Pioneering digital marketing in China

China Digital Marketing

China Digital Marketing

The Chinese market is a key target for global luxury brands and export oriented companies focusing on high-end quality products and services. Setting up a marketing strategy could be the hard part of the job, even for brands and companies that are well established in western countries.

Chinese customers are increasingly using digital channels and platforms (like Baidu or Weibo) to gather and share informations that are totally different from the western countries. Therefore it’s quite difficult to set up an effective marketing strategy through digital channels without a deep understanding of the peculiarities of the Chinese digital media.

That’s why big players like Ogilvy & Mather, one of the most famous global PR and communication companies, set up divisions like OgilvyCulture and Social@Ogilvy to market across different cultures or develop social media marketing programmes.

But a disruptive trend is likely to change the present scenario, carried on by interesting startups like Fireworks that are pioneering post-digital marketing techniques in the Chinese market. Fireworks is a startup based in China founded by an Italian enterpreneur, Andrea Fenn, one of the founding members of the Asia Pacific social media team at Ogilvy in Hong Kong who had a very interesting media coverage during last weeks in the tech and marketing community online.

Mr. Fenn defines his startup as a “post-digital agency” that’s building relationships in a world deeply transformed by the digital era, with totally new and unprecedented business models and relations between brands and ad & PR companies.

In the current scenario only few brands have the financial background to afford heavy budgets for a slogan or a visual ad, while a lot of companies need to be assisted in their marketing activity entering foreign markets like China through new channels replacing the traditional ones. Fireworks aims to help brands with a global target to develop a strategic approach to the Chinese digital universe (mobile, CRM, social media, e-commerce).

It’s interesting to understand his attitude towards the startup project in these two questions he answered when he agreed to be interviewed about Fireworks:

Q: The Chinese digital universe is totally different comparing media, habits, language. What are the main directions you’re focusing on in your business development to meet Chinese peculiarities?

It’s a million dollars question. It’s very important to correctly balance the local habits with the brand identity features. The mere translation in Chinese is not enough, with the high risk to generate a Lost in Traslation effect. Meanwhile transforming the brand in a Chinese brand involves a negative effect especially in the long term. It’s also extremely important to understand not only the digital peculiarities of the Chinese web, but also feel the Chinese society trends and its future directions that obviously influence the digital communication. At Fireworks we believe that the Chinese customer is quickly becoming a more demanding and refined client. All our activity depends on the actual Chinese scenario with a constant attention at the new China we’ll see within 5 years.

Q: Tell us the best results you achieved since the beginning of the Fireworks adventure and the toughest difficulties you faced while launching your startup.

Red tape is tough. At the same time the industry in China is widely opened to outsiders and in China is a common feeling to believe that the market is big enough for several players. The average age of our team is 25 years, but this isn’t a big issue while interacting with top decision-makers and influencing their decision process. It’s not only a matter of successful projects we’re following, but the most positive aspect is definitely the dynamic environment: I succeeded in persuading talented resources to team up in the launch of Fireworks without fearing the risks of the startup phase of a business. We’re daily interacting with Italian startups and we’re continuousy in touch with a different Italy we didn’t know: a country determined to change the status quo with its own ideas.

Fast paced startups like Fireworks pioneering digital marketing, could easily meet the new Chinese customer profile within the next 5-10 years. They’re a precious resource for western brands determined to build up their identity in China while catching the disruptive trends now animating the Chinese society and the opportunities for luxury/high-end market, especially in new segments and locations like the second-level urbanization cities or the fast developing areas.

Categories: Communication & Technology

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5 replies


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