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Chinese New Year: Be prepared for The Water Rabbit!

Chinese New Year: Be prepared for The Water Rabbit!

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.

The rabbit represents the zodiac animal of 2023. Image: Adobestock

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.

Chinese red lantern in the night of Chinese New Year. Image: Adobestock

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.

WeChat CNY greeting card from our clients Absortech and Orkel

Turning to the B2C sector, Hugo Boss and Moschino take the lead in nostalgia and give the cartoon character Bugs Bunny a comeback.

Bugs Bunny Moschino. Image: Little Red Book Moschino account
Hugo Boss Bugs Bunny Campaign

Looking at the beauty products, the Japanese beauty brand SK-II created this cute design.

Beauty products from SK-II

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.

5 Trends that will shape China’s business year 2023

5 Trends that will shape China’s business year 2023

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.

Eco-environmentally friendly green energy of sustainable development of solar power plant with nanchang skyline

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.

NBH believes that in 2023 we will look more to China, and may not leave, but definitely complement traditional B2B marketing with high-quality digital content that reduces long sales and marketing funnels. Read more about how NBH works with content management here.

B2B Business Company Commerce Technology Marketing concept. Image: Adobestock

5. Last but not least, no trend scouting without Metaverse

When “Metaverse” is named the second hottest word in 2022´s Oxford Word of The Year list, you know that it is a trend and that it is booming. Read our Metaverse insight here.

It’s no news that B2C has been at the forefront when it comes to the Metaverse. But everything points to the fact that Metaverse technology will also transform the B2B business.

The new innovation of Metaverse opens up greater opportunities for relationship-building purposes, something that can sometimes be a challenge for B2B companies in particular.

Face-to-face meeting is 34 times more effective than in text format, a study presented by Harvard Business Review.

Examples of how B2B can use meta in its business model are:

  • Product Showroom
  • Educational purpose
  • Give a factory tour “Behind the scenes”
  • Events

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?

NBH Guide to Industry Media: The importance of PR for B2B in China

NBH Guide to Industry Media: The importance of PR for B2B in China

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.

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). In China, adding PR to your marketing strategy can be the key to success.

The digital ecosystem of PR

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?

Image: Adobestock

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.

Result of PR client case with Easy-Laser

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.

Result of PR client case with Roxtec

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.

Finally

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.

Double 11, 11.11, or Singles Day – name it to tame it! Get the latest trends from China’s biggest shopping festival

Double 11, 11.11, or Singles Day – name it to tame it! Get the latest trends from China’s biggest shopping festival

The shopping event “The Singles Day” has for many countries been a completely unknown phenomenon. But like many other trends and influences from China, Singles Day is starting to become part of “our” “shopping calendar”, at least if you look at Europe.

China’s shopping festival, Singles Day (often referred to as 11.11 or double 11), is China’s largest shopping event. And with record numbers, year after year, China’s Singles Day has also become the world’s largest shopping event.

This year, the major e-com players such as Alibaba and JD have been relatively low-key when it comes to sharing their sales figures.

But, if we look at shopping- and marketing trends, even before 11.11 kicked off, you could clearly see new trends when it comes to digital marketing, customer behavior, and product categories.

NBH will share our outcome of this year’s Singles day, but also share some background on The Singles Day and why it can be important to keep track of it, even though you may not participate.

Chinas Shopping Festival: Singles Day a.k.a. 11.11 and double 11

The shopping festival The Singles Day has its official day on November 11, hence the event is often referred to as 11.11 or double 11. China likes to refer to lucky numbers or to name various events after numbers. Therefore, there are many explanations for exactly 11.11, but we leave this outside of this insight. 😉

Singles Day is today an unofficial holiday in China. The holiday was created in response to “couple holidays” such as Valentine’s Day.

On November 11, 2009, on Singles Day, Alibaba launched a 24-hour shopping event with discounts and various offers. The goal was to attract a younger target audience.

The shopping event was a big hit and quickly other e-com and social media platforms, brands, and physical stores followed the trend and participated.

Have China’s shopping festivals become the trendsetters for digital marketing?

For the past decade, China has been at the forefront when it comes to digital trends. Digital trends such as live-shopping events, metaverse, and meta-influencers, to name a few, are some of the digital trends that have flourished precisely from these types of shopping events. Read our Insight about Metaverse here.

Many brands and e-com giants choose to test new forms of digital marketing during these events. The goal is no longer just to compete for the best sales figures, but also to showcase new technologies and innovations.

With that said, if you work with digital marketing, China’s shopping festivals are therefore interesting to keep an eye on!

Singles day 2022

Singles Day is not only today a 24-hour shopping event. The e-com platform JD, for example, opened its sales on August 31 until midnight on November 11.

Before this year’s festival, there was great uncertainty among both customers and retailers. The Covid-19 pandemic and shortages in the supply chain have affected the global market and many parts of the world are in a downturn.

Even so, the numbers that have already been released have indicated that 2022 will at least match 2021’s numbers (952+ billion RMB). Among other things, as many as 70,000 new brands have participated for the first time.

The Swedish luxury fashion brand Filippa. K is one example of a new brand to participate in this year’s Singles Day. They chose to launch their brand on Alibaba Tmall just in time for 11.11.

“The Chinese market is too big and too important and too influential to ignore,” said Filippa K’s CEO Rikard Frost.

Press release image of Filippa. K launch on Alibaba Tmall

So, what are the trends for The Singles Day 2022?

NBH has listed the most important scouts from 2022’s singles day

  • Metaverse

Metaverse has quickly become a new reality in China and interest is constantly increasing. Ahead of this year’s Singles Day, more companies have chosen to work with virtual idols and KOLs. With this, they mainly want to reach a younger and more digital generation that prefers to make their purchases online.

