The Chinese Luxury Market is now the most sizeable in the world. The country’s backlash against local fakes and counterfeit is one of the reasons why international luxury offerings are thriving in China. In this context, foreign brands have become even more a symbol of quality.
Today, Chinese consumers have changed, they want different things and it’s important to be aware of this context. They want to stand out from the crowd. Differentiation has always been the most desired aspect of these consumers.
They want to be cool, modern and exceptional. The old expensive luxury brands are not desired as ardently as before. Today, a brand needs to be cool and popular to attract these new consumers.
So, it’s not so simple to establish your brand in China, you have some work to do build a unique brand image and to increase your reputation.
Social Media Guide For A Fashion Brand in China
UNDERSTAND THE CONSUMER
Chinese consumer’s tastes change frequently and you have to know that and adapt your approach :
- Due to a lot of scandals related to products (counterfeiting, dangerous goods…) the consumer is very suspicious. You have to be transparent.
- Chine consumer need to be listened and reassured.
- Chinese consumer look for « trust », without trust, no business.
In addition, with the One Child Policy, children have been more pampered and their parents want the best for them, that’s why today its a new demanding generation which looks for quality brands. With such a huge surge of luxury enamored youths across China, tapping into this market and building a brand loyalty can pay dividends for years to come with individuals so early in their consumption life cycle.
Choosing quality over high-pricing is now the new mindset adopted by the consumers. The user-experience and reputation branding are also very important. And, goods which can shape their personality and make their exception are more appreciated.
BUILD A GOOD REPUTATION
You have to build a strong brand reputation. If you are a new brand in this market you have to become well-known because Chinese consumers only buy famous brands. This is because they can be advised and find details on the brand.
Consumers prefer to buy a brand that consumers recommend, then a brand that people unknown or criticized.
That’s why you have to build a strong image and a good reputation for your brand if you want to become famous, appreciated and shared by consumers.
Example: Zhihu the Chinese Quora
Chinese Ladies will search average 30h before to realize a luxury Purchase, and they will check compare to be sure that the Bag they will choose will be really Good, and get a lot of positive comments from the other.
They will read online Magazine, Forums about fashion, Check in Groups, on Weibo, On Little Red Book (fashion App) and will take their Decision based on what they will find.
In China, many brands are investing a lot of efforts to have a good reputation.
BUILD A CHINESE WEBSITE HOSTED IN CHINA
It is obvious, I know, but most of Chinese do not speak English and prefer read in Mandarin.
You have to build a quality website in Mandarin if you want to be visible on Baidu (China’s Google). You cannot just create a bi-lingual Chinese website, you have also to be hosted on a local server with a .cn domain.
To do SEO (Search Engine Optimization) you must have a Chinese website to be referenced. If you have adapted mandarin keywords it will allow you to place your brand in front of the most qualified search traffic in the luxury sphere on Baidu.
For the aesthetic of your website, it’s a little bit different for a fashion brand.You can keep your website clean from the design standpoint, you don’t need to build a typical Chinese web format.
- Example: https://cn.burberry.com
USE CHINESE SOCIAL MEDIA
In China, more than in other countries the number of internet and social media users has exploded. Consumers are very connected and spend a lot of time on the web. You need to use social media and all online social networks famous in China to increase your awareness. It’s important to know that Chinese fashionistas spend 2 hours per day browsing online.
Wechat accounts & Mini-sites
WeChat is YOUR ‘swiss army knife’ when it comes to pushing content, branding and engaging with followers.
First, you have to create an official account. Then, because you are a luxury brand, you need to create a « mini-site » hosted within Wechat itself and built it in HTML5. You will be able to customize your site and post a lot of things.
After that, you have to create traffic on your account and mini site by linking your Wechat QR code with your website. You also need to be very active and share a lot of content to your followers to be re-posted in their community. You can also attract followers doing special offers.
Weibo: China’s Twitter
Weibo is China’s most open social network– Here you can post long and quality content and users can see posts from anyone and do not have to be connected to them. Then you can be customized your account with your own content so to gain more visibility.
On Weibo, a lot of influencers share brand contents to their communities. In addition, in China, it’s very common to share their buying preferences on social media, particularly with respect to luxury items. This is because it connotes a social status and prestige.
Chinese Fashion Forums
Chinese consumers, more than any other consumer in the world, are very active on forums. Forums are a powerful way of influencing sentiment and building a nice and positive reputation. The most important forums are: Baidu Zhidao, Baidu Tieba, Zhihu, and Tianya. On these forums, consumers share recommendations, images, shopping experiences and thoughts on brands.
You can become a member of these forums and adopt a « covert strategy » which means, you create a user account and you engage in user discussions. It allows you to see what is said about your brand and control your e-reputation.
For your brand, it’s very important to cultivate a positive e-reputation because forums rank highly in the search results on Baidu, so you have to watch out to the user’s comments, posts and discussions about your brand.
In China, word-of-mouth is a fundamental marketing tool, as it is very efficient in spreading content and can be quickly viral throughout the social media.
CONNECT WITH CHINESE FASHION KOL (KEY OPINION LEADERS)
KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) are very attractive and powerful marketing tool in China because consumers want to do a responsible buying and because they are very concerned about fashion.
You have to find some KOLs who will become sponsors of your brand to their communities. KOL are especially effective for luxury brands. If you find a good KOL you could improve your visibility. KOL is a perfect way to boost your e-reputation and your awareness but warning, it musn’t be your only tool.
DO BUZZ: BE DIFFERENT
Chinese people want something new, more creative and fun. They want to be leaders of their communities by sharing moments. So you have to be very modern and use virality and do not be boring.
CREATE A BEAUTIFUL STORYTELLING FOR YOUR BRAND
You have to create a beautiful story around your brand. People in China do not really buy a brand or a product, they buy an experience. They want a beautiful story and to be touched by the brand. In addition, if you create a story with actors similar to your consumers, they will identify themselves with the brand.
BE ON E-COMMERCE PLATFORMS
Tmall is the most important platform in China, but it’s also reserved for the most successful players. In most case, brands are rejected from Tmall (85%). Tmall only selects brands that already have a strong image, reputation and do significant sales from China and it can be a bit expensive for you at the beginning.
The alternative to this platform is to use other platforms such as WeChat Stores, Little Red Book, Hupu, T Global E-Luxury and more.
WeChat stores are the best and most effective tool.
Most of Luxury Brands have already invested in a nice Wechat Store and like the concept of Private Store for their Community.
Dior, for Example, was the first Luxury Store selling on Wechat.
Little Red Book eStore
The famous Shopping App has developed a System that allows Brand to have a store. This Community of international Open minded Girls is become famous recently and allow every person to be a trendspotter.
These are stores hosted within this app that are linked to an official account. TYou have to create traffic on your store. Besides, payment is made extremely convenient and fast to encourage impulse purchase.
Today, it’s not that easy to succeed in the luxury market in China, but it’s not impossible, you have to adapt to and understand the Chinese consumer. To be more efficient, it is better to use Real Specialist for Entry Brand in China.
Any questions, I will be glad to reply in comments.