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Mastering Unpaid UGC Content and Multifaceted Marketing Strategies with Koh Gen Do | EP. #136

June 05, 2024 | Author: Andrew Maff




















Even though paid UGC content is common in the beauty industry, mastering 100% unpaid UGC content and exposure is the key to showcasing your quality. On this 136th episode of the E-Comm Show, Andrew Maff interviews David Dunne, CEO of Koh Gen Do. From Marvel to Netflix, Koh Gen Do is used on film sets across Hollywood and stands out through its quality you don’t just hear about, but can see in action.

While one of the key components to Koh Gen Do’s success is organic UGC content, David also explains the importance of being where your customers are. With over 7 different marketing channels David talks about how Koh Gen Do approaches their multifaceted marketing approach without putting too many eggs in one basket. This episode is filled with expert advice you won't want to miss…

Watch the full episode below, or visit TheEcommShow.com for more.


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Have an e-commerce marketing question you'd like Andrew to cover in an upcoming episode? Email: hello@theecommshow.com







Mastering Unpaid UGC Content and Multifaceted Marketing Strategies with Koh Gen Do


Andrew Maff and David Dunne

CONNECT WITH OUR HOST: AndrewMaff.com  |  Twitter: @AndrewMaff | LinkedIn: @AndrewMaff 



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David Dunne


  1. David Dunne leads Koh Gen Do, a respected skincare and cosmetics brand known for its mineral-based and natural formulations. As CEO, his team has focused on expanding in the luxury prestige segment, and he has propelled Koh Gen Do’s success in film and TV and global recognition. Available in e-commerce and in stores coast to coast, Koh Gen Do is a favorite in many film, TV, and print engagements. Koh Gen Do has flourished under his guidance, and the company has cultivated a loyal customer base appreciative of its commitment to clean, high-quality beauty products. Koh Gen Do is known for its high-definition cosmetics and skincare products that create a luminous, dewy complexion.


  4. They achieve this through a unique blend of:


  1. Natural Ingredients: They combine precious botanicals with Japanese skincare technology.

  2. Focus on Hydration: Their products contain nutrient-rich water sources to keep skin hydrated.

  3. Luminous Finish: Their products aim to give a natural, healthy-looking glow, similar to what you might see after a facial.


    I think it's more legitimate. I think it's more real because they're giving feedback



    Hello, everyone and welcome to another episode of The E-Comm Show today. I'm still your host. Shocker! I'm joined by David Dunne, who is the CEO over at Koh Gen Do. David, how you doing? You ready for a good show here? 



    Yes, absolutely. Thanks for having me.



    Thank you for joining us. I'm, I'm really looking forward to this one, because you're in a space that I've done a lot of work in. And I know that it is very complicated. And it is very difficult to stand out. And you have proven that you know exactly how to get through all the competition out there. So very excited to chat with you today. I like to do this the kind of stereotypical thing and just kind of let you kick us off. Tell us a little bit about your background more about cooking dough, and we'll take it from there. Okay. Sure. Absolutely.



    So thanks again for having me. I'm David Dunne, and I was in financial services for almost 30 years. And one of the things that I did in that role is I got on the boards of several different companies. And I got to see how the companies operate. And obviously, from a board level kind of perspective, I was always interested in profit and loss and the balance sheet and how are you are organized for sales? And what's the distribution that where are we going and all that kind of stuff. So then I had the opportunity to get on Koh Gen Do's board, and there was something that was a little bit different here. Not only did they have a really unique value proposition, and a unique Hulk into the market, and to really tell their story, but they were just kind of fledgling, still in United States with a strong established base in Japan, where most of our products are manufactured. Yeah.



    So flash forward to now you're now the CEO. So you've taken over that spot. Are you solely focused on us folk side of things? Are you also overseeing Japan? Not



    at all when we distribute today in 154 countries? Beautiful.



    Explain the product line because your cosmetics, beauty, that whole area wildly competitive, difficult to break through? How are you differentiating yourself against your competition,



    it's so true, because, you know, like many of the other brands out there, especially the big three big four brands, we have skincare, we have makeup, we have color that we bring to the market. But the what's different about us is the the level and quality of the ingredients, the ingredients are extraordinarily high quality. They're from Japan, they're they're steeped in Japanese tradition. Like for example, our makeup removers are primarily Japanese hotspring water, which is the highest mineral content in the world, and that Japanese hot spring water can bring other healing qualities to a woman's face when she removes her makeup. And it'll even take off waterproof mascara, which is really interesting for many women, as they use that on a regular basis. It's so hard to get that off. So instead of scrubbing their eyes, they can just use our stuff and just simply taken off, which is fantastic. Now, in addition to that, you know, because we were started by a Japanese actress in the late 80s and the company is nearly 50 years old at this point. We are steeped in a tradition of people that wear skincare or use skincare and wear makeup on a regular basis. And from that perspective, the the film and television industry has been a big supporters of ours. And we do we have done over 1000 film until television engagements with our products. So we are skincare first and then we have cosmetics and foundation and color that's based in skincare. So first and foremost, we want to treat your skin the best way possible. And then we want to enhance that beauty or provide additional coverage if necessary. Does that make sense?



