We will go through China’s main digital platforms, how they differ, the latest updates, and how different industries can target their marketing. We will also touch on topics such as influencer marketing, SEO/SEM, Chinese website, and the importance of PR for industry Media.
This meeting is for everyone who operates or wants to operate digitally in China, both within B2B and B2C.
When: Tuesday, 18 April 2023
Time: 2-4 pm CET (14.00-16.00)
Where: Fleminggatan 18, Convendum Kungsholmen, Stockholm Sweden
Event Fee: This event is free of charge
Language: The event will be held in English or Swedish, depending on the participants.
Find time, date and registration below!
About NBH Network
Through NBH’s network meetings, will we spread knowledge about China’s Digital Market. During different meetings, will we address different topics, where we from NBH present our knowledge and experiences regarding China’s digital landscape, but where we also invite other speakers who share their expertise.
Together, we want to create a network where companies and other stakeholders can open up to dialogue with their questions, problems, or opportunities that they have encountered when working with the digital establishment in China.
This is a unique opportunity to create knowledge about digital China, take your marketing to the next level, and learn from others how they target their approach towards China.
Welcome to NBH’s Network where we together spread and share knowledge about Digital China!
In China, International Women’s Day (IWD) has received increased attention in recent years. A few years ago, this holiday was recognized more as a tribute to women, similar to Mother’s Day and perhaps Valentine’s Day. But today, IWD is more noticed as a tribute to women’s rights, and women’s progress towards a more equal society.
From a market perspective, this day has almost become a competition about who “celebrates” women the most.
This holiday is also interesting from a market perspective because it shows China’s rapid development in demand, consumer behavior, and the importance of thinking locally.
How is International Women’s Day celebrated in China?
Many companies celebrate the IWD by giving women employees a half day off. Some companies also give small gifts in the form of postcards or perhaps a fruit basket.
“Girls Day” is a festival day in China that is celebrated at universities on March 7, one day before IWD. The Girls Day is celebrated by universities offering different activities, competitions, and meet-ups for girls.
Historically, Women’s Day in China has been celebrated since 1921, but it was in 1949, with the People’s Republic of China, that it became an official holiday. The year of 1950 is also an important landmark with the introduction of the “Marriage law” that keeps women free from arranged marriages, which was a great step for the womens right, and today we see the rise of the She-economy.
Why has Women’s Day in China become so important?
The term “Sheeconomy” found its place in China’s dictionary in 2007. It refers to the new market that emerged from women’s better economic conditions, and increased consumption. In the media, the term was used to describe how women choose careers instead of family and the overall development of gender norms in society.
Today, most articles and debates are focused on how big brands and e-platforms are targeting the “Sheeconomy” in their marketing strategy. According to Alibaba’s Digital B2B Outlook 2023, over 70% of all purchases in households are made by women, including luxury products and online shopping, etc.
This day has been criticized for becoming more of a shopping day. But this, in turn, is also criticized by the younger generation who appreciate that women’s issues are being addressed, even if it is through “shopping”.
How do brands celebrate International Women’s Day in China?
NBH has taken a quick look at marketing trends during International Womens Day in China.
Close to 8 March 2023, the American chocolate brand Hershey made a big success with the launch of a limited collection of the theme HERSHE (HER-SHE) and named the campaign SHEROES (SHE-HEROES). The campaign celebrates International Women’s Day by honoring three women who have contributed positively to society: Wildlife photographer Xu Keyi, volunteer teacher Wan Lijun, and the young artist Wu Xixia.
This had led to #HERSHE being widely spread on social media.
The domestic beauty brand had a similar theme. The Chinese cosmetic brandFlorasis 花西子, celebrated IWD by interviewing three women from different industries about sensitivity (敏感力), is being sensitive and emotional a negative thing?
The theme this year just seems to be a little more down to earth and also pays tribute to the “ordinary woman”.
A promotional video that is still mentioned when talking about IWD, NBH wrote about it last year as well, but it is still worth mentioning, is the beauty brand Proya. This campaign was collab with Women’s Daily 2021.
International Womens Day campaign 2021 – Proya cosmetic.
