Social Responsibility Could Be Key To Deeper Connections With Chinese Consumers

MTV Redefine (Image: Viacom)

Last month I attended MTV Redefine, an art exhibition and auction held by, and that raised funds for, the Staying Alive Foundation (SAF). The SAF benefits grassroots HIV and AIDS charity programs created by and aimed at young people. The event was a complete success, bringing a stellar roster of contemporary artists, such as Mark Quinn, Ryan McGuinness, Juergen Teller and Gérard Rancinan, each of whom graciously donated work. With the help of legendary Swiss auctioneer and collector Simon De Pury, the event raised over US$1 million.

Following MTV Redefine, I hopped over to the Asia Contemporary Art Show in Hong Kong to see some of the Chinese artists who have recently been making waves. For observers of China’s luxury sector, brands collaborating with Chinese artists are nothing new (some examples here, here and here). But the MTV Redefine event highlighted an innovative model for social responsibility for brands that are looking for more long-term equity in the marketplace in China.

As Chinese consumers become more savvy and diverse in their buying power, will there be an opportunity for luxury brands to create a deeper connection through social responsibility? There’s been a question of how brands will evolve and move past the bling stage, and my question is: what happens after they move past the post-bling stage?

From UNICEF to amfAR, the fashion and luxury market in the West hasn’t shied away from creating sustainable partnerships that benefit these charities, doing important work through underwriting events or selling co-branded items to benefit non-profit organizations.

Now that’s a model that creates a win-win for all sides, and one that will help engage Chinese consumers in a more dynamic and thoughtful way.

Paul Dien of Sodamedia is a brand strategist who works with organizations from both public and private sectors to develop innovative, creative marketing strategies. Most recently, Paul was the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, a global HIV prevention charity, where he was responsible for fundraising and marketing campaigns with partners such as H&M, the Body Shop, and Urban Outfitters. 

(Opinions expressed by Jing Daily columnists do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Jing Daily editorial team.)


Art & Design, Market Analysis, Marketing, Retail