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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Global Expansion Strategy for Cosmetic Brand in Asian Markets


Fortune 500 companies typically bring on global consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture, or boutique consulting firms specializing in Hoshin Kanri to thoroughly analyze their unique business challenges and competitive situations. These firms provide strategic recommendations based on consulting frameworks, subject matter expertise, benchmark data, KPIs, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. We followed this management consulting approach for this case study.

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Consider this scenario: A renowned cosmetic brand facing stagnation in its traditional markets is looking to implement a hoshin kanri approach to navigate the complexities of expanding into the burgeoning Asian beauty market.

The brand has observed a 20% decline in year-over-year growth in its established markets, compounded by increasing competition and changing consumer behaviors. Internally, the organization struggles with innovation pace and supply chain adaptability, which are critical in the fast-evolving cosmetic industry. The primary strategic objective is to establish a significant presence in several key Asian markets, aiming to capture market share and reignite growth by adapting to local consumer preferences and leveraging digital channels.



The situation faced by the cosmetic brand highlights the necessity for a strategic pivot towards international expansion and digital transformation to counteract stagnation in its traditional markets. The underlying issues seem to stem from a failure to adapt quickly to market changes and consumer trends, as well as supply chain inflexibilities that limit the brand's ability to innovate and meet market demands efficiently.

External Analysis

The cosmetic industry is experiencing rapid growth in Asia, driven by increasing disposable income, a growing middle class, and a strong cultural emphasis on skincare and beauty. However, this market is also highly competitive and fragmented, with local brands offering products tailored to Asian consumers' specific needs.

We begin our analysis by examining the forces shaping the competitive landscape:

  • Internal Rivalry: High, with both global giants and local brands vying for consumer attention through innovation and digital marketing strategies.
  • Supplier Power: Moderate, as the reliance on specialized ingredients for skincare products gives some suppliers more leverage.
  • Buyer Power: High, due to the wide availability of information and alternatives, empowering consumers to make informed choices.
  • Threat of New Entrants: Medium, given the market's growth potential attracts new players, but brand loyalty and regulatory barriers present significant hurdles.
  • Threat of Substitutes: High, with traditional and natural beauty remedies posing a constant challenge to conventional cosmetic products.

Emergent trends include a shift towards digital engagement, a growing emphasis on clean beauty, and the rise of personalized skincare solutions. These trends suggest major changes in industry dynamics:

  • Increased digital engagement offers the opportunity to utilize e-commerce and social media platforms for direct-to-consumer sales, but also introduces the challenge of standing out in a crowded digital space.
  • The clean beauty movement presents a chance to capture a niche market focused on sustainability and health, though it requires reformulating products to meet these standards.
  • Personalization in skincare signifies a demand for products tailored to individual needs, offering an opportunity for differentiation but necessitating investments in technology and data analytics.

Learn more about Data Analytics Competitive Landscape External Analysis

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Internal Assessment

The brand boasts a strong global identity and a loyal customer base in its established markets but faces challenges in product innovation and supply chain agility, vital for success in the fast-paced Asian cosmetic market.

PEST Analysis reveals that political stability in key Asian markets presents an opportunity for expansion, while varying regulatory landscapes pose challenges for product compliance. Economic growth in these regions increases consumer spending power, but social trends towards sustainability and clean beauty necessitate a shift in product development strategies. Technological advancements offer new channels for customer engagement and e-commerce, yet require substantial investment to leverage effectively.

The McKinsey 7-S Analysis underscores that the brand's structure and strategy are well-aligned for global operations, but its systems, particularly in supply chain management, need modernization. Staff skills in digital marketing and e-commerce are also lacking, pointing to a need for focused training and recruitment.

RBV Analysis highlights the brand's strong brand equity and global presence as key resources. However, its capabilities in quickly adapting to market trends and efficiently managing its supply chain are areas requiring immediate attention to compete successfully in Asia.

