Stanislas de Nervo and Nicolas Imbert sat down for an interview at China Connect to discuss the theme of how to be embraced by Asian consumers.
Some of the most successful digital strategies in Asia, explored in 6 sections: effective approaches and methods employed by major brands on social media networks to attract – or even seduce – Japanese, Chinese and Korean clientele, and win their ongoing loyalty.
1 All Presence
The first approach, known as "All Presence", consists of increasing the points of contact and opportunities for exchange through an increase in the frequency of messages across a maximum number of platforms.
For example, McDonald’s increases promotions or dedicated operations on WeChat and Weibo in order to draw consumers to visit their restaurants more often.
The second approach is to reinforce the interpersonal dynamic with a strategy that harnesses proximity to engage consumers by asking questions and eliciting reactions.
For example, a distributor of cultural products in Japan attained answers to a lengthy questionnaire in this very fashion, managing to enlist a full 10% of its followers on the social media platform Line (the most popular network in Japan).
The third strategy consists of a brand offering advantages to its community in the form of benefits and gifts as rewards to accompany their purchases.
A supermarket in Hong Kong rewarded their consumers in this way by offering online access to highly popular TV series as a reward for online purchases.
Another technique is to create an emotional bond through the use of content that portrays the deeper value of a brand through a more emotional angle.
This is particularly true in Japan, where various major brands have created "emoji" – strikingly original and endearing emoticons – which are collected and shared online.
Brands can also turn towards relying on trendsetters and ambassadors to promote their products to consumers.
A Korean snack brand gained attention in this way by using pop singers and local actresses. The representatives described the difficulty of getting their hands on the coveted snacks, which resulted in successive sell-outs of the product and reinforcing an aura of desire around the brand.
6 The Second Date
To forge both fruitful and long-lasting relationships with consumers, knowing how to build brand loyalty becomes an essential asset. Promotions, discounts and exclusive offers play an important role to this effect in Asia.
This is most prevalent on the major social media networks (WeChat in China, Line in Japan, KakaoTalk in Korea, etc.) of the region, and luxury brands are no exception.
Social media communication in Asia often takes on a more playful and visual dimension.. The use and habits linked with smartphones have developed quicker in Asia than in the West.
Social networking in China
WeChat is more than a simple tool of instant messaging. It's grown intoa complete social media ecosystem which features various tools (including a payment solution) and a countless array of third-party applications. WeChat provides an excellent platform for direct individual interaction between a brand and the members of its community, accelerating marketing personalization and customer service. It's range today includes around 700 million active users, 222 million of whom are in continental China.
However, WeChat isn't the only platform in use in China, and brands must take into account the impact of other social networks. First off, Sina Weibo has 549 million active users and is an indispensable resource which plays an important role working in lock step with brands in terms of approach. Internet users stay tuned to Weibo for news and updates, and to get a better understanding of the world of the brand.
At times, it's also wise to choose secondary social media platforms for more targeted marketing approaches. In China, this method allows brands to reach tens of millions of consumers and can generate outstanding results.
A a few more important illustrations for brands:
In China and in other countries, trendsetters are an indispensable tool on social networks and must be chosen with the utmost care.
Advertising programming is quite efficient in China, and the volume of data available on users exceeds that of most other markets.
Digital development in China tends to be horizontal and can expand into other fields.
Responses on WeChat (with active moderation) are expected within 10 minutes (as opposed to 2 hours), a result of the sharp rise in automated technology.
Social media in Japan and Korea
Unlike China, Japan and Korea feature the strong online presence of Facebook and Twitter, with millions of users and a substantial penetration rate. But in each of these countries, far and away the most vital social network is a local mobile network: Line in Japan, and Kakao Talk in Korea.
Line and Kakao Talk allow brands to interact with their client base in the closest possible way, working to establish a direct dialog that has a positive impact on brand perception. These networks also help foster a high rate of transformation (purchases from the brand online or visits to a physical store).
Social media communication requires that brands invest into the local adaptation of their campaigns and the creation of dedicated campaigns.
The stakes are even higher considering that Asia is well ahead in the realm of social media, and thus the best practices of these markets will soon be assessed for use in other countries.