PR in the Chinese fashion world is one of the most effective communication levers to work with a brand’s image and reputation. In China, the media is an important outlet of information and is used by many international brands to increase their awareness and reach the Chinese audience. In China, news coming from media is seen as more trustworthy by Chinese consumers. That’s why PR is used by many fashion brands in China. If it’s done properly it can be great for sales, customer engagement and so much more.
But PR practices in China are a bit different from those used in the US or Europe. Here are a few things to note to develop a successful fashion PR strategy in China.
The biggest PR opportunities on China are online
You may know that China is the first market in the world in terms of Internet users. There are more than 649 million users throughout the country, and the rising popularity of the web has resulted in significant social and commercial changes that fashion companies should understand to be able to reach their key customers in these markets.
Nowadays online newspapers and portals such as forums are the main sources of information for Chinese shoppers. The working population with a high purchasing power reads news online rather than in print, and it’s an excellent channel for brands looking to engage with customers directly. Recently, fashion websites in China reached 12.4 million users per day. This is an impressive breeding ground for fashion brands looking to communicate.
Top Chinese fashion publications and websites
In China, fashion brands will find the most success by reaching out to websites specializing in fashion. They are very powerful and used by a lot of Chinese shoppers. Haibao.cn is a fashion platform where shoppers can log on to find fashion advice, brand lookbooks and celebrity trends from all around the world.
The website has more than 1.2 million registered members and 90% of them log on at least once a week.
Let’s take the example of Jimmy Choo below, a very popular designer brand among Chinese fashionistas. Every time the brand organizes special events or release new products they use websites like these to engage and release content. It’s the easiest and most direct way to reach their targets.
As another example, our client Chatqn, a French lingerie brand was featured in Vogue in April 2015. We chose a story-rich angle, knowing Chinese consumers are very sensitive to stories. The aim of our outreach to publications like Vogue was to educate the Chinese consumers about the brand’s values and it worked quite well.
Social media and Key Opinion Leaders are important players
450 million users are connected through social media and it’s a huge cultural phenomenon. Platforms like WeChat and Weibo are vital to PR outreach. Social media has a major impact on the fashion industry.
PR campaigns on social media are associated with a KOL (Key Opinion Leader) strategy. KOLs are tastemakers in the fashion world, and can be compared to fashion bloggers. They are able to influence and relate to an audience on social media such as Weibo and collaborate with brands to promote their products. The Twitter-like platform has over 500 million people registered, allows users to publish posts, images and videos and is a favorite of KOLs.
Like most influencers and tastemakers, KOLs are relatable, viable players for fashion brands as they have millions of followers that attract public attention. KOLs are courted by brands with sponsored social content or editorial posts.
Chinese consumers are very sensitive to key opinion leaders posts and KOL endorsement can be a decisive buying trigger for Chinese shoppers.
Chinese consumers are very sensitive to key opinion leaders posts and can be a decisive buying trigger for Chinese shoppers.
The Chinese PR landscape has particularities that brands should consider to hit their Chinese targets. Compared with others marketing techniques, PR in China is one of the most cost-efficient ways to promote a fashion brand, if the media outreach is done properly.
About Charlène Moglia
Charlène Moglia is in charge of fashion projects at Gentleman Marketing Agency, a Shanghai based digital agency, that helps fashion brands wanting to develop their presence in China to increase their awareness and visibility.
Photo Credit: Victoria Chan Photography