Before 2023, market research firm Forrester estimates that up to a fifth of all companies will use collaborations with virtual KOLs. Read our Insight about Chinese KOLs here.

Another trend linked to the metaverse is that online stores are starting to look more and more like physical stores that you enter through an avatar. Alibaba, for example, has digital accessories digital so you can try them on in 3D.

Try on your accessories and clothes with virtual shopping at Tmall. Image: Alibaba Group
  • Robots for delivery services

Another trend that we saw already last year was that robots have started to be used for home delivery to customers. This year, Alibaba had as many as 700 robots that were used in the transport chain out to the customer. That is twice as much as last year.

Alibaba logistic robots showed at a university campus in China

  • Health care for you and your pet

JD reported in its trend report on November 12 that health products had an upswing. Customers tended to stay longer on the platform to compare different products and services, where quality instead of price was important.

More than 1600 nutrition brands doubled their sales volume. Pet-care products increased and bookings of various health services increased by 7 times. JD also reported that sales of “life-related” services increased 30 times.

Else Nutrition during double 11

  • Increased demand for “green shopping”

Search terms that increased drastically on JD.com during 11.11 2022, were “organic”, “green”, “low-carbon” and “energy-saving”.

The increased demand for climate-friendly products has increased in China. In May of this year, JD launched the “Green Impact Initiative,” an initiative that involves labeling environmentally-friendly products.

More brands and platforms are also encouraged to choose a more environmentally friendly logistics transport option.

  • “China-Chic”

A trend that has been booming among Gen-Z is “China-Chic”, a phenomenon named after the increased demand for cultural value.

This shows not only the demand for domestic products but also that international brands need to get better at adapting their marketing to China.  

To summarize….

Brands that engage more with the customer in the form of live shopping, videos, influencer collaborations, and customer service tend to increase their sales.

Technologies in the form of transportation and metaverse continue to develop and environmentally friendly products continue to play an increasingly important role when consumers make their choices.

The NBH Guide: How to use Baidu SEM to accelerate  your online precense in China

The NBH Guide: How to use Baidu SEM to accelerate your online precense in China

If China is an important market for your company, then Baidu should have the same priority as your Google strategy.  

Baidu can easily be described as “China’s Google”, and if you take a quick look, there are many similarities, partly in appearance, but in terms of search engine, SEO and SEM there are a lot of differences. Read more about Baidu here.

In China, whenever you want to search for something you “Baidu it”, and to reach the top of the search result, your Baidu strategy is fundamental.

Are you aware of how you and your competitors appear in searches on Baidu?

This guide will give you deeper insight into succeeding with Baidu SEM. We will answer questions such as the difference compared to Google and what’s important to consider when it comes to Baidu SEM.

If you would like to get a more profound knowledge about Baidu, and Baidu SEO, please read our guide: The NBH Guide: 10 steps to succeed with Baidu SEO.

Baidu logo

Fascinating statistics on Baidu usage in China

We’ll give some figures to understand the usage and importance of Baidu in China.

Baidu No. 1 search engine in China

Although China is one of the most important markets for many companies, Baidu is still relatively unknown to many.

Many people think that a Chinese-language website is enough or that the google strategy works as fine for Baidu, but this is not the case. You have to adapt your digital marketing strategy for China, and including China’s No. 1 search engine could be a very good first step.

Investing in Baidu SEM will get you:

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Directs leads
  • More understanding of your China market

Baidu SEM (PPC)

Baidu SEM (Search Engine Marketing) can also be referred to as PPC (Pay-Per-Click) or ads on Baidu. Read more about Baidu SEM here.

Baidu PPC can be a cost-effective way to get a higher, or perhaps top result on Baidu. These kinds of Baidu ads can also be added with images, such as product pictures or special campaign images.

Most importantly is that you adapt the ads for your targeted audience in China and perhaps market yourself with the right timing. This should be included in your marketing content plan.

Example of Baidu PPC ad including promotional images.

SEM and SEO, are all about keywords. What will the potential customer search for and what would be your keywords in China?

Once you have your ad live, and the user searches for related keywords, they will find your ad in their search result, and hopefully among the top results.

  • CPC (Cost-Per-Click)

Every time someone clicks on your ad there will be a CPC (Cost-Per-Click). The cost of the keywords (the CPC) depends on the bidding of the keyword, in other terms, how competitive the targeted keyword is.

  • Market your landing page

In order to get a good first impression, why not market your landing page in search results?

Take the chance and market your webpage according to your brand guideline and targeted audience in China. Show your products and services in a tasteful and “want to know more of” way!  

Baidu ad with contact form

Track your performance with Baidu SEM

As with all marketing, it is essential to be able to measure your results. No matter what marketing activities are being done for a company, data is the key to getting knowledge about your performance. 

Knowing your performance will take you one step ahead in optimizing your digital marketing in China.

NBH believes in transparency and we always want what’s best for our clients. Please read more about how NBH works with data tracking: Data tracking in China.

How NBH can help you with Baidu SEM?

NBH has years of experience creating ads (SEM) so that companies easily can be recognized, creating relationships, and direct leads. 

We develop your Baidu SEM strategy and make you competitive in the market. We create a tailor-made keyword list for Baidu and create ads aligned with your brand and specialized for your Chinese audience. To be competitive, we do the daily operation of Baidu SEM, including bidding keywords. Learn more about how we work with Baidu SEM here, also find out how we can optimize your Baidu SEO here.

We also offer monthly reports in English in order for you to take ownership of your digital marketing in China.