    Yeah, absolutely. How did you break in the film and television side of things is is genius, right? Like that's not a common place that most of these brands without being massive can really break into how did You get into that, how'd you guys discover that? Like, what's the benefit there?



    Well, one of the ways that we did it is through the makeup artists, I mean, we just have great products. And when a makeup artist discovers that you have a great product, they want to use it on their client, because they want to show off their own skills. And use a great product on a beautiful canvas, like a woman's face, such as Oprah Winfrey, or Jennifer Aniston, or arm whoever. So some of the things that we've done recently, which include Daisy Jones, in the six, we have a ghost, avid Elementary, the changeling, Percy Jackson, you name it, we have a lot of different film and television expertise. And we go after that from working with the artists themselves. First and foremost, the artist is the one that's going to make the difference on the set. So we work with makeup department heads at the studios at Paramount, Apple, CVS, etc. And then we work with the celebrities.



    Did you ever think you would break into cosmetics and beauty when you were



    younger? Not at all. Totally. Financial Services kind of guy. But I'm really lucky to have assembled a team of fantastic people who really understand that industry. And more importantly, also understand Understand skincare and cosmetics.



    Yeah. How did you get appointed the CEO? How did that happen with a financial backer? I mean, obviously, the financial background helps. But yes, yes. Well,



    we got some basics of, you know, what, what was going on with the business? Where was the sales? Group going? What was going on with distribution? How were we leveraging our film and television hair heritage? What were we doing in manufacturing, all of it began to come together. And because I had some operational background as well. That's really why they asked me to step up and do this.



    Beautiful. What's one thing I've got to know? Because obviously, I'm on the marketing side. What's your approach there? I mean, beauty cosmetics skincare, like it's so crowded. So being able to really portray how differentiated the product line is, how you're in like film, television, all that fun stuff, like how are you kind of getting that message across to break through the mass amounts of competition out there?



    Well, the first thing I'll say is that we're always working on it, right? I'm not I don't think you're ever done in a marketing type of mode, you can never be totally, you know, stop and say rest on my laurels. Here, we're done. We've reached our plateau, we want to we want to stay here. So we keep going. And it is a multi faceted approach everything from pure e commerce perspective, where we're going after the individual SMS, emails, you know, messaging, social media, and are on seven different channels at this point in time to then on the b2b side, where we also takes our products into Macy's, Neiman Marcus coast to coast, Saks Fifth Avenue, etc. And then how are we communicating with those stores and with those individuals, they're they're different kinds of markets. Right? Because I'm not sure that the shopper at Neiman Marcus is the same shopper at Macy's is the same shopper as me on my e commerce website. Does that make sense?



    Yeah, absolutely. What's the what's the what would you say is kind of the leading channels or strategies that you guys are are focused on I know you mentioned SMS, in this area. I know influencer marketing can be a big thing. Social obviously, like what tends to be that leader. E



    commerce, I would say that it's probably social is the number one thing because we do so much Film Television because we do so many celebrities, we get a lot of pictures and a lot of quotes and a lot of credits. Their Instagram obviously is huge for us. Tik Tok is big for us, Facebook is big for us. So those are the types of things that we go after. But then you know, summarizing all that and putting it together in an email blast that we put out a couple of times a month to tell customers about how we're doing that celebrity look, that red carpet feel that what we just did in the latest movie or Dexter or whatever the episode is that we're working on. We want to tell them about that and how they can achieve that that look as well. So we tried to do that again for the the consumer who's going directly after ecommerce or for the person who's in the store or maybe is helping out different customers coming Yeah.



    Tell me a little about like all the different sales channels you've listed many of them at this point. So you have your eCommerce store you've gotten Neiman Marcus, Macy's all these different ones like what's what's that spread? What's the percentage how much of that is catered to e commerce How much are you focused on the retail side like give me a little bit insight in there?



    Yeah, um, you know, the the in store the business to business kind of directive really came when we wanted to start to get our name out there because literally until your channel heard of us today and reached out to us? You probably never heard of Kognito ever before. But I bet you did hear of Estee Lauder and Cody and Unilever and some of the others that are major brands out there. Shado, etc. Yeah, right. So nobody's ever heard of Kognito. So I, you know, I wanted to go in as many places as possible that I could get the name out there because we do have the high quality because we do have the celebrity attraction, because we do have the film and television. And because we do have the Skin Care Foundation on everything that we do. So if I can be in store and a woman can find me on store as well as online, I think those become complementary and synergistic. Today's shopper is really very complex organization of how they make a decision. Are they going to make a decision? Because it's Amazon and it's free shipping that they paid for in prime and they probably forgot that they paid that annual fee and prime? Or are they going to go after Macy's? Starpoints. Are they going to go after encircle points in Neiman Marcus? Or do they really care about the loyalty points that maybe I offer directly? Ecommerce, so we want to be where the customer is, and how that I can get to those different sales channels. So that's really what drove us into both being in stores, as well as E commerce online. Yeah. My favorite. Is e commerce online.



