Friday Forum – We bring the hottest questions from the Chinese Social & Digital space to our brightest minds.

周五论坛——让中国社交与数字领域最热门的话题碰撞出思维火花.

How can brands stand out creatively in 2020 in China?

2020年,品牌如何在中国市场脱颖而出?

Chris Gu

Senior Creative Director / We Are Social

如今品牌想要从复杂市场中脱颖而出,必须清楚地知道自己是谁,

如果把品牌比喻成一个人,他必须言行一致在消费者心中树立自己的个性形象,

才能和他的目标消费者建立情感联系,从而延展更深层次的“人际关系”。

Today it’s necessary for the brands to know who they are to stand out in the Chinese market. Like a person, the brand must consistently establish its image in the minds of consumers. Only in this way the brands can establish an emotional connection with their target consumers, and achieving a deeper interpersonal relationship.

首先最重要的,我认为是和对的人在对的地点说对的话。

也就是在适当的平台,对目标受众说出言之有物的内容,讲述引人入胜的「故事」!

虽然很多人讨厌广告,但是每个人都喜欢听故事。

在故事里融入品牌精神和产品特色,才能自然而然触达用户内心。

Firstly, what brands choose to communicate needs to be meaningful to the target audience and be able to tell fascinating “stories”. More and more people are resenting ads, but everyone appreciates a great story. You can only create a meaningful connection between the users and the brand spirit/product features if it is mixed with a good story.

其次是品牌跨界合作/IP合作,这就相当于让消费者看到这个品牌的「朋友圈」

志同道合的品牌跨界/IP合作,总能激发很多新奇好玩,独一无二的创意。

让双方品牌粉丝看到自己品牌的朋友圈,从而自发传播不断扩展到更多人群。

Secondly, cross-brand/IP collaborations can always inspire unique and fun ideas and showcase the brand’s inner friends circle of like-minded brands. Additionally. It gives brands the chance to expand their reach to new fans, and these fans in return will reach out to new people.

最后是巧妙激活粉丝经济,转化代言人/KOL的粉丝为品牌本身的粉丝。

这两年最经典的可能就是赞助《偶像练习生》的农夫山泉维他命水,

从一瓶普通的饮料,成为助力自己的偶像实现梦想的钥匙,

甚至被一度疯抢到缺货,这就是粉丝经济的巨大力量。

Lastly, clever activations of the fan economy can have amazing results when the fans of influencers/KOLs become fans of the brand itself. A great example is Nongfu Spring Vitamin Water sponsoring Idol Producer. From an ordinary drink, it became the key element to help the idols realizing their dreams. On one occasion, the product even went out of stock.

Heero Zhu

Creative Director / We Are Social

为品牌与消费者打开对话的入口

Expand on the dialogue between brand and consumer.

1、了解对话群体的生活信息与其建立认同感

Tap into the real-time conversations and establish a clear identity.

越来越年轻的消费群体涌入市场,推动整个消费圈层的年轻化、多元化;不同属性、不同纬度的对话群体,认同他们的生活态度,并与之建立交集。

The young consumers are flooding the market, promoting a new type of youthful mindset and attitudes towards life across all consumer groups. Other consumer groups are inspired by the youth and are establishing connection-points with them.

2、营造与之对话的场景

Build spaces where consumers and brands can meet.

用更多沉浸式的体验与消费场景,让用户设身处地置身于使用场景中,能够迅速拉近产品与用户间地距离;更多品牌/IP之间的合作,用更年轻有趣的消费方式(盲盒/福袋)刺激购买欲。

Brands also have the chance to create immersive experiences such as VR-experiences at physical spaces or pop-up stores that allows the consumers to try out the products in unique and never-seen-before ways. These immersive experiences can be done in collaboration with brands/IPs to showcase new and trendy ways of shopping such as surprise grab bags/boxes. It can stimulate the consumers’ relationship with the brand and buying desires.

3、营造长期可持续的话题、引导用户产生更多互动

Create engaging topics and inspire users to generate more interactions.