Learn more about Supply Chain Management Supply Chain McKinsey 7-S

Strategic Initiatives

Based on the comprehensive understanding gained from the external analysis and internal assessment, management has decided to pursue the following strategic initiatives over the next 18 months :

  • Digital Transformation for Enhanced Customer Engagement: This initiative aims to overhaul the brand's digital presence, enhancing online shopping experiences and leveraging social media for direct engagement. The expected value comes from increased online sales and stronger brand loyalty. Resources needed include investments in e-commerce platforms, digital marketing expertise, and technology infrastructure.
  • Product Innovation and Localization: Tailoring product lines to meet the specific preferences and needs of Asian consumers, this initiative seeks to increase market relevance and capture new customers. The value creation lies in differentiating the brand in a competitive market, expected to drive revenue growth. It requires investment in R&D, local market research, and partnerships with local suppliers.
  • Hoshin Kanri for Strategic Alignment: Implementing a hoshin kanri process to ensure all levels of the organization are aligned with the strategic goals of Asian market penetration. This will enhance organizational focus and execution efficiency. The value lies in improved strategic coherence and operational effectiveness, requiring resources in strategic planning tools and training.

Learn more about Strategic Planning Market Research Hoshin Kanri

Hoshin Kanri Implementation KPIs

KPIS are crucial throughout the implementation process. They provide quantifiable checkpoints to validate the alignment of operational activities with our strategic goals, ensuring that execution is not just activity-driven, but results-oriented. Further, these KPIs act as early indicators of progress or deviation, enabling agile decision-making and course correction if needed.


What gets measured gets managed.
     – Peter Drucker

  • Online Sales Growth: Measures the success of digital transformation initiatives in driving e-commerce revenue.
  • Market Share in Target Asian Markets: Tracks the effectiveness of product localization and market entry strategies.
  • Employee Engagement Scores: Ensures the organization's alignment and commitment to the new strategic direction, vital for hoshin kanri success.

These KPIs offer insights into the effectiveness of strategic initiatives, highlighting areas of success and opportunities for course correction in real-time, ensuring strategic objectives are met.

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Hoshin Kanri Best Practices

To improve the effectiveness of implementation, we can leverage best practice documents in Hoshin Kanri. These resources below were developed by management consulting firms and Hoshin Kanri subject matter experts.

Hoshin Kanri Deliverables

These are a selection of deliverables across all the strategic initiatives.

  • Digital Transformation Roadmap (PPT)
  • Localized Product Development Plan (PPT)
  • Asian Market Entry Strategy Report (PPT)
  • Hoshin Kanri Implementation Framework (PPT)
  • Strategic KPI Dashboard Template (Excel)

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Digital Transformation for Enhanced Customer Engagement

To guide the digital transformation initiative, the organization adopted the Ansoff Matrix and the Value Chain Analysis. The Ansoff Matrix was instrumental in identifying growth strategies by mapping potential product-market combinations. This framework proved useful in determining the most viable digital channels and markets for expansion. The organization implemented the Ansoff Matrix as follows:

  • Evaluated current digital offerings against new market opportunities to identify gaps and areas for innovation.
  • Assessed the risk associated with each potential digital expansion strategy, prioritizing those with the highest potential for customer engagement and revenue growth.

Additionally, the Value Chain Analysis was employed to dissect the organization's activities and identify digital enhancements that could create value for customers. This analysis was pivotal in pinpointing inefficiencies and areas where digital technologies could streamline operations, enhance customer experience, and reduce costs. The implementation process included:

  • Mapping out the entire customer journey to identify touchpoints that could benefit from digitalization for a more seamless customer experience.
  • Investigating each primary and support activity in the value chain for digital improvement opportunities that could enhance efficiency and customer satisfaction.

The results from these frameworks were transformative. The organization successfully identified and launched several key digital initiatives, such as an enhanced e-commerce platform and a personalized customer engagement app. These initiatives led to a 30% increase in online sales and significantly improved customer satisfaction scores.

Learn more about Digital Transformation Customer Experience Customer Satisfaction

Product Innovation and Localization

For the product innovation and localization initiative, the organization utilized the Kano Model and the Diffusion of Innovations Theory. The Kano Model helped in understanding which features in the cosmetic products would delight customers in the new markets, distinguishing between basic, performance, and excitement factors. This framework was particularly useful in tailoring products to meet and exceed local consumer expectations. The Kano Model was applied in the following manner:

  • Analyzed customer feedback and market research to categorize product features according to the Kano Model’s classifications.
  • Developed prototypes incorporating identified excitement features and tested them in focus groups within the target Asian markets.

