“Globalisation has generated cross-cultural branding, a marketing strategy that crosses national boundaries which able to combine two or more cultures.”


Image Credit: Takoyaki House - Magelang

Ten years ago, someone who has lived and grew up in Indonesia must have been unfamiliar with the variety of Korean foods, such as kimchi, jajangmyeon, tteokbokki, or kimbap. We may feel confused when hearing these kinds of foods’ names. But now, these foods can be easily found in downtown or Korean restaurants in shopping centers located in the big cities like Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, or Medan

It is undeniable that many business owners feel encouraged to invest in Korean products ranging from foods, fashion, to skincare due to the Korean wave in Indonesia. Not only original Korean brands that are in high demand in our home country, but local brands have also started to adopt the social culture of the Ginseng Country. Products with Korean traits began to appear: Indomie produces instant noodle products with Bulgogi taste, while Mie Sedap produces instant noodles with Korean Spicy Chicken flavor.

Likewise, the local skincare brands also took a bold step by hiring K-drama actors to become Brand Ambassadors (BA). Brands like Scarlett Whitening, who chose Song Joong Ki, the main star of Descendant of The Sun as their BA. Previously, Kim Seon-Ho, the actor of the Hometown Cha Cha Cha series was also appointed as BA of Everwhite skincare brand. Tokopedia, one of the leading marketplaces in Indonesia, is also willing to spend more money in order to collaborate with BTS and Blackpink as BA.

The trend of Korean pop culture or also called Hallyu is currently popular in various countries, as well as in Indonesia. In 2019, Hallyu even managed to bring a profit of USD 12,3 billion for the country. With the popularity of the Korean wave in various countries as well as the potential profit that can be obtained, it is not surprising that many local brands are trying to ride a wave. This trend, without knowing it, has created a cross-cultural branding in Indonesia.


Understanding Cross-Cultural Branding as Collaborative Product

Globalization has melted national borders and brought many changes to the global business landscape. This phenomenon has created a variety of new strategies, including cross-cultural branding strategies. This strategy exists to respond to the increasingly diverse market complexity.

The influx and internalization of outside cultures has created a market with global characteristics whose consumption patterns are no longer influenced by cultural factors, but also the interest of a certain culture or phenomenon. So, no wonder that nowadays many brands use cross-cultural branding strategy not only as a way to adapt but also as a medium to provide a distinct experience to customers and make it an added value.

Brands also adapt by presenting a collaboration strategies. Collaboration is a solution to answer the increasingly complex market characteristics. By collaborating, brands become more dynamic in responding to a constantly changing market. In order to have stronger cross-cultural branding strategy, there are two other essential elements that need to be considered, momentum and trends. The brand will be able to present different experience that is needed by the current market by combining these three aspects.


Image source: mcdonalds.co.id


Building Cross-Cultural Branding Strategy through Brand Experience

If we look closely at the current trend, most of the products that we consume are cross-cultural products ranging from culinary, fashion, to cosmetics products. For example: Chatime, a local beverage brand adopted boba, a Taiwanese special drink. Erigo, the local fashion brand, also collaborated with Japanese designers and created streetwear with Japanese vibes. Another shocking phenomenon, BTS meals, the result of collaboration between McDonald’s with BTS, has sold out in just a few minutes.

Now, cross-cultural branding strategy is no longer used as a way to adapt to the social culture as a targeted market, but rather to build a brand experience. The success of cross-cultural branding is now measured by how strong a brand able to present the nuance, style, and taste of a culture that is currently being loved by the market target. At basicludo, we recognize that there are triangle points that business owners & brands need to look closely at when they want to build a strong brand experience, namely:


1. Product Innovation

What is it?

Designing a product with a cross-culture concept is basically creating a cultural representation that is closest to market aspirations.


What can we do?

We need to pay close attention to seeing customers’ needs and desires so that our products can meet their aspirations.

The product must be able to represent the culture as well as fulfill the market aspirations.

For example: Indomie launches instant noodles with Bulgogi flavor as a representation of Korean culture. This innovation was spot on considering that Korean people in various popular K-dramas in Indonesia are depicted as people who like to consume noodles.


2. Market Population

What is it?

We need to know the behavior of our targeted market to create a product. The market population determines the strategy that will be used in managing a business.


What can we do?

We can look from the age range, gender, and also profession to see the market population characteristics.

Moreover, we also need to pay attention to their taste in fashion, music, hobbies, or even their lifestyle.

We need to be able to do market population profiling in order to see their aspirations and needs.

For example: Indomie releases an instant noodle product with Bulgogi flavor because they are aware that one of their market populations consists of young people. Meanwhile, the increasing viewers of K-drama over time are mostly young people.


3. Trend & Momentum

What is it?

The speed of information is a double-edged sword for today’s business and brand ecosystem. It can provide advantages on the one hand, but can also bring disadvantages on the other side. Trends can be profitable if we can use them as momentum.


What can we do?

It is important to note that trends are instant and fast, so the changes are also very significant.

We need to be observant in sorting the developing trends.

There has to be a strategic reason when choosing certain trends.

For example: After Erigo succeeded in placing advertisements on New York billboards, other brands began to follow the trend, one of which was Ajaib. However, the market response had negative feedback at that time due to Ajaib’s market segmentation being deemed inaccurate.


In addition, keep in mind that brand experience is built when consumers interact with our brand through various touchpoints. Experience is a complex interaction result which subsequently creates a brand’s perception.

Basicludo is a strategic brand consultant who has experience in managing sustainable brand strategies. Contact us through 1 on 1 consultancy sessions to find out more about the right brand experience development strategy for the Doers’ brand.