关注优质UGC的培养与塑造,孵化一批行动力强、时尚触觉敏锐、有个性差异的忠实用户;这些内容也会直接充实到内容群中,并被快速分享给其他用户,运用小圈层去辐射更多群体。

Pay attention to and utilize the shaping of high-quality UGCs. Embrace and nurture loyal users with strong voices and a sense of fashion to represent the brand. These “micro-influencers” can be a part of the overall communication that can be shared by others more authentically.

Mila Lin

Creative Director / We Are Social

品牌创意建设需要思考三点问题:

Three issues must be considered for the creative construction of a brand.

首先,是否有快速拥抱新技术的能力,因为它决定了你品牌发展的边界。

Firstly, does the brand have the ability to embrace new technologies quickly? Because it determines the limitations of your brand development.

如今,AI,5G,云,物联网,芯片相关技术的并行爆发,使得我们依托技术有可能唤醒万物,也就意味着这个时代“万物皆媒体”成为可能,技术的发展让创造力可以被更大程度的释放。

Today, with the developments of AI, 5G, Cloud, and IoT,  we will be able to connect and interact with everything through technology. It will allow for the concept of “everything is media” where creativity can be unleashed at a greater scale.

其次,新时代如何划分受众?

Secondly, how to distinguish the audience?

传统的受众划分一般是男性,女性,学生,白领, 新贵,中产等。但受众划分变得更加精细和实时:佛系,吃土派,大猪蹄子,快乐肥宅,斜杆青年等。小众文化也可以成为大众流行的时代,获得全新成长和焕发新生的机会。

Traditionally, the audience is divided into male, female, student, white-collar worker, upstart, middle class, etc. But now through technology and big data, the audience can be sub-categorized in real-time, such as Buddha-like people, poor guys, unreliable men, happy fat otaku, lazy youth, etc. Niche cultures can become popular and generate new opportunities for growth.

最后,品牌和消费者如何沟通?

Finally, how can a brand communicate with consumers?

GenZ可能是最难说服的受众,因为他们是广告的原住民,对广告拥有太强的免疫力,和自动过滤能力,又拥有太多的选择,信息本身的传递又非常的快速。唯一的办法就是让用户参与品牌建设的每个环节,共同成长。

GenZ might be the most difficult target group to persuade because they are more or less immune to the advertisement and can filter out information they don’t care about. Besides, they are exposed to so many choices and products with access to a massive amount of information. What becomes necessary is to allow the users to proactively be a part of the brand construction, and develop the brand together.

总结一下,就是这个时代,一个能快速拥抱新技术,不断保持与受众互动并高速迭代的品牌,必将成为富有生命力的品牌。

In conclusion, in this era, brands that can quickly embrace new technologies and keep maintaining the interaction with audiences will certainly take upon the role as a vital brand in the market.

Nate Lei

Creative Director / We Are Social

想要进入中国很简单,但是想要深入中国很难。更符合中国国情,更懂得中国消费者需求甚至是渴求的操作,在未来将会成为一个重要因素。中国发展太快了,以至于整个民族自信心也日益变强。在对品牌的一些操作上,往往会表现得更加“激进”。

It is easy to enter the Chinese market, but difficult to master it. What it comes down to is the ability to understand Chinese consumers’ needs and desires to remain successful in the future. Chinese consumers know the importance of their market for global brands. Therefore, the consumers expect more than before which requires more radical strategies among the brands.

举个例子,过去有许多品牌为了迎合中国消费者,经常把一些肤浅的中国元素、甚至是 I ❤️ CHINA 之类的文字直接印在商品上,就美其名是中国特别系列。但这种做法在今时今日怕是行不通了,毕竟中国品牌也在世界崛起,越来越多人开始在社交平台上共享知识,并且因为共同的兴趣而聚成派系。强烈的民族自尊心,让他们已经无法满足于过去一些品牌肤浅的表达。

For example, in the past, many brands often used superficial elements to connect with Chinese consumers and culture. Even words such as I❤ CHINA could be found directly on the products. This doesn’t work anymore. Chinese brands are starting to compete with world-leading brands that have a good understanding of the Chinese culture, people are changing their perception about advertisement through social media, and the national pride has made them demand more sophisticated branding.

