Cross-cultural Consumer Perceptions for Natural Skincare: Designing strategic branding for a Finish born-global natural skincare company to enter Denmark and Korea

Johanna Elisabeth Suortti & Yujin Jin

Student thesis: Master thesis


This study yields an interest from the rising global trend in consumer preferences for natural skincare products. As trends are essentially commercialized by western marketers, this study exhibits an empirical inquiry into cross-cultural consumer perceptions for the category in two distinctive countries, Denmark and
South Korea. An in-depth understanding of consumer perceptions is used to reflect upon the dialectics of global and local influences to consumer cultures and further used to discuss global branding. A Finnish bornglobal natural skincare brand, Supermood, is used as a case to provide managerial insights into branding for born-globals seeking to leverage the trend. Inspired by the Supermood value proposition, the study seeks to demonstrate how the Finnish country-of-origin (COO) appeal may be used in global branding in the category.
The design of the study, as focused on unraveling consumer perceptions for natural skincare and the Finnish COO, is inspired by the triangulation of quantitative data gathering through online surveys and a qualitative
method of focus group interviews. All participants for both methods are 18-35-year-old female from Denmark and Korea. Combined with literature regarding consumer and cultural studies, natural product marketing and global branding, this study explores consumer perceptions, values, and along with COO appeal.
The results address that the rising trend of natural skincare category is essentially a by-product of Postmaterialism. Consumer individualism in decision-making, personal health, and concern for the environment are reflected in consumer perception and practice in both countries. Hence, the study finds prevailing differences in the level of socio-cultural contexts as related to the meaning of natural skincare, relevant information sources, and product usage values. Given the results, the study acknowledges the existence of a globally transcending consumer segment for young female natural skincare consumers in Denmark and Korea. The cultural pluralism appears to be in line with the existing research paradigm for global consumer cultures to some degree. Moreover, the study finds the Finish COO appeal to be relatively more appealing in Korea than in Denmark. Hence, differences in perceptions concern that the use of Finnish
COO appeal is not supported to be used standardized in the two markets.
This study proposes that Supermood should focus on creating a strong global brand with a glocalized strategy, essentially by imposing standardized products, pricing, and visual image, yet with localized distribution choices and communications. The communications approach, as is argued to impose challenges for resourcescarce born-global, is proposed to be done by a local sensitivity, combining push- and pull- channels as the strategy to enter Denmark and Korea successfully.

EducationsMaster of Business, Language and Culture, Intercultural Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages141
SupervisorsFumiko Kano Gl├╝ckstad