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The Drum Awards Healthcare Awards Case Studies

How Floradix cracked the China market with its iron tonic marketing push


By Awards Analyst, writer

July 9, 2021 | 5 min read

At The Drum Awards for Marketing 2021, QIVA Global won the ‘Healthcare and Pharma’ category with the ‘Beauty is within’ campaign for Salus Haus (Floradix). Here, the team behind the winning entry reveal the secrets of this successful project…

The challenge

For many international brands, the Chinese market remains an enigma; the numbers are dizzying, but the realities of competition can be bruising. Floradix, the European market leader in iron tonics, knew it had a significant opportunity in China; its challenge was how to access it and achieve the market dominance it enjoys in Europe.

Key objectives of this campaign included:

  • To redefine stereotypical notions of beauty;

  • To bring the health benefits of iron to life for a broad swathe of women;

  • To create a unique and innovative message that could speak to the local concerns of women in China;

  • To generate over 15m engagements in the lead-up to China’s Single’s Day and create significant volume of searchable testimonials on Little Red Book, China’s most notorious product discovery platform;

  • To make Floradix a market leader in iron tonics in China.

The strategy

We used ldata obtained through e-commerce to build a more complete understanding of Floradix’s customers. Through this process, we discovered that 50%) were women motivated by their complexion, feelings of wellness and physical indicators of health such as red lips.

We triangulated this insight with health record data to find that low iron effects affect a significantly higher proportion of women in China vs the west. We proposed therefore, that Floradix could expand its target audience from 8.5m to c. 80m were it to broaden its position away from a narrow focus on pregnancy, to one that considered the iron health of women aged 20 –40.

Through a clinical understanding for the different physical manifestations of low-iron amongst women aged 20 –40, we created nine different ‘voices/ pain points’ (including dizziness, pale complexion, period irregularities, fatigue), each of which spoke to and reflected the unique motivations and challenges highlighted in our research (which in turn aligned with the properties of Floradix iron tonic).

The campaign

Rather than pushing a brand message, our research had demonstrated the power of the collective in terms of driving education around female health in China. We found that effective marketing works through connections with real and interconnected networks of people who acquire trust for products and services through each other’s experiences and opinions. As such, and unlike in any other market, the importance of reaching a critical mass of commitment is imperative to generating the level of trust Chinese customers need to buy into a product such as Floradix.

We therefore decided to operate the campaign through independent women, with no formal association to Floradix, but who could speak with authenticity and experience to women of their age.

The thread connecting these women, each of whom were selected based on their alignment to one of the nine ‘voices/pain points’, was beauty – not the stereotypical notions of beauty that remain so prevalent in marketing, but a beauty that emanates from a respect for one’s body and health.

The decision to contextualise and link the myriad of marketing voices through a lens of beauty came from our observation that the global pandemic was removing external opportunities to show beauty, which consequently was being experienced in a new and arguably more authentic way –from within the mind and body.

The results

In the lead up to Singles Day (China’s largest e-commerce festival), marketing through real women effectively generated over 15m engagements with women for whom this stereotype-challenging ‘beauty is within’ message resonated.

Following the campaign, Floradix began to observe the appearance of organic endorsements across product seeding platforms, stimulated by this campaign –their ‘beauty is within’ message continues to unify and effectively resonate with the normal women they seek to inspire.

The little data methodology used by QIVA to innovate with marketing has been adopted by the Floradix team as the core process behind their ongoing sales and marketing strategy. It has subsequently been used to create a new campaign that has involved the use of strategic assets (in this case, copyrighted language that only Floradix owns) to create both offensive and defensive marketing strategies.

Floradix is now the market leader in iron tonics on Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce platform.

This project was a winner at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2021. Find out which competitions in The Drum Awards are currently open and don’t forget to visit our new interactive calendar.

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