Report: WeChat functions and culturally relevant content are key to engage China’s customers

Luxury brands are keen to engage Chinese customers but a unique approach is needed as China’s ecosystem is itself unique. In response, Reuter: Intelligence has released a report on connecting with Chinese consumers digitally on various apps and online platforms.

Currently, WeChat has about 1.132 billion monthly active users, who use the platform to complete a vast array of tasks, including paying bills, booking tickets, transferring money, and consuming news on the platform. The app contains more than one million mini programmes to perform these actions, serving 230 million daily active and 600 million monthly active WeChat mini programme users.

The report highlights that campaigns trying to tap into the market are employing various functionalities of WeChat with emotional, highly culturally-relevant content that could achieve success.

For example, British Airways’ ‘Flying the Nest’ campaign built on family feelings with a video of a Chinese student who goes to college in London, leaving her mother and father in Chengdu. She narrates about her fear of departing her family before her parents give her a surprise visit. It concludes with a QR code promoted to viewers who can download a guide in WeChat with travel information, translations, and immigration tips.

The report has also analysed a host of marketing campaigns and categorised them by the criteria of; aspirational, experiential, inspirational, immersive, and engaging. The report views these as crucial to creating noteworthy campaign content if understood and applied well on WeChat.

  • Aspirational campaigns are defined as creating moments that let customers imagine their ideal self.
  • Experiential campaigns are aimed at activating consumers with digital content to visiting a property or venue and taking part in something ‘real’.
  • Inspirational works touch hearts and speak to the greater good.
  • Immersive campaigns offer detailed guidance on deeper brand stories, product explanations, and provide extensive information.
  • Engaging campaigns sync up with WeChat’s functionalities to take the users into a closed-loop from content to purchase.

Helen Song, director of public relations at Atlantis Sanya commented on the criteria saying,”Even though the usage of social media is immediate and rapid, the strategy should be long-term. We leverage the entire WeChat ecosystem to cover the consumer purchasing process, including building content to inspire and create impact – followed by a clear call to action. The call to action can be still within WeChat, or tapping through to visit our official website or travel agents.”

But though WeChat is seen as a super-app that can be used to achieve almost every consumer need and is the foundation of digital communications in China, the report also makes clear not to neglect other platforms. User-generated tools such as RED and Douyin offer exciting new opportunities in forming innovative connections with affluent Chinese consumers.

Influencers on RED have been in especially fierce competition with their rivals. According to the report, brands should analyse who is the right fit and not simply pay a fixed fee for view numbers.

And on Douyin, brands can create content that users can physically copy, or offer a space that can be visited and in the hope users will visit to take shareable videos. Culturally relevant hashtags can help, as will a sense of humour as influencers on Douyin readily poke fun at themselves.

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