Clozette banks on strong Indonesian consumer base to promote Japanese content

Fashion and lifestyle content portal Clozette has launched a Japanese content micro-site on its content platform. This comes following US$10 million funding from Cool Japan Fund, a fund under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan which promotes Japanese products and services. At a press event, a Cool Japan Fund spokesperson said Clozette was chosen to help the ministry attract Millennial and Muslim tourists to Japan, tapping on their growing consumption in ASEAN in recent years.

Currently, Clozette has an Indonesian version of its women-centric lifestyle content portal in Bahasa Indonesia, which has a strong Muslim following. Clozette has also maintained a community of some 220,000 hijabers on Blackberry Messenger, before the platform ceased operations in May earlier this year. While it is headquartered in Singapore, Clozette’s biggest market is in Indonesia, which contributed to 50% of its total revenue. In a conversation with Marketing Interactive, Clozette CEO Roger Yuen said:

In 2018, revenue from the company’s subsidiary in Indonesia grew by 200%.

Meanwhile, of its 2.6 million fan base on Facebook, Closette Indonesia take up 2.2 million and about 60% of Clozette’s team currently resides in Indonesia, while the rest are spread across its other markets – Singapore, Malaysia, and Philippines. It is therefore, not surprising that Clozette has attracted a large pool of advertisers in Indonesia, of which 70% are international brands.  They include the likes of Estee Lauder, Shiseido, Amore Pacific, Zalora, Charles & Keith, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Johnson & Johnson.

However, Yuen explained that at the end of the day, it is its storytelling capabiltities that propelled the company to success, not simply monetising assets. With the current funding and plans to promote bring Japanese content to the Muslim population and attract them to Japan, Yuen said the company is on the search for strategic partners in Indonesia. They include airlines that fly between the two countries such as Garuda Indonesia and the Indonesian tourism board, which may want to attract Japanese tourists. At the same time, there are also opportunities for Japanese brands to step in.

"I think there are a lot of fashion beauty brands looking to enter into Indonesia. We can connect them to the likes of Bukalapak for eCommerce, or help them to set up pop-up stores at some of the malls here, so brands can interact with local consumers first-hand," said Yuen.

Content strategies

Besides content creation, a large part of Clozette's business model is also about distributing and amplifying content. Across all markets, it has a combined reach of over 600 million and works with 3,500 influencers and creators. Its content portal draws 13.7 million monthly page views on average. Clozette claims to have worked with over 300 brands and agencies in 2018, producing some 1,000 social campaigns and enabling 1,500 influencer collaborations. Its services include co-branded content creation, short form video creation, influencer marketing, engagement and gamification, trials and product sampling, and O2O on-ground activations.

Meanwhile, the CoolJapan micro-site, hosted on both the English and Bahasa Indonesia sites, has three main sections - style & beauty, travel, and lifestyle. It will launch new content formats such as a space where the community can contribute their travel itineraries as well as new video series #UnboxingClozette, #DeliciousClozette, and #ClozetteBeautyLab.

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To localise Japanese content for its Indonesian audience, it looks to curate related events that are taking place in Indonesia. They include Japanese promotions, festivals, artist appearances as well as activities organised by the Japan embassy in the country. Yuen added:

Pop culture is very much driven by the community, so its really understanding what matters to them.

To appeal to Muslim audiences, Yuen said it is important for content creators to cater to cultural differences. "When it comes to fashion, you need to have modest clothing. When it comes to food, obviously there has to be the halal element."

Still, there are similarities in consumption behaviour. With short attention spans, Millennials are now demanding "snackable" and visual-centric content, according to Yuen. Additionally, the content has to be actionable, giving them a reason to read by helping them to make decisions.

Moving forward, Clozette aims to expand CoolJapan to more languages such as Thai.