所以如果品牌想要在中国市场上脱颖而出,免不了对中国更深层次的挖掘和理解。甚至可以与官方或权威联合,打造出更受中国消费者认可的东西。

Therefore, brands must have a deeper understanding of China to stand out. It can even be achieved through official partnerships with local entities and brands which is more recognized by Chinese consumers.

2. 品牌的创意和策略不应该被“流量”左右。中国的社交媒体可以说是先天不良的,嗷嗷待哺的围观群众占了大多数,但实际上内容的产出者是很少的。一个社交媒体平台的衰落,往往就是因为它的内容产出者离开了。

Brand creativity and strategy should not be
adapted to influencers/KOLs. China’s social media is facing the issue of having
a few influencers/KOLs providing the content to the platform. The decline of
certain social media platforms is often due to the few content producers leave
the platform.

特别是“千禧一代”的消费者,因为成长的环境的快速改变,导致了他们拥有更自我、更多元的观念。不愿意随波逐流的同时,兴趣往往也会不断地发生变化。

Especially millennials have a stronger sense of individualism and the need to be unique. Unwilling to follow the trends, their interests constantly are changing.

所以品牌更应该做的是,不断产出有质量的内容,让消费者与之产生共鸣。而不是去追逐所谓的“流量”,不在乎品质,也不在乎品牌和产品以及“流量”之间的关系,强行连接。只有合拍的“流量”才是品牌的归宿,不合拍的,只会引起大众对品牌的反感。

Therefore, what brands should do is to produce quality content that consumers can resonate with. Stop blindly trying to utilize or impact influencers/KOLs, and ignoring the importance of having a natural connection between the influencer/KOL and the brand/product. If the relationship with influencers/KOls is not done carefully without caring about how they match the brand, it may lead to public resentment of the brand.

3. 高科技和网络虽然是一个解决方案,但未必最佳的解决方案。因为人类的感官体验,还无法做到完全拟真。品牌可以考虑通过更多的、不以销售为目的的线下体验活动。拉近消费者的距离,从而在网络消费的决策中占据更大的因素。

Although high-tech and internet allow for great interaction with the consumers, it might not be the best solution to create immersive experiences together with the brand. It can be worthwhile to invest in more offline activities that are less about selling products, but more about closing the distance between the consumers and enhance the brand relationship that can benefit the decision makings.

并且在越来越少交流,人人都社交恐惧的现今,线下体验活动应该更多地做成让消费者自由探索或者更私密的模式,以方便消费者感受并为品牌发声。

Furthermore, with the increase of social phobia and real-life communication, offline experiences should be utilized for the chance of experiencing the brand in a more intimate level among the consumers, and gain a better sense of the brand voice.

Herbert Guo

Associate Creative Director / We Are Social

中国是大且又复杂的市场,贫富差距较大、地区文化不同。而贫富差距导致了广告受众的接受度不同。大多数贫困的老百姓所能接受的是便宜的东西,没有那么挑剔。因此叫卖式的重复循环播放的广告对他们是有效的。

With China’s massive size and differences between regions and cities, it doesn’t exist a one-size-fit-all advertisement strategy. The gaps between the high-income and low-income target groups mean different acceptability of what type of advertisement that works. People with limited income are less picky and seek cheaper products, so it is effective to focus on repeatable price-sale advertisements.

在一线城市,人们对广告的审美要求更高。他们不仅想知道这个品牌的科技,还需要在精神和情感层面得到共鸣。所以,在表达产品功能的同时与消费者建立情感沟通是最优的方式。

Consumers from first-tier cities have higher demands on the advertisement from an aesthetic perspective. They not only want to understand the technical features of the brand/product, but it needs to resonate with them on a spiritual and emotional level.

品牌在中国的突围:低端市场围绕功能和价格优势,高端市场围绕功能和情感沟通的方式会让品牌更加清晰的出现在消费者面前。在广告投放上,需要细致地了解了解地区文化,用本地人更能够接受的方式去传播,这样保证投放效果。

As for advertising, if a brand wants to succeed in China, it needs to be aware of the cultural differences between target groups from the low-tier and high-tier cities/regions. Focus on function and price in the low-tier markets, and emphasize on the functionality of the product and emotional attributes in the high-tier markets.