon elaborated that the company recognised there were limitations to showcasing its products in more conventional ways.

“We couldn’t expect consumers to come to our website to read about our products anymore. It’s not enough, not today. People don’t pay much attention and they don’t want to waste their time reading articles on all our products.”

To capture consumers’ short attention spans, the firm decided to tell its story through videos.

“Even a 10 or 20 second video is enough to help our consumers understand the function and efficacy of our products. We usually try to put in all the messages we want to deliver to our consumers.”

This marketing method has proven so successful for the brand, the company has hired an in-house team to churn out content.

SEA expansion in the works

This year, the company will be focused on expanding its presence into South East Asia.

Mainly, the company is focused on Singapore but it is also looking into Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, said Yoon.

Yoon expressed confidence in the male grooming market in SEA, stating that it was currently in a similar position as South Korea was before.

“In South Korea, the younger consumers started to pay more attention to their looks, so the market grew very fast. We believe the same thing will happen in SEA countries.”

However, Yoon stressed the company does not plan to focus on men’s grooming.

He revealed the company planned to launch two new brands targeted at women: JULYME and BEQUE.

JULYME will include skin, hair and body care products, while BEQUE will focus on colour cosmetics.

Yoon said the company would continue to use its video commerce marketing method to launch the two brands in Korea and in SEA.

“We have a proven track record. We know how to introduce products into market. The idea is to take our successful video commerce model and bring it to SEA.”  

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