The Diffusion of Innovations Theory guided the organization in strategizing the rollout of these localized products. By understanding the categories of adopters, from innovators to laggards, the organization could tailor its marketing and distribution strategies effectively. The implementation steps included:

  • Segmenting the target market based on the adoption categories and designing targeted marketing campaigns for each segment.
  • Identifying key opinion leaders and innovators in the target markets to facilitate word-of-mouth and social proof, accelerating product adoption.

The successful application of the Kano Model and Diffusion of Innovations Theory led to the launch of several product lines that were well-received in the target markets, resulting in a 25% increase in market share within the first year and establishing a strong brand presence.

Learn more about Product Adoption

Hoshin Kanri for Strategic Alignment

The organization employed the Hoshin Kanri process and the Balanced Scorecard to ensure strategic alignment and execution of the Asian market penetration strategy. Hoshin Kanri facilitated a clear translation of strategic goals into actionable plans and objectives at all levels of the organization, ensuring that everyone was moving in the same direction. The deployment of Hoshin Kanri involved:

  • Defining strategic objectives for the Asian market expansion and breaking them down into specific, measurable goals for each department.
  • Conducting regular review sessions to monitor progress, address issues, and adjust plans as necessary to stay on track with the overarching strategic objectives.

Simultaneously, the Balanced Scorecard provided a framework for measuring organizational performance beyond traditional financial metrics, incorporating perspectives such as customer satisfaction, internal processes, and learning and growth. Implementing the Balanced Scorecard entailed:

  • Developing key performance indicators (KPIs) for each perspective of the Balanced Scorecard that aligned with the strategic objectives of the Asian market expansion.
  • Integrating these KPIs into the organization’s performance management system to monitor progress and drive strategic focus throughout the organization.

The integration of Hoshin Kanri and the Balanced Scorecard resulted in a highly focused and agile organization. Strategic objectives were met ahead of schedule, including achieving targeted market share and revenue growth in the Asian markets, and significantly improving operational efficiency and customer engagement.

Learn more about Performance Management Balanced Scorecard Agile

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Key Findings and Results

Here is a summary of the key results of this case study:

  • Increased online sales by 30% through the successful digital transformation and enhancement of the e-commerce platform.
  • Expanded market share in target Asian markets by 25% within the first year, establishing a strong brand presence.
  • Significantly improved customer satisfaction scores, reflecting the positive impact of digital initiatives and product localization.
  • Achieved targeted market share and revenue growth in Asian markets ahead of schedule, demonstrating effective strategic alignment and execution.
  • Enhanced operational efficiency and customer engagement, as evidenced by the integration of Hoshin Kanri and the Balanced Scorecard.

The results of the strategic initiatives undertaken by the cosmetic brand to penetrate the Asian market are commendable, particularly in achieving significant online sales growth and expanding market share. The 30% increase in online sales underscores the successful digital transformation, while the 25% growth in market share within the first year highlights the effectiveness of product innovation and localization strategies. These outcomes not only demonstrate the brand's ability to adapt to new market demands but also its capacity to leverage digital channels for growth. However, the report does not extensively cover the challenges encountered during implementation, such as potential cultural misalignments or operational hurdles, which are critical for a comprehensive understanding of the initiative's success. Moreover, while the strategic alignment and execution led to achieving targets ahead of schedule, the long-term sustainability of these results in the highly competitive and dynamic Asian cosmetic market remains uncertain. Alternative strategies, such as deeper collaborations with local partners or further investments in consumer behavior research, could have potentially enhanced outcomes by providing more nuanced insights into market needs and preferences.

Given the successful market entry and initial growth, the next steps should focus on consolidating the brand's presence in the Asian markets while ensuring sustainable growth. Recommendations include investing in continuous market research to stay ahead of consumer trends and preferences, deepening engagement with local communities and influencers to build brand loyalty, and exploring strategic partnerships with local entities to enhance supply chain resilience and market penetration. Additionally, ongoing investment in digital innovation should be prioritized to maintain a competitive edge in customer engagement and e-commerce capabilities.

Source: Global Expansion Strategy for Cosmetic Brand in Asian Markets, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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