There is no denial of the growing importance of digital marketing these days. It is often said that one’s personal brand is the reputation of that person when he or she is absent. But for SME’s (small to medium enterprises) or bigger companies in the Chinese market, the game can be a little tricky. For Tezign, curiosity and passion towards design and digital marketing led to them unlocking the secrets of the future of branding.
Tezign started out as a public Wechat account in 2014 by some curious-minded Chinese designers for the pure purpose of sharing knowledge of design thinking. Conveniently located in San Francisco, they invited designers from big name tech companies such as Uber, Facebook, and others in sharing the knowledge of design thinking with the community. Their first Design Matters meeting in San Francisco talked about visual design as well as other designs in architecture. Since the attendees and presenters were well-educated in advance with ample knowledge of design, the establishment of the platform successfully met the need of the design-focused community. Initially, some contents were translated from Chinese to English and vice versa and shared on WeChat public platform. Within two years, Tezign quickly gained traffic and won a round of angel investments that led to successful opening of its official company in China.
Today, the company serves as a platform for connecting creative talents with clients as well as workflow solution. Their WeChat account now boasts about 170,000 followers, producing content such as interviews with famous designers or experts as well as sample design works. To date, Tezign has served over 4,000 enterprise users and 8,500 design creatives from 15 countries and 67 cities, covering areas of graphic design, UI/UX design, illustration, animation, and social marketing.
Steve Wang, a co-founder and (Chief Product Operator), sees the company as a community as well as a business platform that helps tech companies connect with design companies. The company is largely Chinese-speaking designers, with their biggest attraction being in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Steve admits the aggregation of Chinese-speakers was purely accidental; however, in the long run, the specific population turned out to be beneficial in understanding specific branding and marketing strategies in China. They connected local talents to global markets, which led to international branding of the company with a distinguished Chinese taste.
When asked how different enterprises and platforms differ in terms of advertising, he said some companies ask for branding such as visual identification system, while others simply make marketing and advertisement requests. Bigger enterprises tend to have more solid brand identity, and thus, easier for Tezign to establish marketing strategy. These customers tend to understand what exactly they want and how to brand themselves, minimizing the risk of failure.
He also shared different strategies for different platforms as well. For WeChat, people tend to skim through titles without even clicking the contents. Therefore, people spend hours and hours polishing the titles again and again. The content also cannot be too commercial on WeChat, as people tend to look for farcical and light-hearted materials on the social messenger app. In terms of blogs or websites, however, the actual content and design weighted more significance than on WeChat. Some in-depth analysis were shared on the actual websites with detailed product explanations.
Despite its main contribution to WeChat as a starting point, Steve says the WeChat platform is now more of a side project that serves media and public purposes. Contents mostly consist of design and product samples as well as interviews with designers. Instead, he emphasized on the new media channels, and thus different digital marketing strategies.
“Consumers are not in one channel anymore. Twenty years ago, people saw advertisement boards and stayed home and watched TV. But nowadays, people watch TV, smartphones, and websites that traditional marketing no longer works. Enterprises must allocate their budget to different channels to new medium like digital marketing, websites, videos, etc. This means, they cannot work with one advertisement like before. Instead, they must choose multiple channels or agencies that specialize in specific marketing platforms,” Wang says.
As to answering the question where he sees himself and Tezign in five years, he foresaw the entire advertisement company changing serving clients with different technology and creative talents.
“I don’t know where VR and AR will directly be applied in the marketing industry, yet. But at least from the example of live streaming, it’s not difficult to see that this introduction of new technology will play some disruptive roles,” he concluded.