To summarize, marketing during this years IWD is trending towards softer values. A successful market strategy is to dare to be more personal, integrate with the customer and above all adapt the strategy for China.
It is time to turn your gaze from the Tiger and start to focus on the Rabbit. To be more specific, the “Water Rabbit”.
This year, the Chinese New Year CNY starts on January 22. The celebrations begins on the evening of the 21st and continues for another 15 days, but to be precise, the 22nd is the official start of the tradition that also is called “The Spring Festival”.
The start varies from year to year but it always falls on the first full moon in the period between January 21 and February 20.
Why a Water Rabbit, and what to expect from the Rabbit year 2023?
The Chinese lunar calendar is based on a cycle of twelve years where each year has its own animal. The rabbit is the fourth animal in order.
Each year is also connected to one of the five elements, water, earth, metal, wood, and fire. The different elements are just like the animals of the zodiac associated with certain characteristics. The combination of animals and elements is believed to influence how the upcoming year will be formed.
According to Chinese astrology, the rabbit represents calm, patience, peace, and prosperity. The year 2023 is expected to be a year filled with hope and fortune, some people describe the rabbit as the “the happy rabbit”, or “lucky rabbit”.
If you are born in a Bunny year, you will have to wear something red every day through the year until the next animal enters the stage. Many people choose to wear a red bracelet or why not red underwear?
How is the Chinese New Year celebrated?
For many Chinese, the Chinese New Year means the longest vacation of the year, as the celebration begins with a 7-day long national holiday. The entire celebration includes various activities with family and friends, such as giving each other gifts, honor ancestors and much more. The elder and parents often gives money to the kids in a traditional red envelope.
The national holidays include a lot of traveling, people going home to their hometown, or taking the chance to travel abroad. This year is of course extra special as China, after a long strict covid lockdown, finally opens up to travel. Scrolling through social media, if not least Chinese social media, is flooded with pictures and videos of crowded trains and airport stations.
The entire celebration ends with a lantern festival. According to legend, the ancestor’s spirits flew aimlessly under the full moon. To guide the spirits, their relatives lightened lanterns and sent them up into the air. Another tradition is to light lanterns with different riddles for the children to solve.
Let the Rabbit inspire your marketing strategy
Let’s look at the fun part, because we have to admit, the animal of the CNY invites to more creativity than “our” santa?
It’s every year very interesting to see how brands adapt their marketing. Last year, we saw very “cool” tiger inspired campaigns. Read NBH Tiger New Year special, here. This year we see more cute, humouristic, and nostalgic inspired campaigns.
The Chinese New Year is one of the world’s most celebrated holidays, and in recent years many western companies have adopted the tradition and adapted their marketing products based on the animal year.
Many of the designed products aren’t only for the Chinese market, these days China also inspires western trends. The Bunny has stretched its paws to the west, and replaced last year’s stripes.
To reach the Chinese market, cultural adaptation is fundamental. Whether if your business is within B2C or B2B, Chinese New Year is a great opportunity to reach your targeted audience, and show gratitude to your clients.
Why not send a gift, a greeting card, or add bunnies to your campaign and design?
We take a look at some examples!
In some industries within B2B, it can be a bit of a big investment to place a rabbit on its product. But paying attention to a holiday sometimes doesn’t have to be more difficult than posting and sharing a nice New Year’s card.
It is a simple way to show appreciation for its clients, and an understanding of Chinese culture.
Here are two examples of B2B company greeting cards posted on their official WeChat account, which displays their product and graphic design. Read the NBH WeChat Guide here.
Turning to the B2C sector, Hugo Boss and Moschino take the lead in nostalgia and give the cartoon character Bugs Bunny a comeback.
Looking at the beauty products, the Japanese beauty brand SK-II created this cute design.
The danish clothing brand Ganni, celebrates the CNY together with the designer and artist Lǚ Wéntíng 吕文婷 who designed a Ganni bunny gift box containing a kaleidoscope, stickers, and red envelops.
Ganni is a great example of how you as a brand can be creative and celebrate the Chinese New Year with simpler means like this gift box.
Ganni collab with Chinese artist-designer Lu Wenting for CNY. Image: Ganni Little Red Book Account
Last but not least, scrolling on the social media platforms, such as Little Red Book or WeChat, is filled with “Bunny year” pictures, not only posts from companies but also lifestyle photos. Lifestyle photos such as bunny nails, bunny filters, and celebration activities.
