We would like to explore…to better understand their needs and wants when buying beauty brands
Methodology: Interviewed 14 Thai females aged 15-24 in the city center of Bangkok Supported by secondary research
To Thais, what is beautiful? Is the media perpetrating the beauty ideal? How has it impacted the people? Why is beauty so important? What do youth consumers want to gain from beauty products and fashion brands? What are the implications on strategies for communication?
Background on the study Scope Sensing investigation exercise We would like to explore… Methodology (interviews and secondary research) interviewed number of thai youth in central area about how they perceive beauty
In bangkok, specifically, you will notice immediately that there are images of beautiful people everywhere. It’s impossible to escape - they’re on billboards, promoting beauty products, in tv commercials, magazines and movies
Walk along the streets in the city and you will find aesthetic clinics and cosmetic stores promising quick fixes for beauty. They are everywhere – shopping malls, by the road and even at BTS stations.
In comparison, for example in Singapore, most aesthetic clinics are located in specific high end malls in the city which are known to be beauty-centered.
And it’ s not just aesthetic clinics. In the past decade, Thailand has positioned itself as a destination for medical tourism, especially for low-cost cosmetic procedures. Here, cosmetic surgery generates 20 billion baht annually in revenue. In Thailand, being beautiful is a big business.
But what does it actually mean to be beautiful in Thailand? This was the first question that needed to be answered.
The answer seemed to be – fair skin, a high nose bridge, and big eyes – sharp features, basically. I found this from my interviews with Thai youth. Also, as secondary research, I found a study done by various American univerisities which revealed the same thing. But throughout Thailand’s regions, there was some variation of perception.
The study found that women in different regions different importance on different attributes. When the results were compared between regions, it was found that women in the North placed the most importance on facial skin (bright face skin). Women in the Central region placed the most importance on body weight and shape. Women in the Northeast placed the most importance on facial features (oval face, big eyes, and high nose bridge) Women in the South placed the most importance on body skin color (white or white pink [body] skin). This might be because of the differences in the way people themselves look in different regions. But overall, fair skin was the most important feature.
In Thailand, fair skin is a fixation, as can be seen from the advertisements. The whiter and paler your skin, the better. This is in contrast to western countries where tanned skin is the ideal. Why is this so?
In Thai culture, dark skin was representative of poverty and working class status because in the past, it meant you had to work in the sun all day.
Whereas wite skin is viewed as representative of wealth, comfort and upper class status. But is this still true?
Because today, this might no longer be as true as there are many products available on the market that are able to lighten your skin.
Still, fair skin has become the present beauty ideal, reinforced by the media. The vast majority of models in advertisements and celebrities have very fair skin. Which leads to the question…
…is the media perpetuating the beauty ideal? How much influence does the media actually have on shaping what people think is beautiful? Let’s take a look at some forms of the media and their impact.
This is a quote by one of our interviewees. She said “The media has a big impact on how we perceive beauty. When the media is out there, consumers just take it in. It’s about following the crowd.” She is a female journalist that I interviewed at Centralworld, where she was covering the Bangkok Fashion Show. It was lucky to have an interviewee that fit both the target group of our study, and was also employed in the media, because she is able to see things from both perspectives. As a journalist, she acknowledged the big influence that the media has on public perception and trends.
In Thailand, there are magazines that contain information solely about cosmetic procedures, plastic surgery, and cosmetics, that tell you what products will make you beautiful. It shows you what else you need to change about your body, what products you need to put on your face, and it seems like what you have to do is never-ending. Magazines like this put pressure on people to follow the latest and best beauty fixes. Which is also related to…
The mass influence of the media. In Bangkok, media advertising for beauty is very prevalent and visible. There are always new trends to follow. Thai youth tend to like to follow trends and to fit in, and enjoy belonging in a group. As with many Asian countries, it seems that the emphasis is still to place the community over the individual.
And it’s not just Thai media that has an influence on people. Foreign media also brings in cultural influences. For example, Korean culture and K-pop has become very popular in recent years. Korean idols are known for being good looking. Incidentally, Korea has the highest rate of plastic surgery per capita in the world, with one in five women having had plastic surgery. In K-pop, it is a requirement to look good. This associates a link between good looks and fame and wealth.
So what is the message that the media is sending? It is that, with beauty comes success, acceptance, wealth and power, and that this beauty can be achieved through the purchase of products or cosmetic enhancements.
And that beauty is no longer a privilege you are born with, but something that can be bought.
Has the media created a higher standard of beauty for people to live up to/is there increased pressure to be beautiful?
The high visibility of the media leads the people becoming accustomed to seeing a certain type and standard of beauty, which is touted as the ideal.
This affects people as they feel they are not beautiful if they do not fit into the narrow ideal. Narrow ideal of beauty, which everyone is trying to fit into despite what natural features they were born with
A survey found that 1 in 3 Thai youth intend to use diet pills or cosmetic surgery to get the ‘ideal beauty’. This shows that Thai youth are willing to take big steps in order to attain beauty. They will buy beauty products, undergo aesthetic procedures and even plastic surgery. Which leads to the question…
What do thai youth consumers want to gain from buying brands? First, we will look at some characteristics of Thai youth.