    Oh, I bet. I'd imagine margins are probably much better, correct? Yes,



    absolutely. Of course, no.



    So obviously, you know, your business been around for about 50 years now, as you mentioned, like you guys have some seasoned professionals all running everything there. And then of course,



    like five years in the US, though, so we're fairly new. That's okay.



    That's the point. Interesting. Actually, that's a interesting question. How's the marketing different here in the States versus what you're doing in Japan?



    I would say that it's wider and more diverse, right? So in in Japan, there's a little less diversity that they're embracing. Not that it's not there. It's just that there's not as much cultural impact into diversity as there is in the United States. Being in film and television. In particular, we have tremendous diversity. And we're very proud of that. And so we have created specific things. In fact, Oprah Winfrey's makeup artist, Derek, who's a friend of mine, came with me to Japan, and we worked on specific shades, for darker skins. And we are very proud of all of the different things that we have done over time to make sure that we have a broader palette, and more diversity. Awesome.



    The what I was thinking about Originally, the you have all these different international channels, we have all these different sales channels you have here in the states, like there's a lot going on. So you've obviously have this omni channel approach, which is kind of that hot button topic that's getting, you know, becoming sexier and sexier to use, just like AI. So it's like everyone's doing it right. What's your theory on it, especially from an E commerce perspective on? are you leveraging any of your marketing that's directing people to let's say, something like an Amazon or using Amazon is more of like a customer acquisition channel, like, what's the the approach to how you're spreading the wealth amongst all your sales channels?



    It's really interesting, right? Because you will also as a business, I don't want to be dependent and have too much risk associated with one of those particular channels, right? Because I can, I can actually put too many eggs in one basket. And if anything happens to that basket, I could, I could have trouble over time. And we have seen that over time with stores that have gone out of business where we used to have a significant presence. So we used to be in a great store called Barney's. And Barney's was a luxury department store. And it had many beautiful brands in there. But they went out of business and left many of us hanging. So and then some also some stores change over time. So they decide to have a different focus, or they want to bring in their own products instead of third party products, right. So instead of bringing Estee Lauder and Dior and Golan and the others in, they may want to have their own name brand in that particular store and in their distribution channel. So we again, want to be where the customer is. And so my thing is, wherever the customer wants to be, I want to be there. So Amazon is a hugely important channel for us. We're part of premium luxury beauty, which invitation only and we're very excited to be there. We have our own little storefront amazon.com/kogan No, so that's really cool. We distributed through them in Canada and Mexico as well and some other countries. So, you know, I think that being if there's an Amazon preferred shopper who loves the Amazon experience, loves the shipping guarantees, loves the diversity of Amazon, I want to be there for that person. But for the woman that loves to go into Neiman Marcus and get that one on one luxury experience, the wider I calls in the special one on one treatment. I want to be there to



    how do you approach that from a pricing standpoint? Because while it's great to be everywhere that your customer is places like Amazon have ridiculous fees, sometimes specifically for products that are under certain price points, or that or a certain weight or anything like, how do you manage your pricing across the board? Do you keep it completely flat, and the cost is the cost and you profit more in one area, or what's the thought there, um, it? Well,



    our price is the same day, the cost of our good if you will, is the same across the board. So when we sell $100 Foundation bottle, it's $100 at Neiman Marcus and Amazon and my in my channel as well. The part that difference, as you know is the margin components and other special deals that you make along the way. So what I tried to do is keep those as level as possible, and try to differentiate it amongst them. So in some channels, it's more oriented towards gift with purchase, or other types of incentives, and other channels. It's just purely trying to give them the very best price. And there may be more sale opportunities these days. And it's funny that you were joking about AI a minute ago, there are so many engines for AI against all of the different providers and the different places that we are, that they're constantly price checking each other against it. And so I have to remind them at times that hey, this is inCircle days at Neiman Marcus, or there's a VIP point days at Macy's, it doesn't mean our price has changed. It just means that they're running a sale, and they're making up the difference. So I won't fund the differences, just like I'm not paying directly for influencers. Because our product doesn't lend itself. I don't want to have that fake influencer type of persona or aura that sometimes comes around a brand that, you know, you're good. Because when people say you're good only because you pay them. No, I'm not paying them. For those kind of things. They're saying that we're good because we legitimately aren't good. Yeah.