Meaning, if China is an important market for you, then treat the CNY the same as the Christmas holiday.
To summarize, we entering 兔年 Tunian “Rabbit Year”, which hopefully will give us a calm and lucky year. Looking at “rabbit marketing strategies”, the Chinese new year clearly does not set any limit to creativity when adapting your marketing for China.
Once is nothing, twice is a tradition, or… Anyhow, NBH brings you our annual trend scouting, this time for 2023!
One expectation that we have obviously scouted is tourism, if China’s reopening continues as predicted, we will meet Chinese tourists again and we, of course, hope for a year with more events and postponed fairs to finally take place!
As for now, when things still is a bit uncertain we leave this topic to be continued…
So let gets to the list!
1. Chinese customers choose sustainable products and services
NBH predicted the trend for 2022 and it was spot on! Read our trend scouting for 2022 here. In 2022 the interest in environmentally friendly products has increased significantly in China. In fact, a survey conducted by the company PWC shows that a whopping 72% of Chinese consumers primarily want to shop from companies that aim to take responsibility for the environment. This can be compared with customers in the West where only 54% stated the same.
For 2023, the market of sustainable products will increase further. More and more digital platforms will adapt their content and services to make it easier for environmentally friendly choices. Alibaba made big bets already in 2022 and believe us, others will follow.
Increased focus on the environment and sustainability is something that all B2C companies need to take into account, and within B2B it opens up completely new business opportunities. Companies that work with green energy, transport, and materials will see a growing market, which brings us to trend number 2…
2. Chinas leaders accelerate the green transition
After an explosively growing market in recent decades, China is now repositioning itself for a circular economy, and low-carbon development. China intends to peak its emissions as early as 2030 and to be carbon neutral by 2060. This double-edged target is extremely ambitious for a country so large, which accounts for a considerable amount of the world’s total emissions.
The green transition is still in its infancy, but by combining top-down and bottom-up strategies, China’s politicians have created auspicious conditions for the goals to become a reality.
China is currently the market, after the United States, which invests the most money in a sustainable transition. China’s leaders have also realized that the lofty goals will be difficult to achieve on their own. Foreign investors and foreign technology will form a large part of the transition. The opportunities will be enormous for B2B companies in sustainable technology such as solar power, wind power, and transport.
3. Quality, quality, quality
Even if the Chinese market is severely tested by Covid-19 in 2022, China still has the world’s fastest-growing middle class. And the emerging middle class are conscious, discerning consumers. The time when foreign companies could launch products and charge high prices just because they were foreign is definitely over. The quality of domestic products is not only as high as Western ones, the Chinese companies are also much more sensitive to trends and can deliver exactly what the customers are asking for.
Another trend is to make fewer but well thought out purchases, often premium products. If you are active or want to introduce your company to the Chinese market, it is more important than ever to be close to your customers and analyze their behavior. And as we at NBH often mention, China is big, so adapt your sales material to the local conditions of your operation.
4. B2B marketing will adapt to China’s digital trends
A trend in sales is that more and more B2B companies are looking toward B2C marketing strategies. Interactive content, seamless user experience, omnichannel marketing, and user-generated content are perhaps most associated with B2C. But in fact, this has long been an important part of B2B marketing in China. When it comes to digital trends, China is usually ahead of us in the West. But it goes fast and differs a lot from industry to industry.
Examples of how B2B can use meta in its business model are:
Give a factory tour “Behind the scenes”
In China, the Metaverse has become big in a way that we have not yet seen in the West. And right now everything indicates that China has decided to take the leading role in the development of this parallel reality.
Several companies make big investments in the Metaverse and local politicians set up policies to facilitate the investment. At the university in Nanjing in Eastern China, students can even study master’s programs in Metaverse, and the market is estimated to be able to turn over 28 billion USD in 2023.
To summarize, 2023 has clearly a lot to offer! Hopefully a brighter future, with events, fairs, and new technologies!
NBH is ready for China’s digital market in 2023, are you?
