What Brands Needed to Know About KOLs in 2019

    KOLs have changed the face of marketing in China, so you should be aware of the big KOL luxury happenings that affected the Chinese market this year.
    KOLs have changed the face of marketing in China, so you should be aware of the big KOL luxury happenings that affected the Chinese market this year. Credit: Photo: Shutterstock. Illustration: Haitong Zheng/Jing Daily.
      Published   in Retail

    Finding a trustworthy KOL who also fits your brand is often the first step to success in China. But it’s rarely easy: You need an influencer whose image, personality, and temperament fits your brand but who also has in-depth knowledge of your product. Therefore, when hiring or collaborating with KOLs, companies must be cautious and think about brand suitability first (although unexpected choices can sometimes reap rewards). But whatever your strategy, most potential influencers know their sectors well and are worth watching, particularly when it comes to customer interaction.

    This year has seen more daring choices in KOLs from luxury brands, the most notable being Prada, which tapped Chinese idol Cai Xukun to represent them. Meanwhile, the video app platform Douyin has seen a steady rise in three content trends including celebrities and comedy, Jing Daily revealed how WeChat pros are growing their comments, and all was not well in the popular world of live streaming, which is now under scrutiny after Li Jiaqi's "rollover incident," forcing brands to question the credibility, popularity, and pricing structures of KOLs.

    Below are Jing Daily’s top 5 KOL insights from 2019. For more of our 2019 year in review analysis, read on here.

    The Live-Stream “Incident” that Rocked China’s KOL Market#

    There were lots of takeaways from Li Jiaqi's disastrous “rollover” incident whereby his claims that a pan was completely nonstick proved untrue during a livestream. KOLs should obviously test products before livestreaming with them, since as it’s difficult to sell anything at all without the consumer’s trust. Consumers were also made aware of the importance of being more critical about what KOLs say online and doing further research so they can judge for themselves. The incident, which seems to have weakened Li’s credibility, has sparked questions among Chinese netizens about the nature of KOLs and of the overall credibility of the livestream medium itself. Read more

    Prada Bends to Idol Culture While Expanding in China#

    This year represented a big leap for the Italian fashion house Prada — a company that rarely attaches its name to any celebrity, let alone a controversial Chinese one. This effort to stay relevant to the younger generations of Chinese consumers has seen the house include more diverse male stars from China (and elsewhere), like the singer, dancer, and rapper Cai Xukun.

    Thus, brands are now realizing that internet fans in China play an important role in creating celebrities, which is why figures like Kun are necessary for marketing to the country’s growing legions of celebrity followers. Read more

    How Content Is Changing on China’s Fast-Growing Douyin App#

    To run a successful campaign on Douyin, brands must first understand what type of content performs best on the platform. The Chinese firm CAAS Data publishes monthly rankings of the ten fastest-growing social media accounts on the app’s marketplace, and in 2019, that data pointed to three content trends: Celebrities and Comedy, Single-Vertical Content, and the Mini TV Series. KOLs upped their game, and accounts became increasingly professional. Since then, large media companies have started heavily investing in content made specifically for the platform. Read more

    How Chinese Influencers Calculate Their Fees#

    Influencer marketing in China is surprisingly expensive. While several websites and resources disclose average influencer prices in most sectors, those figures are based on the influencer’s popularity and the platforms they post on so are often generalizations. To help make these structures more transparent, Jing Daily has identified the six key factors that KOLs consider when setting their prices and deciding whether or not they should work with brands. Understanding these factors can help create a more harmonious relationship for both parties. Read more

    The Top 5 Ways WeChat Pros Grow their Comments Sections#

    Many brands’ account managers tend to overlook the power of interacting with readers in the comments section on platforms like WeChat, yet such a seemingly minor thing can make a considerable difference to brand perception. During 2019, luxury brands continued to ask what they can do on WeChat to make better use of their articles’ comments section and keep readers returning. Top KOLs used five key methods to grow user interaction and encourage real and consistent dialogue with readers. Read more

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