Chinese consumers are spoilt for choice. Read any report comparing brand loyalty across markets and Chinese consumers always appear as the least loyal group. It’s hardly surprising. Until as recently as 30 years ago, Chinese consumers were offered only one product per category.
Following the traditional rules of courtship, brands try to look their best. And social media has become the key channel to help them connect. Staying in tune with the hot topics is a tried and tested trick.
On 21st July, NASA announced a press conference around the discovery of Earth 2.0 Kepler-452b with live streaming of the event. Many Chinese consumers got excited and stayed up all night to watch the event. Upon hearing the news of Kepler-452b, my own Chinese friends immediately starting shared comments on social media. The switched-on brands also stayed up late and got to work right away. In less than 24 hours, branded messages with the image of Kepler-452b were posted on the brands’ social media sites, in the hope that consumers would like and share with their friends.
Brands in China are always on the look-out for current issues that can keep them top of mind among consumers. From the comments section, consumers do take note of how responsive brands are, and some of the remarks are quite witty too. Consumers are not afraid to compare how brands perform against competitors.
All the hard work above only goes so far to keep awareness. Some brands take a step further.
Nestlé Milk Stick, a milk-flavoured ice cream lolly and a client of ours in China, grabbed foodies’ attention by sharing innovative recipe suggestions. The recipes show the versatility of Milk Stick pairing it with fruit, cereals, coffee and so on. This post was liked by more than 500 consumers and gathered more than 300 comments, many saying they would try the recipe that same evening after work.
Inviting consumers to get up close and personal with the brand, Durex launched personalised pack designs for their condoms. To coincide with the Chinese Valentine’s Day, the Qixi Festival, consumers were given the opportunity to choose from a range of pack designs and then apply their own messages. These were then despatched to their chosen address. The packs were offered at a premium price, but gave couples the opportunity to create their own, very personal love letters.
Courting Chinese consumers requires hard work. The good news is the same formula applies: understand your consumers, what interests them and what worries them, then create your own unique brand story. One point to note from the examples above is the sheer pace of the market. Which presents further challenges: how does your brand stay up? How does your brand become the prime mover and create the right traction? Make sure you stay relevant.
What are you waiting for?
Written by Julie Cheng