China, what’s the future? (WTF): Influencer marketing and live streaming

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China is emerging as an innovator nation and is becoming more and more evident. Especially baffling is the rate at which platforms and technology are leapfrogging ahead of those we know in the West. How can we stay up to date to reach those valuable Chinese consumers? And how can we learn from China?

To answer these questions, Chinese creative agency Qumin launched a dedicated podcast titled ‘China, WTF?!’, short for ‘What’s the Future’ (of course). We caught up with them to catch the first episode about Influencer Marketing and Live Streaming in China. This episode was hosted by Qumin’s chief executive Arnold Ma who invited Lauren Hallanan, an expert on the two topics, to share her experiences.

We’ve picked out 10 interesting points.

Influencer Marketing in China

Why does influencer marketing work in China? A cultural explanation.

Many elements embedded in Chinese culture make Influencer Marketing an especially effective tool in China.

‘Mianzi’, the culture of ‘face’, refers to a citizen’s position or status within society. Influencers can help increase your reputation by showing you how you can behave to be more popular among your peers. ‘Guanxi’, the Chinese relationship and network culture, sees influencers as part of the personal circle of trust.

Influencer marketing here vs in China

Western vs Chinese consumers and their use of influencers

Chinese consumers’ different use of influencers compared to your usual UK audience can be put down to independence. Westerners are more independent consumers in the sense that they’ve probably already decided to purchase a product and influencers just re-affirm their decision. Chinese consumers often look to influencers to help them made a decision in the first place.

Working with Western vs Chinese influencers from a brand’s perspective

According to Lauren, working with Chinese influencers is not so different in China. The only thing to bear in mind is that Chinese accounts can grow massively overnight. Also, Chinese influencers may be a little more inexperienced and might need ‘hand holding’ which anything outside of the content creation task.

The different types of influencers and which brands should work with

Qumin touch on the different types of influencers which include celebrities, top tier, and ‘long tail’ influencers. Your current brand reputation in China is an indication of which influencers you should work with.

Why Chinese consumers don’t care about your brand heritage

Brand heritage stories don’t resonate with Chinese consumers due to international brands’ short presence in China and a lack of trust from Chinese consumers towards their brand messages. Brands should therefore rather emphasize a different aspect more suited to the Chinese market.

The top Chinese trend in 2019: Health & Fitness

Health and Fitness is the trend to jump onto in 2019, says Lauren. However, brands should bear in mind that beauty standards are different in China. Promoting a toned body image will not be as popular as the skinny look – both with female and male consumers.

How to understand and tap into Chinese live-streaming marketing:

An overview of live streaming in China

Live streaming in China as long surpassed what we know from YouTube or Instagram. What started out as a copy from American models turned into a mature and complex landscape than we could ever imagine. Over 200 Chinese platforms have incorporated live streaming across four different categories: gaming, entertainment, education, and, most importantly, e-commerce.

Why is e-commerce live streaming so popular in China? Debunking the QVC, teleshopping preconception

While we’re tempted to ignore the potential of e-commerce live streaming by comparing it to QVC and teleshopping, the reality is quite different. Chinese live streaming is engaging, fun, and a useful tool to learn about products, leading thousands of consumers to tune into sessions.

How can brands make live-streaming authentic and entertaining? Meet Austin!

Austin (李佳琦) is a famous male live streaming influencer who is most famous for his entertaining lipstick reviews. His honest and vibrant reviews have earned him a loyal following as well as a long list of stellar clients. Israeli beauty brand AHAVA leveraged his potential, sending their sales skyrocketing within minutes of their origins campaign.

Challenges and tips for brands doing live streaming

Although live streaming can be intimidating, precisely due to the fact that it is live, brands shouldn’t be intimidated. At the end of the day, as long as you work with trusted influencers and build your own in-house capabilities, great moments create great content.

What China might look like in 2020 and why live social commerce isn’t just a fad

True to the title of the podcast, Qumin finishes off asking what China 2020 might look like. Quoting Taobao’s CEO, Lauren reckons that live social commerce isn’t just a fad, it’s here to stay as ‘the future mainstream model’.

For the full podcast tune in below or download the episode on iTunes or Spotify.

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