Luxury brands are difficult to market in China, as the consumer landscape is very distinctive. Brands want to appeal to wealthy Chinese consumers with a high-end positioning but also down to earth to get closer to the public. Online social interaction is therefore crucial in reaching the audience and to make effective branding; the use of digital media is a must. However, excessive localisation is not recommended.
Hermès is one of the luxury brands that strengthened its WeChat presence in 2018. Using the WeChat ecosystem, which is known for a substantial user base of 1 billion users worldwide and various “infotainment” features, Hermès’s attempt to explore e-commerce in China can serve as a reference for luxury brands or similar companies.
▌Maximise traffic through the convergence of online and offline channels
At the end of 2018, Hermès launched an eight-day vinyl record pop-up event in Beijing. In the spacious shop, visitors can listen to recorded music and live performances and even print their selfies as free souvenirs on the vinyl records. The album covers were specially designed from Hermès scarves on sale.
At the same time, using the WeChat Mini Program, Hermès has duplicated an online pop-up store, where users can create their own virtual vinyl records by selecting a piece of music to pair with a Hermès scarf pattern. Beyond the regional boundaries, the launch has maximised reach and increased the numbers of event space appointments by more than 60%.
▌Mix of technology and art
Unlike ordinary consumer goods, luxury brands target a small demographic segment that demonstrates the characteristics of a particular circle. WeChat is ideal for circle marketing with two main advantages.
On the one hand, the WeChat Mini Program can be adapted to different activity formats, whether it is an online pop-up store or a flash sale. Because WeChat’s Mini Program is available without download or installation, it is meant for “use and quit” and well suited for occasional and seasonal campaigns. On the other hand, it is easy to get users to share the brand’s content, news and anything interesting in WeChat Moment and groups. Since the spread is based on users’ social networks, which typically have a similar consumption behaviour, the multiplication of exposure is more valuable to brands.
In the Hermès marketing campaign, the creative form of activity - a gamified H5 page of high-tech and artistic elements - is more likely to arouse the interest of the affluent middle classes and to establish an emotional connection, as well as fit into the upmarket brand identity. You can also check here to find more effective promotional methods on WeChat.
▌An integrated advertising suite to improve conversions
For this campaign, Silk Mix has launched an integrated suite of two paid advertising campaigns on WeChat that were used for a variety of purposes to increase traffic and interaction and to boost leads and revenue. The first ad referred visitors to the pop-up store Mini Program to make the public aware of this activity. In addition to the WeChat Moment ads, the official Hermès WeChat account publishes regular and relevant posts and news.
The WeChat advertising system has enough big data capabilities to help brands find customers. The second WeChat Moments ad directed the traffic to the Hermès e-commerce site, which was designed specifically for its followers on the WeChat account, for “lookalike” users, and for those with luxury fashion interests. In the second, more accurate round of promotion, the engagement was three times the size of the first ad.
In the social media age, the traditional marketing approach has been of low efficiency in interaction and in dealing with consumers, even the user acquisition is less accurately determined. WeChat simply provides the opportunity for brands to develop in the rapidly-evolving Chinese market. Hermès WeChat marketing strategy can inspire Western brands looking to transition to the e-commerce and social media space in China.
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