Danielle Bailey presents at Jing Daily's China Luxury 2.0 panel discussion on February 24, 2014. (Minu Park)
On February 24, Jing Daily gathered a panel of China digital marketing experts and luxury professionals at its headquarters in New York City for “China Luxury 2.0,” a panel discussion of the rapidly changing digital luxury marketing landscape in China. Hailing from the market research, digital marketing, and tech startup fields, the panel was moderated by Jasmine Sun, an e-commerce and retail expert at Shanghai-based growth consultancy SmithStreet.
The first panelist, Danielle Bailey, the digital research lead of luxury social media research firm L2 Think Tank, provided an overview of China’s top social media platforms and discussed the ways in which brands can best engage Chinese net users. Comparing user numbers on the country’s wide array of social platforms, Bailey outlined the dominance of microblogging platform Sina Weibo and the newer mobile messaging app WeChat in the digital marketing landscape.
“WeChat is where it’s at right now,” she said. “If you’re not there to develop your brand, you’ve missed the boat.” According to her research, many international luxury brands are only getting into the “basics” of WeChat right now, and it will be important in the future for them to tap into the app’s more advanced functions in order to come up with fresh, creative campaigns.
Next, Jonathan Smith, the managing director of Hot Pot Digital, an agency dedicated to reaching the affluent Chinese consumer and global traveler through online channels, discussed his experience developing Chinese digital luxury marketing campaigns for companies such as Mulberry, Harrods, Ted Baker, and Farfetch.
“You’d be hard-pushed today to find a more discerning consumer than the Chinese luxury consumer,” said Smith, explaining the need for sophisticated marketing techniques. “They’re more affluent than ever before, they’re younger than ever before, and they’re more savvy than ever before.” In his talk, he covered the strategies employed by his company in creating Sina Weibo and WeChat campaigns for his company’s clients that conveyed the brand’s heritage to its consumers.
One main topic highlighted by Smith was the importance of Chinese key opinion leaders, or KOLs. In his view, it is important for brands to identify the right KOLs whose images fit with that of the brand, rather than choosing simply based on number of followers.
Finally, Bomoda CEO Brian Buchwald provided valuable China marketing lessons learned from his experience launching a Chinese tech startup geared toward Chinese fashionistas. Some of his main takeaways included the importance of mobile platforms as opposed to PCs in the China market and the constant, rapid development of new platforms and technology.
“For many Chinese consumers, mobile is the primary point of entry—not PCs,” said Buchwald during his presentation. As a result, Bomoda recently launched a new mobile app and has expanded its social media focus to include both Sina Weibo and WeChat. “New platforms scale incredibly quickly,” he said. “Two years ago, nobody was talking about WeChat. It’s entirely possible that two years from now, people won’t be talking about WeChat and they’ll be talking about new platforms.”