In lieu of the usual email format, Avril Han introduced the world to her new business venture as CEO of Sunny Side Up, a skincare range for animals, by breaking out some dance moves with the Color dance crew on YouTube, performing to the audio backdrop “Ante Up” by hip-hop duo M.O.P. Han is former overseas sales and marketing manager for the Baba Fashion Group— which, at almost 30 years in business, played a pivotal role in globalizing Korea’s fashion landscape—joining the company just as it launched its cosmetic division.
Han helped launch its probiotic- and prebiotic-focused skincare line, The Beautiful Factr. She began taking unorthodox marketing approaches, launching a YouTube channel where she posted music videos-meet-brand announcements, mukbangs, and personal insights into her own life, with a corresponding twice-monthly newsletter to business partners brimming with emojis, jokes, and an enlivening communication approach that felt like speaking to a best friend instead of an associate—a welcome panacea in pandemic times. “I've been in this industry for seven years. For four years, I tried the traditional ways of business, it was enough time for me to figure out the limit of this approach,” she recalls. After a year of persuasion, and drafting up to 36 types of content for YouTube, she began her journey on the platform, initially promoting the channel to her 300 existing retail partners worldwide. Her bubbly personality and high energy, and clever ways of leveraging the YouTube algorithm, resulted in a 1.75K subscriber audience.
When it came to the creation of her content, Han realized it was important to keep a lighthearted tone by singing, dancing, even playing the ukulele in her videos, but finding a way to incorporate her business ventures in an organic way. “I would add a hint of the brand stories, but the whole point was to make friendly, non-stressful content that they might want to click on in order to laugh, not to make it so business-like,” she explains.
86% of consumer state authenticity is a key factor in which brands they support, and 57% think less than half of brand-created content is authentic, so it’s evident that there is much room for improvement in connecting with your audiences, be they your buyers or your customers, in a meaningful way. “Brands definitely need to have more of a sense of humor. The world is going crazy and I don’t want to act as if nothing has changed. If the company is pushing me to get more orders from you, it’s depressing. It’s about being human, I know they’re stressed, and would rather pick the happy vibe and chit-chat about normal stuff. Then when the time seems right, we could do business later on,” Han comments.
The approach injected fun into day-to-day business proceedings and organic brand growth, without losing out on results. Her joyous content actually increased partnerships, securing new business deals with the likes of Costco (an impressive feat given the fact that The Beautiful Factr was a newly launched, foreign brand). “Ever since the YouTube channel went live, the revenue quadrupled,” she states. “The new buyers flowed in and the existing partners were looking forward to the next round of content.”
While many a marketing manager may see the uploads as a risky move, going into personal, public online video content was a natural extension of Han’s working relationships. “It seems like I'm taking risks, but I have a Plan B, C, and D all set up. I knew this would work because I was targeting people who had known me for years, and my fun personality, but also that I am a reliable worker,” she states. “Before I started, I asked myself, could I make this strategy profitable? The answer was yes.”
Fast-forward to the present, to Sunny Side Up, a company four years in the making, which flips the script on the industry’s relation to animals. “As an animal lover, it was a huge dilemma for me to see lots of cosmetic goods that are made out of their by-products. I wanted to make something good for animals because their skin matters as well,” she says. Han hopes to activate the brand via an “animal skincare zone” that sits alongside the skincare brands in Sephora. As ever, her passion, determination, and optimism shine through. “We'll see how it goes, but I'm pretty confident about this,” she smiles. “It's my calling.”
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