    And I would say I would assume in your scenario, you're probably not doing too much from an influencer perspective, because that's just coming with all TV and different movies and stuff that you guys are doing correct. It is



    I you know, I we could definitely could pay for more. There's no doubt about it. But because we have a high quality product, because we work directly with the artists because we work directly with the studios. Oh, you're right, we get some natural feedback as a result of that. So if I don't have to pay for that, I don't want to pay for that. And I think it's more legitimate. I think it's more real, because they're giving feedback. And I have a whole section on my web site called artists voice, where you can go to that at the very, very bottom of the page, artists voice and you can see all the movie things and all the TV things. And you'll see quotes from those people. Well, I didn't pay them for that they gave me those quotes because they're legit. And because they really do feel that way. And I'm really proud of that. Yeah,



    I mean, that's those words. Yeah. I mean, that's the that's the dream, right? I think I think the great thing about that, too, is like, there are times where I can tell the users are really starting to all customers are really starting to like, just not trust influencers, like they used to, because they're all clearly biased, or they're just peddling a product that they haven't even tried themselves. So to have those like true reviews of like, no, no, they're not paying me I literally just use this all the time, it's gotta be a lot more beneficial.



    It is a lot more beneficial. And not only in in conveying that message, but also one on one conversations. Because a lot of beauty happens one on one, whether it's in the store, or in gatherings of women and men who are using our products, that storytelling and that understanding is really important and having the authenticity and the legitimacy of we're not buying words from these film and television people from the celebrities. You know, we were thrilled to work with the artists to be on the cover of People recently with Kelly Clarkson. Well, we didn't pay Kelly, and she didn't pay us and we didn't pay the makeup artists, they legitimately chose us because we're the one of the best products out there.



    The amount of stuff you guys have going on all the different marketing elements, all the different sales channels, both online and offline. I mean, there's a lot going on. Yeah, and when you get to a business, I'm sure you're feeling as and when you get to a business of that size. Like it's very difficult to just think of something and execute it like you really have to have that kind of like end to end thinking throughout everything and really like plan before you execute. what's your what's your like mantra on when you're like, hey, this seems like an area we should go into how do you look at the planning how do you look at the execution before just hitting The button and doing it. Yeah,



    and that planning and execution is a longer cycle than people think that it is. There's no doubt about it. So let me talk about a couple of those different cycles. From a marketing perspective, I think that it's usually a 90 day and then it's modified about 45 days out, right. So I tried to have our marketing team and they do a great job. I'm lucky to have a great team members there. I tried to have our marketing team fully scheduled from a social perspective, and all of the things that we're going to do at least 45 days in advance, because we really, there's just too much to get through on a day to day grind, to know that we're not sure what's going to happen at the end of the month, and what our promotion is, and when the emails are going to go and what the text messages and are going to say and all of those kinds of things. from a product perspective, I would say that it's more like an 18 to 24 month timeframe, mainly because we are sourcing our own ingredients. Number one, like Japanese hot spring water. And then we're manufacturing that whole piece. We're paying for the the manufacturing and the containers along the way. We're doing it in multi language, right, so it's in Japanese, and English or whatever. And then we're distributing it, we're shipping it to the United States. And then we're selling it hopefully to ourselves through ecommerce through Amazon through whatever. And then we're getting it into the warehouses and into the stores. And then we're getting on this lady's hands. So all one of the things that we really wanted to do is focus on the quality of our ingredients that there are at least 36 to 48 months shelf life, which is different than most of the beauty brands. Most of the beauty brands have much shorter shelf life, but we wanted to make sure that we had a good amount of time to get it out there and also who wants to bring home a product and find out that it expires in a month or two. You want to fully use that product until it's gone. Yeah.



    Very cool. David, thank you so much for being on the show. I don't want to take up too much of your time. I know you're super busy. Because as we said you've got a lot going on. I'd love to give you the opportunity here to let everyone know where they can find out more about you and of course more about Koh Gen Do



    Thank you very much go to KohGenDocosmetics.com That's Koh GN do cosmetics.com and our website has all all the information that you'll need.



    Love it. David, thank you so much for being on the show. Everyone who tuned in, of course, thank you as well please make sure you do the usual rate review, subscribe all that fun stuff on whichever podcast platform you prefer or head over the E comm show.com to check out all of our previous episodes. As usual. Thank you all for joining us. See you all next time. Thanks a lot.



    Thank you for tuning in to The E-Comm Show head over to theecommshow.com to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform or on the BlueTuskr YouTube channel. The E-Comm Show is brought to you by BlueTuskr, a full service digital marketing company specifically for e-commerce sellers looking to accelerate their growth. Go to bluetuskr.com Now for more information. Make sure to tune in next week for another amazing episode of The E-Comm Show.
























































































































































































































































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