The fashion market in China is expected to be responsible for 30% of the total global fashion market growth in 2017 and is set to become the world’s second biggest market by 2020. With China’s GDP increasing by approximately 7% every year, spending on high-end clothing increases in line with this. While fashion brands used to focus on China’s biggest, first tier cities, nowadays with the increase of the middle class’s purchasing power, more and more companies are targeting second-tier cities across the country.
Vogue Paris sets out to make an impression
The French edition of the famous American fashion magazine set out to make an impression amongst discerning Chinese fashionista’s, Their aim was to promote the renowned French culture of fashion in China and expand their status as an authority on fashion and style.
With such a large potential audience and market Vogue Paris saw the Chinese as a key target for the development of their brand in the highly competitive global arena.
Vogue, more than just marketing, it’s an on-going process of education
China has become more multi-layered over the last decade. There are of course the top-level buyers, the middle class and interestingly there’s the newer wealth developing in second and third cities. Chinese waking up to the world of luxury are demanding education.
Europeans sometimes talk about ‘new money’ because they had this prosperity for decades but there’s a lot of reasons to respect the Chinese. They went through a lot of hardship historically before achieving these current levels of wealth and success. They yearn to inform themselves about fashion and style, this is the philosophy that drives the progression of vogue.
The Problem was they Lacked Visibility & Engagement
The issue was that the brand, particularly the French division, lacked visibility on social media. The brand reputation of Vogue was strong but the figures were low in terms of their social media engagement.. they needed to be more active at heart of social communication on the Chinese net, social networks.
With the scale and complexity of the Chinese digital sphere in mind it was important for Vogue Paris to partner with Gentlemen Marketing; a local, social media specialist to grow their reputation and drive traffic by intelligently targeting specific communities of fashion conscious Chinese netziens.
Improving Vogue’s connection with Chinese People
Vogue had recently issued a statement saying; ‘It’s great to give a vision, the ultra-glamorous quality. On the other hand, if customers feel this is something that you can only look at from a distance and they can’t touch, you lose them too.” Part of the challenge was to bridge this through social media engagement, the hope was this would also instil a greater sense of loyalty and connection with the brand.
Finding the right solutions
The solutions needed to be tailored for Vogue. They were not starting from scratch but rather needed to use their existing reputation as a platform for further growth and connection with consumers.
It was also important for Vogue Paris to differentiate themselves as the ‘French Fashion’ arm of the brand. Content needed to be tailored for French fashion and culture in a way that would engage the Chinese end user.
We chose to focus on ‘Iconic French Culture’ as a key theme. This linked nicely with the magazines co-operation with renowned photographers, models and actresses to publish their iconic covers.
Weibo (literally translated as Micro Blog) was of vital importance for driving traffic and growing the brand reputation. It is an open source social network with 250 million active users. Weibo is an important platform for the sharing of content and for engagement with followers. In China netziens expect brands to be ‘social’ and engage with them so it was important to start relevant topic threads about French fashion and culture, the allure of Paris and Lyon (the two most popular destinations for travelers) and the impact in terms of status this kind of fashion selection can provide were the key topics fueling conversation.
Connecting with Fashion Influencers
Chinese Influencers in the world of Chinese fashion are important for developing brands. These are high profile individuals who have gathered significant followings around themselves, they have a reputable profile and are deemed to be experts in fashion trends and styles. A key aim of this campaign was to connect with influencers who could be recruited by Vogue to share and sponsor their Chinese content.
Influencers or ‘key opinion leaders’ can be costly but pay dividends in the long run. When you tap into the hundreds of thousands of impressionable followers they have it can lead to a significant increase in your loyal community. The key point is that these communities are already engaged online and have an interest in fashion, the influencers become a conduit for intelligent marketing to their engaged communities.
Curating and producing quality Mandarin content was a pivotal part of the campaign. It had to be French specific, reflect a sense of iconic style and convey this is in the best way for Chinese audiences that was in-line with the tone of the Vogue brand.
Direction translation into Mandarin seldom works, we needed to adapt and tailor the content for this specific market, bearing in mind the target demographic of discerning, fashion conscious Chinese.
The result.. A huge increase in online traffic and engagement.
By the end of the campaign Vogue France was driving 2,000 Chinese visitors per day to their official website. They increased their community 30% to over 100 000 followers on their Weibo account. More followers leads to high levels of engagement, interactivity and therefore visibility, the effects were cumulative.
2000 Influencers in Fashion followed and connected with Vogue Paris, establishing the foundations for influencer marketing in the future to targeted fashion conscious groups.
Overall this campaign was a success for Vogue. In the highly competitive Chinese market place it is vital to engage on social media to drive traffic, generate leads and build your reputation and visibility.