Thai youth are price conscious - might be the same internationally Youth tend to be students Do not have as much disposable income Price is a big factor when making purchases
As I mentioned earlier, they like to follow the crowd
like to be seen as trendy
Preferences are heavily influenced by their peers
That tell them beauty is attainable. Like the idea that looks can be improved…no matter what you are born with
And finally, they also see appearance as a reflection of status Hence, they buy products that reflect how they see themselves
So, what do thai youth consumers want to gain from buying brands? What makes them pick one brand over another?
Firstly, they buy a beauty product if they believe that the brand will improve their looks the most. The brand gets across the message that its products are effective and will most help them become beautiful
They also buy brands if they are in line with trends or popular amongst their peers. In the beauty market, this could mean they prefer the brand because they are quick to pick up on new beauty trends or innovations and incorporate them into their products.
And lastly, if the brand helps them achieve an image of wealth and status. In general, this might mean buying luxury or designer products for the brand name. But in the context of the beauty market, what I mean by this is that they would buy products to change their appearance and help them further fit the beauty ideal, which is associated with wealth and status.
So what are the implications of the findings on communication strategies?
Firstly, recommendation is create a community and movement, long-term campaigns will be more effective. Primary aim should be to change perception and create a following, not just increase sales. This is to tap into how Thai youth like to be part of a group. Creating a campaign will make them feel involved and a part of bigger movement.
Consistent brand image and message Not about the product, but to associate the brand with a certain image Ray-bans are popular because they’re cool, young and luxurious
utilize social media, encourage interaction with the brand and their social circle; recommending products to friends Social media allows brands to connect with consumers on a more personal level Friends are also likely to influence each others opinions, and making consumers feel engaged, encourages them to recommend the brand or products to their friends
Mcdonald’s singapore facebook page E coupons that people can download on to their smartphones and show at the counter to redeem the offer Takes advantage of Singapore’s high smartphone penetration rate and 3G usage Consumers can easily share the e-coupons with their friends Using social media makes it easy for brands to reach out to consumers and their social circles
utilize known sources to advertise the product that they already identify with and trust, and are seen as cool: e.g. bloggers, celebrity endorsements. If the message comes from a trusted source, they are more likely to accept the product. This will make them relate more to the brand and feel more like the brand connects with their own identity.
Chevrolet Colorado was introduced to Thailand Rural Thai people could not relate to the brand’s advertising or American history or pronounce its name Partnered Nok Noi, the most popular Thai country brand Composed a song ‘bring out the best’ which was composed to help rural thai folk learn and remember the Colorado, and correctly pronounce its name. Nok Noi performed the song on a tour of more than 200 concerts The Colorado’s market share grew 237% This shows how using a trusted source to convey an ad message can greatly help to change perception
Garnier Light whitening moisturiser Each box came with a ‘fairness ruler’ that allowed you to measure your skin tone and compare the difference before and after Allowing consumers to see results for themselves builds trust in the brand and its products More likely to make future purchases from the brand
Here are the 4Cs in terms of beauty brands
Currency – successful beauty brands establish and maintain a relationship based on trust. Consumers buy and continue purchasing their products because they know that they are effective and are to a satisfactory standard. Conversation – they should also be aware of what their consumers want and keep up with consumer preferences and changing beauty trends Content – hence it is also important that brands be aware of what consumers think is beautiful, what their ideal appearance is and what they want to gain from using beauty products Community – finally, they should build social communities in order to engage their consumers and make them feel part of a likeminded group
Summary highlight the importance of appearance (the last page…)
Summary highlight the importance of appearance (the last page…)
A PERSONAL LOOK AT CONSUMER BEHAVIOR
IN THE THAI BEAUTY MARKET
exercise to examine "
the perception of beauty
amongst Thai female
Thai female youth’s idea of beauty, inﬂuences,
and better understand their needs and wants
when buying beauty brands
What is the impact
of the media on
Thai youth and
their perception of
Interviewed 14 Thai females aged
15-24 in the city center of Bangkok
Positioning your brand to
serve and empower people
through a useful exchange
Start, foster or develop
people & with my brand
Entertain, inform and enable
sharing to build an emotional
bond with your brand
Build, join and nurture
4C’S FOR BEAUTY BRANDS
• Trust • New beauty products/
• Definition of beauty
• What beauty gives
• Interactive social
Beauty brands should bring consumers success, acceptance, wealth and
To Thai female youth
Physical appearance is very important
Media connects beauty to success, acceptance, wealth
People believe that anyone can, and should, improve
Pressure from media and peers to look beautiful
Higher and exclusive standard of beauty
Only small percentage naturally fit the beauty ideal
Others resort to drastic measures to be seen as beautiful
by other Thais
The question is…
How is this narrow beauty ideal impacting
how Thai youth see themselves?