With higher budgets and decades of experience, global Beauty enterprises have a clear advantage over Chinese brands when it comes to digital. Seven of the top ten brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beauty China are global, with only one local company joining their ranks. However, global enterprises could learn from Chinese brands’ innovative approach to cross-platform marketing. Inoherb and Hanhoo are examples of brands that successfully reach their audience on traditional and digital media channels, as well as brick-and-mortar stores.
To promote its men’s product line, Chinese brand Inoherb deftly combined TV and online marketing. The brand sponsored the third season of the popular TV show “Dad, Where Are We Going?” on Hunan (Mango) TV. Using the Mango TV app, viewers could purchase Inoherb products while watching the show. By scanning a QR code that appeared during the broadcast and entering their contact information, they could play a game for the chance to win a coupon for Inoherb’s Tmall store.
In addition to integrating content and commerce, the campaign integrated social media: the show’s star Liu Ye was named an Inoherb brand ambassador and frequently promoted the sweepstakes to his 49.4 million followers. His Sina Weibo posts generated almost 400 times the engagement of Inoherb Men’s Sina Weibo account – helping the campaign hashtag garner 90.3 million impressions and 36,000 mentions on the platform.
Another local brand, Hanhoo, came up with an even more innovative strategy: creating its own holiday. For three consecutive years, the brand has promoted September 19 as its “Love Shopping Festival.”
To promote the festival in 2015, the brand launched a four-video series that garnered over 33 million views. Just as for Inoherb, brand ambassadors played a vital role in spreading the word on social media. Actor and brand ambassador Huang Xiaoming promoted the videos on Sina Weibo using the campaign’s #I Hate You!# (#我恨你!#) hashtag, garnering more than 50 times the engagement of Hanhoo’s own Sina Weibo posts.
Hanhoo also posted frequently on WeChat and Tmall, where the brand’s storefront campaign page featured a QR code linking to a corresponding UGC campaign on Tmall’s social media channel Weitao. The UGC campaign called for users to repost stickers and share their own stories of female friendship for the chance to win Hanhoo products.
This extravaganza of cross-platform marketing resulted in a major payoff. On September 19, Hanhoo’s became the top ranked Beauty store on Tmall, netting $1.7 million in sales. Across online and offline channels, the brand managed to double its sales, raking in $157 million from the festival. But brands seeking to launch their own holidays might want to act quickly: with both Alibaba’s Singles Day and Hanhoo’s Love Shopping Festival on the calendar already, Chinese consumers might want to set a few days aside for non-e-commerce-related celebrations.