China Digital Brandstorm dissects the changing dynamics of the Chinese digital ecosystem

At the first ever China Digital Brandstorm conference, China experts laid out brand strategies for digital commerce in the country, equipping audiences with first-hand insights and experiences.

Kicking off the event was a keynote address by Darren Chuckry, chair at the Marketing Society. During his presentation, he said that now is the age of customers, and that technology can help drive insights and improve customer relationship.
“Technology-driven insights enable companies to understand and engage with customer habits, and discover new opportunities with them,” he said.

Chuckry expanded on how technology can be used to collect public data from a wide variety of platforms and could help to deliver personalised and contextual experiences to customers. He then introduced the idea of a customer data platform (CDP).
Chuckry said the CDP system unifies a company’s customer data from marketing and other channels to enable customer modelling, optimising the timing and targeting of messages and offers.

At the end of his presentation, Chuckry highlighted some benefits of using a CDP. For example, a company can offer consistent customer experiences and messaging across all channels, increasing the efficiency of its operating structure, and assist in understanding the relationship between offline and online experiences, store sales, and eCommerce.

At another point in the event, William Hung, business development director at, gave his own talk on how analysing customer behaviour and creating personalised content could achieve better ROI.

He said that by analysing a customers’ last visit, frequency, and the amount he or she has spent over the past 12 months, along with other preferences, patterns and behaviours, brands can figure out characteristics of a customer. By knowing these insights and performing segmentation, brands can then offer personalised messages.

Hung said personalised content helps increase the open rate of messages across online platforms. Also, response and ROI are a lot higher than normal messages, as relevant messages trigger actions from customers.

Hung also mentioned how Facebook and WeChat tracking and personalisation offer a better experience. By interacting with a Facebook user, brands can offer personalised messages to persuade them to join as a member. It also builds a closer relationship with potential customers before they make a decision to purchase or become a member.

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In his talk. Adrian Teh, vice president SE Asia and Australia of BiddingX, highlighted some of the obstacles that exist in China’s digital landscape. Including high minimum buy of ad spend, difficulties in setting up and understanding the market, a plethora of publishers, languages, and business registrations in China, before moving on to the power of programmatic advertising.

“Programmatic advertising has lots of advantages. We identify target audiences through smart data, and engage target audiences on premium sites and apps programmatically with creative messages. Also, we build brand affinity based on audience insights and long-term data management strategies,” Teh said.

Understanding China’s internet landscape is also crucial to success and David Ip, general manager of QS Search, spoke about how the customer life-cycle has evolved from a one-way street of behaviour to a complex, digitally interconnected network.

Online shopping, watching tutorials, reading reviews, posting comments, and blogging are some of the most common current customer behaviours. Customers may perform these activities simultaneously online, while watching banner ads or YouTube ads in the meantime.

In addition, if a person uses different devices in a day to perform various tasks at work or finish personal needs. Screen integration is now essential to a consumer journey. “The sooner you establish your brand and begin to make traction, the more likely you will be able to realise continued success in this vast market of opportunity (in China),” Ip said.

Cynthia Lau, director of Cruiso, said that in China, social media platforms have already integrated e-Commerce. Apart from core social media platforms WeChat and Weibo, other alternatives include Douyin, Zhihu and Xiaohong Shu, offering even more opportunities for brands.

“Influencers across different platforms use creative content to promote brands, arouse curiosity, and resonate with their audience in order to deliver a positive brand image and redirect these audiences to e-commerce platforms to drive sales,” she said.

Raymond Chan, managing director of 9F International Businesses, concluded the day by showcasing the uniqueness of an AI consulting robot. He said it offers quick responses, personalised character, round-the clock service and precise tips for customers, all of which are important to every market.