The face of advertising has transformed to suit the needs of the new beauty consumer. Where once the conscious beauty buyer would seek out expertise at a counter or storefront, they now turn to the mobile platform to browse products, receive automated assistance, and ultimately, know well ahead of time exactly what they want. Additionally, they spend hours leafing through the digital pages of their favorite local celebrities and influencers, who have far greater impact on them than Western or global faces in a magazine. Social media acts as a relatively easy way to invite buyers into the look-but-don’t-touch life of a long-cherished celebrity, influencer, or brand personality and by now, the line between influencer and celebrity is blurry at best.
In order to successfully transition into the local K-Beauty sector, global beauty brands would benefit from utilizing mobile-first methods toward their audience, 99% of which are logged on to local messaging app, Kakaotalk. This includes swapping out Western icons with local influencers, a tactic best proved by the underwhelming share of interactions that content featuring Kendall Jenner on Estee Lauder’s Facebook page garnered in August and September of 2016. On the other hand, a single selfie of local celebrity Sulli wearing the brand’s lipstick generated nearly three times that amount, eventually prompting the lipstick name to appear automatically alongside the celebrity’s name in search engines. By repurposing and reposting content to depict local celebrities, global brands not only amplify their local appeal, but expand their product reach through the power of association.