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Marketing, social media, and personal branding in China: Lessons from local entrepreneurs
On 24 May, TechNode hosted the first 2018 panel event “East and West Communication in the Attention Economy” at Hotel Jen Beijing’s Prototype Co-Working Lounge.
Guest speakers shared their views on how Chinese companies and tech founders effectively establish and expand influence abroad. The event also looked at what players entering the Chinese market should keep in mind to stay ahead in marketing and communication.
Watch: East and West Communication in the Attention Economy
Jim Fields, CEO of Relay, a video and content creation company helping corporates marketing cross-border business, shared 3 real cases with audiences.
Jim highlighted choice of media elements such as songs’ importance in cross-cultural branding localization. Displaying Japanese skin-care brand SK-II’s video of China’s unmarried mature women, Jim stressed deep understanding’s roles in successful storytelling. “Position and situation,” as Jim stressed, are crucial parts that drive emotional reciprocity and increase brand attachment. “Dramatic, ridiculous, and authentic” creation adds extra flavor and boosts exposure.
Thomas Klein, co-founder of Creative Union, reviewed 5 digital marketing insights for brands who hope to cultivate Chinese market, amid BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent)’s dominance in China’s social media market:
- More emerging platforms for mass and target group marketing
- More paid ads amid complex KOL ecosystem and diverse paid-marketing channels
- Integration of social function and e-commerce in social media
- More videos as a marketing and entertainment format
- More mini-programs as WeChat dominates and e-commerce cultivates social elements as growth strategies.
As China bans Twitter and Facebook, Chinese marketing ecosystem simultaneously establishes local norms and patterns. Thomas launched Creative Union in 2017 to help business entering China with potential hardships.
Elliott Zaagman shared views on what personal charisma can lead to in the era of global mass media and digital marketing. Elliott is a leadership development coach for Chinese tech founders and an active contributor to TechNode.
He summarised 5 of the most well-known Chinese tech founders’ exposure abroad as “characteristically Chinese, but not exclusively so.” According to Elliott, apart from unique personalities and remarkable achievements in complex Chinese business context, entrepreneurship and vision are universal elements that draw global attention. Meanwhile, the integration of leaders’ national identity and personal characters shape true personal images. Wise and bold speeches during pressure times in global affairs also strengthen individual charisma and consolidate leadership.
“We had some great insight from our three speakers,” John Artman, Editor-in-Chief of TechNode English said afterward. “Jim, Thomas, and Elliot are great examples of professionals who have dedicated much of their career to the Middle Kingdom and have cultivated a deep and nuanced understanding of the unique challenges here. Moving forward, we plan to have more events that shed light on how entrepreneurs can take advantage of the many opportunities in China”
“We couldn’t have done this without our partners in the local community,” he added. “They were a great help in organizing and getting the word out about the event.”