Advertising Age just released a special report on “Women to Watch” in China for 2013, which for the second year highlights the top female trailblazers of China’s advertising industry. Among the 19 women profiled, the luxury industry features prominently, with five women hailing from luxury companies. Representing luxury autos, watches, spirits, hospitality, and fashion publications, each of the following marketing pros listed below tailored her brand’s strategy to fit the unique demands of the China market. Keep reading to learn more about their challenges and successes in luxury marketing:
Violet Li, Cadillac
Li, the deputy general director in charge of marketing, branding, sales & after-sale, is credited with coming up with a marketing strategy which “taps into Chinese fascination with Americana” by creating a “Route 66 community” in which Cadillac’s Chinese customers and fans send pictures and postcards of themselves traveling on America’s iconic Route 66. This campaign is especially facilitated through Sina Weibo and WeChat, where the company publishes content “from U.S. trips Cadillac hosts for Chinese opinion formers to cruise along Route 66 in a Cadillac.”
Rane Xue, Tag Heuer
Xue’s main challenge as China Brand Director for the LVMH-owned watch company is the fact that Tag Heuer’s “sporty character doesn’t conform to Chinese expectations of luxury.” In response, Xue adjusted the brand’s marketing to its above-35 demographic in China, signing respected actor Chen Daoming as a brand ambassador, whose brand image shifted Tag Heuer “from something purely sporty to something a little more status-driven, authority-driven,” said Xue.
Su Mang, Trends Media Group
Su Mang is best known as the executive publisher of Harper’s Bazaar, but as Vice President of Trends Media Group, she oversees 18 different titles, including Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and Good Housekeeping. According to Ad Age, she is “one of the most influential figures in the Chinese fashion media world,” and “Under Trends’ partnership with Hearst Corp., she insists on editorial control over the magazine, which allows her the freedom to run original content about Chinese culture, art and poetry.”
June Seah, Hilton
The hotel chain’s director of regional marketing for Greater China and Mongolia “is also Hilton’s in-house expert for hotels around the world, charged with making Hilton properties more appealing and accessible to Chinese heading overseas, especially those in trendy locations like Europe and Hawaii.” She is credited with establishing the “Hilton Huanying” (Hilton Welcome) program worldwide, which provides Mandarin-language channels, slippers (some of which are designed by Vivienne Tam), a kettle with Chinese tea, and Chinese food on the menus. According to Seah, “Hilton is the only one to develop a full program under a Chinese name.”
Liya Zhang, Pernod Ricard
As brand director for Martell cognac, as well as G.H. Mumm and Perrier-Jouet Champagne brands, Zhang’s challenge is to market Pernod Ricard’s brands to the private drinker set, as alcohol-heavy official and business banquets remain in a slump. According to Zhang, China’s high-end drinkers “like to show off by displaying knowledge, rather than just money, an insight marketers need to use in their strategies and products.” In addition, she states that the company’s cognac consumers are “younger” and “more trendy,” while Champagne is preferred mainly in more cosmopolitan, larger cities at the moment.