The marketing strategy for many B2B companies has until recently been more traditional in the form of exhibiting at fairs, participating in events, exchanging business cards, and building business relationships through dinners.
But the digital progress has slowly changed the strategy and way of thinking when it comes to marketing for B2B. The pandemic has, to say the least, accelerated that development and more or less forced B2B companies to create a stronger digital presence.
“B2B companies are undergoing a transformation when it comes to digital marketing. Digital presence & campaigns are increasingly important to reach your industry clients in China” Richard Hårdänge, CCO, NBH.
Today it is digital content that you need to keep up with: Social media, pods, blogs, short videos, webinars, and more. According to figures from Accenture, a vast amount of B2B deals initiates online, and three out of four B2B brands use social media platforms as their primary channels for information to clients.
Many B2B companies are familiar with platforms such as WeChat and Weibo, they might know the importance of running an account on social media platforms. But how do customers reach that account, and why should it be trusted?
In this guide, we will talk PR (public relations), publicity in industry media. In China, adding PR to your marketing strategy can be the key to success.
The importance of Industry Media in China
The physical newspaper has long been appreciated in China, but like everything else, they have also moved into the digital landscape. For B2B companies in various industries, there is a range of different media platforms, local news- and e-branch papers.
Being visible through PR in industry media, not only creates credibility, but it’s also a way to increase your SEO in China. Read more about Baidu SEO here.
So how do you create PR to increase your online visibility and credibility in China?
Get to the language and localize your content
Back to the basics, to start, in China, there are two types of written Chinese:
Traditional Chinese which is primarily used in Hong Kong and Taiwan
Simplified Chinese which is primarily used in mainland China
When writing articles or making press releases, it’s important that the language is authentic. Getting it done can be difficult, but a slippery slope can quickly throw you into a media crisis. Therefore, always use local writers who have good local knowledge.
Don’t underestimate the role of local media
PR creates momentum with local media, but it requires patience, long-term goals, and relationship building. It requires that you build credibility with qualitative material and interesting angles for the journalists to work with.
The more exclusive material they get the more they will publish.
To ensure that your narrative is local and demonstrates your expertise, get outside help. Collaborate with an agency that has experience working with PR in similar industries and has good contacts. Because yes, in China the PR media world is very much about the right contacts.
Use press releases
A cost-effective way to create visibility is to do press releases and create visibility on industry blogs and websites. Articles and news updates direct visitors to your website and your business.
Get better ranking in search results
Google may be the search engine you have to deal with in the west, but in China, it is Baidu that is “The” search engine. To get the most out of your articles, it is important that you optimize your content for Baidu. Read more about Baidu here.
High visibility on Baidu increases your credibility, and visibility and generates more traffic to your website. This, in turn, also makes you more attractive to industry magazines and industry sites, which in the next step increases your credibility and speed even more.
It’s an ecosystem or a loop that can lead to massive success if you play your cards right.
Use social media
As we mentioned at the beginning, traditional media is being replaced more and more by digital media. In China, social media is huge and there are many platforms. Some of them are also particularly important to keep in mind if you are active in B2B, for example, Zhihu and Bilibili.
Working with PR and gaining visibility can also provide content for one’s own account. Because who doesn’t want to share a really good industry article about one’s company that a big digital industry magazine published?
Collaborate with KOL:s
Doing PR in China is expensive. The costs in recent years have dragged on and are significantly higher than in the West. The main reason for that is KOL:s (influencers).
KOL:s have a much stronger role in B2B in China than in the West where we perhaps mostly relate influencers to B2C collaborations. Collab with a KOL in your field can add value to your targeted customer. The important thing is just to find the one that suits your industry the best.
If you are active in wind power, a local researcher with high credibility may be an option. In pharmaceuticals, it can be doctors, etc. Broaden your perspective on influencers and do careful research on which ones are the most tailored to your specific area.
Don’t forget that China is a big country with a huge population. Local differences can be large and therefore local knowledge is critically important.
NBH expertise in Chinese online behavior and the Chinese digital market can help your brand to increase your digital presence in China.
We have extensive experience and great references working with B2B clients. We act as a full-service agency and can make your company reach new levels with the help of PR and digital marketing in China. Find how we work with PR for China here.