Although the new year technically begins in January, the true feeling of a new year coming to life happens in the spring when the weather improves and everything turns green. How can brands use marketing techniques suited to spring to expand their influence in the mainland market? Here we summarize some crucial marketing techniques and cases to help you launch successful spring campaigns in China.
1. Engage in unique, creative co-branding.
Oreo cooperated with miniature figurine brand Rolife to launch a stop-motion animation featuring their popular doll Nanci, instantly recognizable by the bubble she’s blowing, as the protagonist in a whimsical Oreo-filled spring journey.
The combination was inspired, cute and truly attention grabbing. Given the huge popularity of blind box dolls and the blind box craze in general, it was a smart collaboration combination and ideally suited for social media marketing.
2. Spring campaigns feature attractive, popular, spring plants and flowers like cherry blossoms, white peaches and strawberries.
In recent years, many brands have chosen to feature cherry blossoms (sakura) in the spring. For example, the Oreo X Rolife example above featured cherry blossoms.
M.A.C. took cherry blossoms blooming during the day and the flower’s petal snow under the night sky as inspiration for fragrances, makeup and packaging. Guerlain launched sakura perfume with special handmade blossoms added to each bottle. Starbucks launched 24 cherry blossom cups and two coffee gift boxes all at once.
3. Create limited editions
Just like cherry blossoms and the seasons themselves, these products, services and offers last for a short time, increasing the desire to see them, buy them and experience them before they go away. These are the kinds of campaigns that are often big hits in terms of Weibo marketing.
4. Feature seasonal cultural customs and traditions in your spring campaigns
It’s customary in early spring to go for picnics to enjoy the outdoors. If you’re a food brand, your ads could feature people taking your product with them as they have picnics with their friends in scenic natural surroundings.
Spring also includes the Qingming Festival, when Chinese people remember and thank their ancestors and there are certain traditional foods that are eaten at this time of the year.
Food brand Wufangzhai makes sweet green rice balls that people in Jiangsu and Zhejiang eat during the Qingming Festival. They made a series of adorable, fun and quirky animated ads featuring the voices of children and the themes of family, nature and food that successfully springboard off of the season and its customs.
Kuaishou also made a form of public service ad around themes of family, memories, elders, appreciation and traditions that was adapted from the real story of a young man and his grandmother. This Kuaishou marketing not only fit Qingming Festival themes but also resonated strongly with audiences.
5. Mobilize the five senses
Research shows that people tend to be sentimental or anxious in the spring. By mobilizing the five senses, brands can arouse the positive emotions of the audience which they will then associate with the brand.
Taking hearing as an example. E-commerce platform NetEase Yanxuan released an ASMR video and related playlists on NetEase Cloud Music so people could “hear” the spring together.
The video collected a lot of sound details from everyday life, such as applying body lotion, boiling water being poured into a cup and hitting tea leaves, and a cat chewing its food. Many of the sounds and scenes also involved the sense of smell, taste and touch. For example, the boiling water being poured onto tea evoked a familiar smell. The water’s heat and steam is connected with the sense of touch. And a scene of a girl opening a container and eating linked viewers with its taste.
The sights and sounds in the ad stimulated the imaginations and yearnings of viewers and listeners.
In general, the keys for spring marketing are season and emotion. Many of the ads and campaigns above also targeted women and families. Evoking sentiment, featuring family and creating unique products that women can take photos of and post online are smart approaches for these consumer groups.
Moving into the promotional period beyond Chinese New Year, which is also called the Spring Festival, brands need to impress consumers with their spring campaigns by advocating an attitude towards life that matches consumers and also enhances the cultural connotations for the brand.
Don’t be afraid to co-brand creatively, feature seasonal plants and flowers, produce limited editions, feature customs, connect with special days and engage the five senses.
If your brand needs Chinese market research and strategy services and wants to stake its claim on China’s premier social media platforms, Alarice is here for you. We do social media marketing – from account registration and content creation to social monitoring – and in-depth research to provide you with detailed, action oriented strategies.
Check out our mini books, consumer reports, and ChoZan’s quarterly mega reports.
Contact us with any questions you might have and we’ll get you on the right track.