China today seems to be in a better position to recover from the economic crisis caused by the global pandemic. Therefore, the situation is better than many western countries that are now starting to face the problems resulting from the pandemic.
In fact, markets are positioning themselves for the rebound, just note that the Shanghai composite index rose 1.5% from the end of February to March 12th.
THE CRISIS CALL FOR ACTION
Some brands have been incredibly active and successful in connecting with their customers. Sales teams have worked from their homes, using WeChat, Weibo, Douyin, and others to connect with customers. While stores were closed, they could still show their appreciation, provide services, and sell to customers one-on-one, while leveraging new digital, real-time insight technologies.
These allow a brand to identify immediate shifts in consumer sentiment and then address them.
In contrast, the passive brands that focus on costs slow to a standstill. In the long run, cost reduction can’t make up for lost sales and broken customer relationships.
E-COMMERCE: a Solution to the Covid-19 crisis for Luxury Brands in China?
The pandemic, with the necessary quarantine and the blocking of mobility, has obligatorily identified many companies, rethinking e-commerce as the essential response for its business community.
At this time of global crisis due to Covid-19, the online sales of some brands are reaching very high peaks, for example, in China, there have been increases of 250%. At the same time, the drop in purchases in physical stores had already been recorded for some time, on average by 5 percent per year: this is an apparently irreversible trend.
Increase your conversion rate with smart branding online
This increase in transactions on online channels forces brands to have a solid and secure e-commerce system. Selling online is a lot more than just having an online store on Tmall, Taobao, or Jd.com. Those alone won’t be enough for a brand to sell. Being a foreign luxury brand is not enough. It is important you keep this in mind
To succeed you need:
- Branding through Digital advertising
- Search engine marketing with Baidu
- Social media management
Now more than ever, it is time to work on your e-reputation.
For example, FILA, Peacebird, and other companies have set up Wechat groups to greet the customers, introduce new products, publish discount information, and present live-streams.
GMA can help you to find your post-crisis strategy in the Chinese market through several services like E-Commerce, Search Engine Optimization, Advertising, Weibo, WeChat, WeChat Store & PR.
How to handle your post-crisis strategy in China?
Branding strategy is a crucial phase in creating an evocative and popular brand. Especially in China, a good Branding strategy will lead your company to build a prestigious and high qualitative image that can help you overtake local brands and gain a competitive edge over foreign competitors. Branding through :
Take advantage of Baidu SEM tools. When it comes to search engine marketing, Baidu still maintains the largest share. Advertising on Baidu is necessary to bid on competitive keywords and pay on a PPC basis. Baidu is the first choice for an advertising campaign to reach Chinese consumers. It works because users who are looking for something usually have the intent to buy it. Unlike Google, Baidu requires a fee, a deposit, and documents.
There are two types of advertising possible in your Baidu account:
- Baidu search ads through the results of a search page (you can add links and images to your advertising, it becomes more functional but also more expensive)
- Baidu display ads are advertisements that appear on the most visited Baidu sites
To open a Baidu PPC account is difficult and time-consuming, including preparing a business license, screenshot of the homepage, company information, bank statement, signing the contract with Baidu, and making the initial deposit. When opening a new Baidu advertising account, it is necessary to make a payment of 5000 RMB to Baidu, credit cards are not accepted.
Search engine marketing with Baidu
To start with, create a website in mandarin language. It will have to be hosted on locals servers. These 2 details are extremely important for your SEO ranking. The most used search engine in China is Baidu with close to 70% of the users using it for their researches. In short, you won’t be able to rank if you have a foreign language website hosted on a foreign server.
Some important aspects to keep in mind when optimizing a website for Baidu :
- Do not use subdomains, but separate domains, for example, www.mysite.com as the main site and www.mysite.cn as the Chinese site. In addition, the site must be in Chinese
- Optimization of the loading speed registered with a reliable CDN (content delivery network) supplier such as Baidu, Alibaba or Tencent or hosting your web pages in China
- Use sites like Weibo, Youku, and Baidu as Facebook, Youtube and Google don’t work in China
- Be careful not to use keywords in the blacklist
- Search for keywords in Chinese on Baidu
Social media management
There are several social media platforms in China to create interaction between your brand and your target audience. The most important are :
- Wechat: WeChat is an indispensable social media platform that Chinese consumers use to follow and interact with their favorite brands. With over 1 billion users, WeChat is a unique portal where users can access an infinite number of third party services such as paying bills, sending money to friends, buying movie tickets, or even ordering dry cleaning.
