Spring is here, so it’s time to cast a focus on the season. It’s an ideal time for businesses to rejuvenate and be invigorated as warmer weather and longer days approach. In spring, marketers have lots of opportunities to engage with their current customers, attract new ones, and further establish their brands.
China’s economy is also showing signs of improvement heading into spring 2023 following the Chinese government’s sudden relaxation of its zero-COVID policy. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), retail sales of consumer goods rose 3.5% YoY in January and February 2023, totaling 7.71 trillion RMB (1.12 trillion USD).
Consumers are eager to get back to their usual shopping habits, so it’s a great time for brands to revitalize their presence in the market. What marketing strategies can FMCG brands use to expand their influence on the mainland market?
Here are the 3 key spring marketing strategies that FMCG brands can use to maximize the success of their 2023 spring marketing campaigns in China.
Co-branding is a great marketing strategy for spring because it allows two or more companies to work together on a unique product or service that can reach a wider audience. When both companies combine their strengths, they can create a stronger market presence, increase brand recognition, and have a more powerful impact. Co-branding can also increase customer loyalty because customers are more likely to trust a product or service created by two reputable companies.
For example, RIO, a Chinese ready-to-drink alcopop beverage brand, and Looking for Unicorn’s designer toy IP RiCO launched a joint gift box for spring, along with stop-motion animation. Inspired by spring, it features fresh symbols of the season like peach blossoms. To engage consumers, the gift box includes a random blind box and straws with the same design. The related Weibo topic, #RIO slightly tipsy (RIO 微醺限定) got 7.74 million views. It took just a second for all 10,000 co-branded gift sets to sell out.
How brands can use this strategy
- Identify a compatible brand: Identifying a brand that matches yours and fits the season is the first step. It’s important to find a brand whose values, target audience, and aesthetic complement your own. This will make a co-branded campaign more coherent and effective.
- Establish goals and objectives: Setting clear goals and objectives is essential before launching a co-branded campaign. The purpose can be to increase brand awareness, drive sales, or reach a new audience. Setting clear goals will allow you to measure the success of the campaign and make adjustments as necessary.
- Develop a co-branded concept: It might be a co-branded event, product launch or marketing campaign. Create a concept that will resonate with your target audience by being familiar, yet creative and surprising.
- Determine roles and responsibilities: Co-branding requires collaboration between two brands, so it’s crucial to establish roles and responsibilities early on. This may include who will be responsible for marketing, product development, and logistics. Your team will be on the same page and working toward the same goal if you clearly define roles.
- Execute the co-branded campaign: After establishing the concept and responsibilities, it’s time to launch the co-branded campaign. You may launch a joint product, run a collaborative marketing campaign, or host a co-branded event. Be sure to promote the campaign through all of your marketing channels, including social media, online stores, and physical stores.
- Measure and analyze results: It’s important to analyze and measure the results of a co-branded campaign when it’s over. This can include tracking customer feedback, monitoring social media engagement, and tracking sales. Evaluate the campaign’s success and make adjustments for future co-branded campaigns based on this information.
Need help creating the perfect co-branded campaign? See how Alarice can help you with that here.
2. Spring X China chic marketing
‘China chic’ (国潮) refers to the trend toward Chinese-centric design. It’s a good choice for spring marketing for a few reasons.
First, incorporating Chinese elements into your marketing campaigns increases appeal for Chinese consumers and shows that you understand their culture and values. It can also create a unique selling proposition for your brand and help differentiate it from your competitors.
A fresh and innovative approach can be created by blending Western and Chinese elements. Lastly, it may help build brand loyalty and advocacy among Chinese consumers, who may feel more connected to your brand if you show that you understand and appreciate their culture.
For example, Pepsi’s campaign for its popular new product in 2022, the Taiqi series of white grapefruit and green bamboo flavored drinks, combined traditional Chinese poetry and unexpected flavors to refresh the perception of domestic drinks. Word quickly spread about the flavor which motivated lots of young people to experience it. There were 520 million views of the related Weibo topic #Pepsi’s Taiqi series (百事太汽系列).
How brands can use this strategy
- Understand the China chic trend: For a spring X China chic marketing campaign to be successful, it’s crucial to understand what China chic is. Care must be taken when choosing Chinese elements and combining them with modern fashion and design. It should create a distinctive, unique aesthetic without a clichéd or “trying too hard” feel. Identify key elements that you can include in your marketing campaign by researching the trend.
