When it comes to public relations for luxury brands targeting China, understanding culture rules will be invaluable in the Chinese marketplace. As failure to lead with elevated strategic planning and approach for startups can be costly when trying to reach Chinese consumers to buy luxury goods or products and service. Having the right savvy skills for PR & marketing strategies to target the world’s largest market is what can help luxury brands standout in the crowd especially when launching as a startup emerging luxury brand.
There are very important mistakes not to ever make and mandatory rules to follow in China for PR communications. Whereas China’s press is very guarded and have extreme restrictions.
Rude Baguette reveals the Hoffman Agency’s event – Stand Out in China: PR & Marketing Strategies in the world’s biggest market – taking place at Le Hub in Paris, April 26th, could offer greater insight when it comes to unlocking the Chinese market. Having the opportunity to speak with Cassandra Cheong, the Managing Director in Asia and a 25-year PR veteran in the region, Rude Baguette explores some key points about the Chinese PR landscape and how to take advantage of it.
#1 PR in China is different and complex, starting with the fact that there are a lot of media in China, compared to a market like France where the media landscape is relatively simple and dominated by the major national newspaper and magazines. There are 2,000 newspapers and 10,000 magazines in China, and the number of publications is almost 50 times greater than 50 years ago. It’s a difficult maze for an outsider to navigate and really takes local knowledge to understand the nuances and hierarchies. Another notable point is that compared to Western societies, the Chinese press is very controlled, there are strict censorship policies that media are regulated under. You have to know the ground rules in order to be effective.
#2 That said, the communications channels are mostly the same. All the usual platforms are available and used in China, not unlike other markets, including traditional media, online, advertising, etc. And just like in Europe with gatherings like the Connected Conference, events are an effective way to build relationships and gain visibility with customers, partners, and influencers, particularly in B2B space. But getting the most out of any comms or PR tactic can be very different than in the West, so again – know the local rules of the road!
#3 Foreign companies often makes the same mistakes in positioning themselves in the China market: trying to change Chinese culture instead of adapting their business model to that of China (e.g. of why eBay failed and Alibaba thrived). Keeping focused and segmenting the market is also vital, you can’t be everything to everyone in China – the market is way too big and diverse.
#4 Details matter in China. For example, companies should be careful about subtle things in their press releases; political views on China’s policies should be avoided and the use of accurate terminologies of what constitutes China needs to be respected – don’t call Taiwan a country, also Hong Kong is part of China and not an independent country. Don’t use sensitive words that might fall under the scrutiny of China’s censorship board.
#5 Social media has become even more important than traditional outlets. The internet population is huge and the online culture is getting more and more intense and sophisticated as the growing power of WeChat continues to expand its functionalities and capabilities. Also important to remember – the popular western social media platforms are not as popular(Twitter and Facebook dont even crack the Top 5) – companies must understand how to use the the commonly used Chinese platforms.
#6 China likes to follow foreign tech stories, especially if it’s breakthrough technology. Many European and French companies have been successful in the press – and in the market in general – mainly because of their innovation, which is very respected in China. Also, you will see success with any kind of message that shows ‘In China’, For China’ commitment or similar messages or local relevance. The Chinese want to know that you are serious about their market.
#7 Everything in China is relationship-based, that’s probably the most important thing for companies to remember – ‘Guanxi’ is still very much alive and kicking in China. So make sure you have someone who understands how networking and business etiquette works.
This is the ultimate event to learn the best practices in order to avoid important mistakes in the Chinese marketplace.