Home to the world’s largest and fastest-growing middle class, China is an unmissable market for the global wine industry. But before brands and producers dive straight in with huge marketing campaigns, it’s vital to grasp how Chinese consumers differ from those in Europe or the U.S.A. With an online population of 750 million and a rising cohort of young female wine consumers who swap recommendations on WeChat, the Chinese market calls for a unique approach. Here are three innovative ways that brands are reaching out to China’s digital-savvy generation.
1. The Chinese Kardashians
The trade organisation Wine Australia recently hosted two top Chinese social media influencers, Chufei and Churan, on a two-day visit to Australian wineries and popular tourist hotspots. Stuart Barclay, Wine Australia’s general manager of marketing told the Australian Associated Press, “Everything in China is purchasable online now. You don’t need to leave the online environment, they use their mobile to do everything.”
Known as the “Kardashians of China”, the two female twins were paid AU$34,000 to live stream their experience to their millions of followers on the Tmall e-commerce platform. The platform is operated by the Alibaba group and allows foreign businesses a way to sell brand name goods in China via the world’s second largest e-commerce website.
For international wine brands another crucial step is to build a presence on both of China’s leading social media platforms, WeChat and Weibo. With an estimated 95% of the online population using their phone to access the internet, understanding and using these platforms is key to entering and succeeding in the Chinese market.
Brands can use WeChat in a similar way to Facebook by posting photos or images, videos, or even hold mini masterclasses. Weibo is more like a microblog where wine producers and brands can create their own page and gain loyal followers.
Interestingly, the concept of not losing face is incredibly important in Chinese culture and for this reason most consumers prefer to opt for safe purchases that they know will impress their boss or delight their friends. Brands who are able to build up large followings on Chinese social media platforms can demonstrate the quality and value of their product and thus increase their market reach within China.
3. Video is King
With so many Chinese consumers accessing the internet via mobile devices and the huge popularity of social media platforms, grabbing consumers’ attention isn’t easy. For young Chinese wine drinkers 6 to 15 second-long videos are the way forward, providing an excellent way for brands to communicate their story in a format that can be easily consumed and shared. Brands that put effort into creating short videos for their Weibo or WeChat accounts get more clicks and ultimately more conversions.
Video ads are also an opportunity to be seen by millions of interested consumers. Earlier this year Harbin Beer created short video ads for the Douyin music video community which received over 5 million views.
China is a market that is full of potential for wine brands and producers, but it is also a country where the consumer profile is constantly changing. Adapting to these digital marketing trends and reaching out to the digital-savvy generation is the key to building success in China today and in the future.