Our team of PR professionals specialize in working with global brands and developing integrated content-led campaigns that successfully position and build brands in China.

We adopt a unique and flexible approach to communications planning that uses research and local insight to deliver individualized strategic plans that marry a brand’s global DNA to local market opportunities.

We’ve listed a few of the ways we endeavor to connect the dots between brands, culture and customers to craft strategic, locally relevant brand stories that drive genuine engagement and business results.

Localized Content

A loss of meaning, a lack of relevance… or a mixture of both, mean that overall brand positioning usually has to be completely re-thought for the China market due to different consumer habits, cultural patterns and purchasing behavior. For example, the French heritage of a luxury skincare brand is likely to be appreciated amongst Chinese target consumers, but a Spanish luxury skincare brand would need a new strategy because the link between Spanish heritage and luxury goods is less valued amongst the same target audience.

In order to ensure the content strategy is successful, the content needs to achieve the same level of resonance that previous content had in other markets. Basic brand positioning work is the only way to successfully develop a comms strategy that positions the brand as the ‘answer’ to a question it understands.

Target Audience

As with any good communications planning, the basis of that positioning work should begin with an understanding of the target audience. For many global brands entering China, the consumer section of interest is the burgeoning middle class.

Over the last few years, this growing population has progressed from following pure materialistic pursuits to become a discerning yet dominant force. These sophisticated and seasoned shoppers are willing to pay for quality, global brands endorsed by trusted influencers. While independently minded and keen to search out authentic, niche brands, they are also extremely social and seek online reviews to validate their choices. And yet, while internationally aware, they still follow local holidays, customs and traditions. The brands that succeed blend these standpoints to create a unique proposition.

Integration

While integrated campaigns are the name of the game in most areas of the world, they are the defining attribute of successful strategies in China. Most are familiar with the high levels of social media use in China (particularly WeChat, the fastest growing social platform in the world), but usefully for brands, this extends to e-commerce.

WeChat’s integration with e-commerce is not to be undervalued. More than 400M WeChat accounts are linked with bank cards, meaning users can read branded content on WeChat and instantly purchase a product mentioned in the article within the WeChat platform itself in just one click. According to CNBC, 51% of all online sales in China are now on mobile, compared to the global average of 35%. With WeChat now fully integrated with e-commerce, mobile-commerce is expected to enjoy a boosted acceleration.

Key Opinion Leaders & Influencers

Celebrity endorsement is one of the longest standing forms of PR but Chinese social influencers operate slightly differently. With less trust invested in adverts or obvious, celebrity-fronted campaigns, online KOLs can create instant, high-profile buzz amongst their millions of followers. Popular KOLs do come at a price – some of the most influential ones can charge as much as USD 50,000 to produce a piece of branded content. Brands also need to be mindful that these influencers tend to be so overly exposed, that the generated buzz is short lived and not effective in achieving long-term brand affinity.

Delivering a higher ROI is a newer breed of micro-influencers. They have a smaller, more devoted following and carve out a specific area of expertise for themselves. For targeting such a wide and diverse population, using these authentic voices to reach individual audiences is a great tactic for ensuring credibility and relevance across the campaign.

Engagement

In a competitive online marketplace where there are over 8.5 million public accounts on WeChat alone, no longer is just ‘being’ online enough. To stand out in a cluttered social space, brands need to consistently adopt new strategies and provide new experiences to keep their fans engaged.

First, brands need to ensure they develop a distinct tone of voice, which speaks to their community. When working with the Millennial audiences, peer-to-peer tonality tends to work well as they expect to be talked ‘with’ and not talked ‘at’.

To build long-term brand trust, brands need to listen to their followers, respond instantly to interactions and at times even involve them in processes such as new product development or campaign creations, to make them feel like a powerful part of the decision-making process.


© 2018 We Red Bridge.