Luxury brands across the world are working hard to win over Chinese consumers online, but Hong Kong jewelry brand Chow Tai Fook earns the title for the best China digital marketing strategy in think tank L2’s annual ranking.
Released on May 22, L2’s annual Digital IQ Index for luxury brands in China found that the jeweler was only one of three brands to earn the firm’s designation of “genius,” which was calculated by assessing each brand’s prowess at e-commerce, social media, digital marketing, and mobile. It was joined by second-place Tommy Hilfiger and third-place Coach in the elite category.
According to the report, most brands in the study have a lot of catching up to do with their digital strategies. Out of all the brands surveyed, only 10 percent earned L2’s designation as “gifted” and 13 percent were listed as “average,” but 61 percent were described as “feeble” in their China digital marketing skills. Chinese brands fared better than Western brands on average, and watch companies tended to have slightly more digital competence than fashion labels.
Chow Tai Fook’s high markings come from a combination of factors, including a user-friendly site with product customization, a loyalty program that incorporates gamification, and “robust multichannel integration.” The report finds that the company also has a solid mobile commerce setup and strong SEO on China’s top search engines. Furthermore, the brand is active on Alibaba’s Tmall, a discount-oriented site that has generally scared away most high-end Western luxury brand wary of damaging their high-end image.
Meanwhile, Tommy Hilfiger and Coach have also come up with some innovative digital marketing in China this year. Tommy Hilfiger’s localized site, WeChat-integrated loyalty program, engaged Weibo community, and mobile app promotion have all contributed to the brand’s digital success this year. Coach has also made strong efforts with innovative Weibo campaigns, a revamped Chinese site, and an active presence on Tuding, the Chinese version of Instagram. One campaign highlight this year was the brand’s “My First Coach” Mother’s Day campaign.
Despite the “feeble” state of most brands’ digital presence in China, many are improving their digital marketing skills. Luxury brand presence on the colossally important mobile messaging app WeChat grew by 51 percent over the past year (although less than half of all brands have a WeChat account), while Fendi, Piaget, and Bally were listed as the most-improved brands compared to last year.