WeChat — The Tie that Binds Luxury Brands’ Events in China

    WeChat Mini Programs are becoming the gold standard for luxury brands' event in China. Here is how you can use WeChat before, during, and after the event.
    WeChat Mini Programs are becoming the gold standard for event marketing. Yves Saint Laurent, the well-known French luxury fashion brand, launched a hotel-themed pop-up store at the Shanghai Modern Art Museum at the end of last year. Photo: YSL.
    Ruonan ZhengAuthor
      Published   in Technology

    Visitors to Louis Vuitton’s trunk exhibition in Shanghai may feel overwhelmed by the 1,600 artifacts on display. To navigate the event with ease, the brand designed a WeChat Mini Program to keep visitors’ focused on the art. The Mini Program includes an audio guide, virtual games, selfie spot, instant social sharing, and more.

    Luxury brands are all about creating dreams, and what’s better than creating a space where consumers can immerse themselves in a brand’s story? But how can brands make this memory stick? Like the above Louis Vuitton example, WeChat Mini Programs are becoming the gold standard. The Mini Program is an app within WeChat, which holds the attention of 1 billion monthly users. It has become the facilitator and witness to that experience. It also breaks the boundaries of time and location, becoming a permanent space in which visitors can “stop by” anytime.

    The audio guide and social sharing are just a few features it can provide for event marketing. First, it’s convenient to access through WeChat — meaning users don’t need to switch between apps on their phones. The integration within WeChat provides users with the ability to share news about an event with their friends, read a post by key opinion leaders (KOLs) who may attend the event, and even receive push notifications about the latest news on the event. During the event, users can experience it in different ways, such as through AR, VR, live streams, and audio guides. After the event, they can even browse and purchase souvenirs within the Mini Program with WeChat Pay.

    Developing a designated event Mini Program does not need too long — it can take up to three months, according to the latest report from digital agency 31Ten, which illustrated in detail WeChat usage at events. The agency also released a hands-on guide on how brands can use WeChat before, during, and after the event. Here are three examples that are most relevant to luxury brands and how they worked:

    YSL — Beauty Hotel#

    Yves Saint Laurent, the well-known French luxury fashion brand, launched a hotel-themed pop-up store at the Shanghai Modern Art Museum at the end of last year. The three-story pop-up "hotel" was a lavish display of the YSL lifestyle — it featured a YSL Beauty Suite with a king-size bed, a bathtub, and a Spa Room featuring the brand’s new skincare products. It also had a studio for visitors to try on makeup, as well as an event space for parties and live music. Before the event, visitors could check in ahead of time on WeChat and read the instructions for the game when visiting, e.g., how to unlock a hidden room as a surprise.

    Louis Vuitton — VVV trunk exhibition#

    LV’s lush “The Art of Travel” (on display through February 1st) opened at the Shanghai Exhibition Center on November 16th, after packed showings in Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, and New York City. The exhibition featured more than 1,600 objects from the Louis Vuitton archives and presented the products in various themed displays, from the evolution of transportation (boat, car, train, and air travel) to a range of different personal perspectives (writer, musician, designer, or celebrity). Compared to other brands, Louis Vuitton’s VVV packed a lot of information and function into their Mini Program, which is more like a stand-alone app or virtual personal tour assistant. Before the event, WeChat was the one-stop shop for all the information that’s needed, including opening hours, address, directions, and tickets. Visitors can play with different interactive features for an early peak as well.

    Prada — “Storytelling” by Liu Ye#

    Prada presented “Storytelling,” a solo show by Chinese painter Liu Ye, and curated by Udo Kittelmann, with the support of Fondazione Prada. On view from November 10, 2018 to January 20, 2019, it took place in Rong Zhai, the historic building that Prada repaired and renovated in 2017 in Shanghai. The exhibition showcased the work of Liu Ye through a selection of 30 paintings created from 1992 onwards. According to Prada, “Liu Ye expresses an intimate and sensual imagination, that feeds on heterogeneous sources related to literature, history of art and popular culture from the Western and Eastern hemisphere,” thus serving as a starting point to generate conversation between Western and Asian cultures. Before the event, users could register for the event with a QR code. The page also included information about the visuals and messages visitors would experience.

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