China All Media, Dynamic With Opportunities


It’s easy to make assumptions about the media in China. That all channels are tightly controlled, restricted and largely ‘closed’ to authentic or creative communication. That if businesses have one big idea, and put it across using one channel – most often TV – they can expect it to reach and influence all their target audiences.

This is no longer the case: China’s media landscape is extremely dynamic, powerful, complex and fragmented. There are opportunities for Chinese marketing company looking to enter the market to tell a powerful story that wins customers and builds loyalty, but they need to understand and adapt their marketing plan to the ways people use China’s all media today.

Chinese consumers access information via multiple channels and multiple screens. Digital media has grown exponentially, and the number of social media users is rising dramatically – the Twitter-type microblog service Weibo now has more than 20 million users, significantly more than the total number of internet users in the US. Mobile is now the top channel for accessing the internet.

As their wealth and sophistication grows, Chinese consumers are becoming increasingly aware of their relationship with brands. To achieve and sustain brand strength, this relationship needs to be developed and reinforced in a strategic way through Chinese all media channels they use.

Chinese consumers have learned to buy for reasons other than price – they’re looking for choice, more specialized products, and true value. Businesses need to create a strong value proposition: identifying their markets, understanding what they want and creating a package of price, features, positioning and packaging that will engage consumers on a deeper level. They then need to communicate this value proposition, being precise in their targeting and messaging, and understanding which media channels to use and how, especially for digital marketing.

Creating and communicating differentiation is also important. According to Millward Brown research across over 1,000 brands in China, both local and international, being considered meaningfully different by target consumers produced a 37 percent higher contribution to brand value. Well differentiated brands are also 12 times more likely to grow in value than brands with only average differentiation.

Meaningful differentiation is more than “this is new!” – in highly innovative categories like technology loyalty is low because the next ‘best idea’ is often just around the corner. The difference needs to benefit consumers’ lives in a distinctive way that they recognize and appreciate, and businesses need to communicate this in a meaningful way: a memorable ad can easily leave people entertained, for example, but without any clear understanding of why to select one brand over another.

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