Marketing is about understanding people in order to sell them products. You have to enter “into their minds” and there is nothing better than psychology for that.
Understanding Chinese customers’ mindset requires gaining a deeper understanding of their culture and their state of mind. Below are some strategies to help you influence Chinese consumers and become successful in the Chinese market.
Great emotional ideas for greater impact
Creating emotional ideas will have a significant impact on the customer’s mind. He will experience a strong and lasting attachment to a brand because it made him feel something. The point is to create ideas that evoke strong emotions, attract attention, build confidence, inspire loyalty, motivate action and ensure success. Marketers have to show customers that they will need the product, that it will improve their lives. It has more influence on the customers than just presenting them a product. Launching a campaign on the social media (more info here) that is aimed to touch the hearts of the consumers will definitely have a good impact on sales because Chinese people are really influenced by what they see on social media. For example, the brand Saatchi & Saatchi Greater China asked its clients about their marketing strategies, and they came up with ideas to evoke emotions as their greatest concern.
Show you’re human, show your flaws
Everybody knows that no one is perfect. A little bit of honesty is always a good thing to hear. Moreover, if a customer knows that there is a little flaw here, he will assume that it is the only flaw, and that the rest is correct. It is also an emotional idea: we are telling people the truth and they like it.
It also works because for many brands, customer dislike is something to be celebrated. An example is Ritte Racing. Racing bike buyers often favor cycles that are made in France, America or Italy due to the perceived superiority. However, Ritte Racing, a Californian cycle manufacturer, tackled this head on, by writing a detailed blog post explaining the cost benefits of manufacturing in China.
Re-positioning the competition
Re-positioning the competition is about changing the position a business occupies in a consumer’s mind. It’s about making ourselves better than the other brands. Differentiating your product is very effective.
For example, in the tourism industry, there are a lot of agencies especially in China. If you want to be successful you will have to be better than the others, and to show it by re-positioning your competition. For example, Ctrip.com offers a lot of promotion all year and it’s why it’s the best online travel agency.
People are always looking for self-esteem, and they dream about exclusivity. Some ads say “We’re not for everyone”, which makes people think that if they buy the product from this kind of brand, they will be special, they won’t be like everyone else. A lot of brands, especially in Fashion and cosmetics make this kind of ad (more info here).
For example, numerous Western brands find success in China because they are considered better quality than any of the other Chinese brands, and buying one proves that you can afford it. So promoting exclusivity is about showing people that the brands we own are not for everyone and that buying products from our brand will make them different, special. Being special is what every Chinese person aims for.
Fear uncertainty and doubt make your sales undoubtedly better
Fear, uncertainty and doubt are used by businesses and organizations to make consumers stop, think, and change their behavior. It is the practice of influencing public opinion by spreading negative and usually vague information, in order to play upon consumer’s fear, uncertainty, and doubt regarding a competitor’s product. It is also widely recognized as a tactic used to promote the sale or implementation of security products and measures.
This tactic was used with a Chinese scooter company. Statements like “support, warranty, and parts are non-existent for Chinese scooters”, and questions like “do you really feel safe riding on the road on something that cost less than $1000?” are frequently uttered in scooter shops to customers considering a Chinese scooter. Now here is the trick in China: everything spreads much more quickly than anywhere else in the world, thanks to intense social network activity. Marketers often talk about brand messages going viral, but it is also worth mentioning that doubt, uncertainty and fear spreads just as fast. Social media sites are a great asset for this kind of strategy (a great one for this would be weibo).
The 5 are good, but you can do better than that!
Theses 5 leverages are the very basic strategies to help influence Chinese consumers and to remember when you do business in China. Indeed, remembering those 5 pillars may help your brand to create completely new strategies that will allow you to do three things:
- – Stand out from the competition the right way.
- – Increase your number of Chinese customers and ultimately your sales.
- – Tackle head on any culturally related problems that may arise (see here for more information).
However, there are tools and channels you always need to consider when you do marketing in China. In a nutshell these would be:
- – Community Management
- – Online PR
- – SEO/SEM
- – Buzz marketing
Further readings to help influence Chinese consumers:
About the Author
Hi, my name is Thomas, French. Fond of marketing, I graduated this year from Bordeaux 3 university after four years studying applied foreign languages. I learned Chinese and marketing among other topics. After my first two years, I went to Xi’an, the historical heart of China where I studied Chinese for a year. And now here I am, at long last after graduation, in Shanghai the business heart of China, working in Digital marketing. I live in China and I’m more than eager to learn everything about it from its most remote places to cities like Shanghai or Shenzhen, vibrant with activity.