- Weibo: Sina Webio is another essential social media platform with its user base nearing 500 million users. Chinese social media Weibo is a microblogging platform used to gain information and discover interesting stories relating to the latest trends or entertainment. In comparison to WeChat, Weibo has a lot more hands-on channels, including posting comments, music, live streaming, and e-commerce. This platform has seen substantial growth with its multimedia content consumption and popularity of short videos.
- Tiktok: TikTok, locally known as Douyin, is a short video and music app that was launched in 2016. Since then, the social media platform has accumulated 500 million active users globally. TikTok allows users to add music and effects to their videos with very powerful editing tools. This platform has the opportunity of becoming a truly global leader in the short video market and is one of the first Chinese apps to successfully gain worldwide attention.
- Xiaohongshu: Little Red Book App, locally known as Xiaohongshu is an app targeted at 18-35-year-old women to share shopping tips and product reviews. In 2014, the platform launched its own cross border e-commerce platform called the RED store in response to the high demand for foreign luxury goods. This app allows Chinese consumers to purchase products from overseas directly from the app. RED has many partnerships with international brands, which makes it much easier for customers to receive authentic experiences.
Key opinion leaders are powerful peoples and Chinese social media. They are well trusted by internet users and a partnership with a Kol that is a good fit for your products and values could mean an immediate gain of popularity and peoples starting to get interested in your brand. You can work with them throughout diverse channels and a variety of campaigns from a review, to product placement, to banners, videos. It will depend on both your budget and your products.
POST CRISIS STRATEGIES IN CHINA – CASE STUDY
While doing their part to embrace health guidelines and encourage people to stay home, luxury brands are also attempting to engage with their social audience in an unprecedented amount of effort. There are many creative campaigns that provide entertainment and cultural value to their consumers. Here are some campaigns from Michael Kors, Valentino, and Gentle Monster.
Michael Kors’ “My Way” campaign promotes a recently launched personalization service where customers can personalize bags with the brand signature monogram. Since physical retailing remains generally limited in China, the brand has relied on its updated Tmall store to implement the digital pop-up service to coincide with its first “Super Brand Day” on the platform. The pop-up also features an “Ask Michael” section – an online quiz consisting of a series of lifestyle and personality questions that then generates a personalized recommendation from the brand’s namesake founder.
To drive online traffic for the campaign, Michael Kors collaborated with Chinese songwriter Zhou Bichang (also known as Bibi Zhou) to produce a single “Dance”. In addition, short videos are distributed on Weibo, WeChat, and Little Red Book with the brand ambassadors Leo Wu and Lareina Song and partnership contents with KOL of fashion such as Mr. Bags, Ximeng Dasao, and Mia Kong.
Nicknamed “Big V Handbag” (大 V 包), Valentino tries to re-propose his SuperVee signature through this campaign. The campaign plays with the personification of the bags – different colors are imagined as apprentices of idols with various characteristics – for example, black represents “classic” while rouge means “attractive”. Among the lineup, two collaborations stand out: the supermodel Liu Wen and the best live-streamer Li Jiaqi. Both fashionistas will choose and show their favorite colors in short videos and live streams. The idea and the shooting of the campaign were made in collaboration with Vogue China.
In addition to a number of digital initiatives, an offline pop-up shop in Beijing’s SKP mall is open from April 28 to May 22 to offer an online-offline shopping experience.
Tmall Super Category Day is an ongoing marketing event in which the e-commerce giant drives consumer consumption and increases awareness of niche categories. Being one of the best-known luxury eyewear brands in China, Gentle Monster was presented in the eyewear section hosted from April 24 to 28. The campaign focuses on the brand’s latest “My Mars” collection, produced in collaboration with the London artist Matthew Calcolo. To present the collection to local consumers, the brand launched a 50-second video featuring Chinese musical talent Hua Chenyu to showcase the products.
Do you want to know more about How to handle your post-crisis strategy in China? Contact GMA a digital marketing agency, specialized in the Chinese digital market.