- Identify your target audience: The next step is to identify your target audience for the campaign. It could include Chinese consumers who are interested in fashion and design as well as fashion-conscious consumers who are interested in Chinese culture.
- Develop a China chic concept: Once you’ve identified your target audience, it’s time to develop a concept for your campaign. This can include creating a collection, stories, or collaborating with Chinese designers and influencers.
For example, the Pepsi Taiqi National Theater series presented classic stories and characters in the form of interesting cartoons, bringing back classic images of Sun Wukong, Chang’e, Wu Song and others. Additionally, three Taiqi products, the osmanthus flavor, the white peach oolong flavor, and the white pomelo and green bamboo flavor, play a role in the development of the story, presenting Chinese traditional culture from a fresh perspective and narrowing consumer distance.
- Leverage social media: Social media is a powerful tool for reaching Chinese consumers and promoting your Spring X China chic campaign. Consider partnering with Chinese influencers and celebrities or creating targeted social media ads to reach your target audience.
For example, Pepsi invited the popular artist Xiao Zhan to be the brand spokesperson for the season’s Taiqi series and created a national chic ad. It was shot in a bamboo forest.
Xiao Zhan broke through with the film “Chen Qing Ling” which featured martial arts. Using his traffic and leveraging his fans, Pepsi used topics to drive interest from young people so that its new flavors would be added to their consumption choices.
- Measure and analyze results: After your campaign is over, analyze the results. Track sales, social media engagement, and customer feedback using data analytics and use this data to evaluate its success and guide future marketing campaigns.
Does your brand need help with social listening in China? See how Alarice can help you with that here.
3. Spring X metaverse marketing
Metaverse marketing is a good spring marketing strategy to attract and engage consumers. It lets brands take advantage of virtual and augmented reality trends. Brands can engage customers in new and innovative ways using metaverse themes and can create strong emotional connections with them by creating immersive and interactive experiences.
Metaverse marketing can also build brand awareness and recognition, as customers who engage with your brand in the metaverse are likely to remember it and seek it out in the real world.
For example, the 2022 Oreo offered a new flower and fruit flavor to cater to female consumers’ preferences. The two flavors are cherry blossom and grapefruit in pink, and rose grape in purple. It used the slogan “Oreo sends you a bouquet of flowers” and invited actress Zhou Ye to write the main character. The ad depicted a spring outing to enjoy flowers, creating a sense of spring.
There was also a virtual flower game, where flower bouquets were given through mini programs to engage consumers, attract their attention, and create a bond between the brand and consumers.
How brands can utilize this strategy
- Create a presence for your brand in the metaverse. This can be done by creating a virtual space for games, experiences or virtual interactions with the products. You can also partner with social platforms that support virtual activities. If this is out of your budgetary or tech reach, you can create content that is imbued with the look and feel of virtual worlds.
- Create engaging content: If you establish a presence in a virtual world, it should feature content that attracts and retains users. Interactive experiences, virtual events, and product demonstrations can be included.
- Leverage social media: Promoting your metaverse presence on social media platforms will help you reach a wider audience. In addition to sharing screenshots and video clips of your virtual space, you can also promote upcoming events and activities.
- Partner with virtual influencers: Reaching new audiences can be made easier by partnering with influencers who have a strong following in the metaverse. Choose avatars with an image, look and feel that matches your brand values to help promote your virtual space or events.
- Offer special promotions: Offer special promotions or discounts to encourage users to visit your virtual space or attend your events. Traffic and engagement can be increased by doing this.
- Measure your success: Track engagement, attendance, and sales with analytics tools, and use this information to gauge and improve your marketing strategy.
Does your company require assistance with social media management? Discover how Alarice can assist you here.
FMCG brands can implement spring marketing campaigns in China using various strategies, such as co-branding, China chic marketing, and metaverse scenarios and themes. By using these approaches, brands can tap into the hope and optimism that comes with spring and create a strong emotional connection with their audience.
Alarice can help you to benchmark your business against your competitors by conducting competitor analysis, comparing campaign approaches and performance and measuring consumer sentiment. We use our in-depth consumer research to develop a comprehensive digital marketing strategy for the Chinese FMCG market. Our data-driven insights help us create a tailored approach that will enable you to effectively reach your target audience in the Chinese FMCG market. Contact us with any questions you might have and we’ll get you on the right track.