From glamorous parties to star-studded runway shows, the mass influence of social media means that exclusive events hosted by luxury brands in China are about far more than just the invited guests. In order to gain insight on what it takes to host a successful luxury event in China today, we checked in with Xavier Cagnion, the general manager of Asian event communication agency K2 for an interview via email. With a client roster including Christie’s, Lancôme, Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Cartier, and Glamour Sales, the China-, Japan-, and South Korea-based company handles not only the logistics of planning an event, but also the ever-important social media amplification aspects. Read the interview below to see what Cagnion had to say about the key event-planning trends in China’s luxury industry.
What are some of the key elements needed for a successful luxury event in China?
The knowledge about luxury brands among Chinese consumers has developed a lot in the past few years. And their demand for a more sophisticated and personalized relationship with brands is also dramatically increasing. Holding a successful luxury event in China should take these two facts into consideration. It represents a unique opportunity to show to a selected audience that the brand stays ahead of the game. First, by designing an experience that relays the brand universe in a unique and surprising manner. Secondly, with an attention to every detail making the guest feel truly unique and privileged.
What are the benefits to holding an exclusive luxury event in China when targeting such a large market?
An exclusive luxury event is not designed anymore to just cater for a few selected guests. The echo of the event has to go beyond the first circle of those physically attending the event and reach those interested in sharing this unique brand experience. Keeping the exclusiveness of the event allows controlling the quality of the execution. Starting from there, the brand is in possession of the correct asset and our role is to go beyond that and work out with the client the right digital and media strategy to reach out to a wider audience.
We’ve seen a lot more China runway shows by top international fashion brands over the past year—why do you think it’s becoming so important for fashion labels to hold them in China?
Sooner rather than later, China will become the first market for luxury fashion brands. The recent series of cruise collection runway shows done by Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Chanel in Monaco, New York, and Dubai is a sign that brands are increasingly investing in creating tailor-made experiences for affluent customers to reach them directly in their natural backyard. China will become a marker for these brands, a milestone in their calendar.
Have you planned luxury events in second- or third-tier cities? Is the planning process different for these compared to events held in Shanghai or Beijing?
Over the past 10 years that we have been producing events in China, our activity in second- and third-tier cities continues to grow. The planning process stays almost the same.
Which social media platform is more important for promoting an event in China: Weibo or WeChat?
WeChat is increasingly becoming the adequate medium to develop a relevant brand experience before, during, and after the event takes place. It offers the functionalities to really make the most of this unique moment in time and expand the dialogue with the audience on various fronts.
What was one of your most successful recent China events?
We like to leave it to our partner brands to judge that an event has been successful. Delivering the brand message adequately to the audience, with the right tone and manner are of course compulsory, be it an image driven-event or a sales–driven event. We recently produced a high jewelry private viewing event for Louis Vuitton in Shanghai and we feel that the right ingredients were on point to ensure that the event was successful to achieve the client’s target KPIs overall.
Another example is the Glam Dog fashion show we did on the Bund for Glamour Sales, the leading flash sales website in China. It was really a breakthrough experience in the market as we were able to come up with the concept and execute the show within seven days with amazing impact on social media.