The market for fast-moving consumer goods in China has grown increasingly challenging to outsiders, with 60% of foreign brands reporting declining market share as of mid-2014. The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo, for example, have seen their combined share of soft drink volume in China drop 4.6% since 2009 as domestic players gain ground. In the beverage category, local brands are also outperforming global players in terms of digital competence, representing 62% of L2’s Gifted or above cohort in our first Digital IQ Index: Beverages China. But global players represent half the top 10 brands in our rankings, led by Genius brands Red Bull and Coca-Cola.

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1. Red Bull

Digital IQ: 160

Red Bull also ranked No. 1 in L2’s Digital IQ Index for Beverages in 2014, primarily due to its massive online content hub and mastery of social platforms. In China, Red Bull has exported its practice of populating digital platforms with abundant high-quality content generated from music and sports sponsorships. The brand also excels in terms of quantity: While a majority of Index beverage brands are active on two to four social media platforms, Red Bull reaches Chinese fans across six platforms, providing multiple touchpoints for campaigns.

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 6.10.09 PM2. Coca-Cola

Digital IQ: 149

Coca-Cola is well ahead of rival Pepsi (which scores 106 and ranks as Average) on L2’s Digital IQ Index. Like Red Bull, Coca-Cola is notable for being active across six social media platforms. Examples include Coca-Cola recently becoming one of the first three brands to debut in-feed ads on WeChat. The nationwide Coca-Cola Polar Bear exhibition helped build awareness of the iconic mascot across Sina Weibo and WeChat, while #PolarBearWarning# has gained more than 70 million impressions and 30,000 mentions. And a sweepstakes launched in partnership with Alipay enabled customers to redeem codes for a chance to prizes using the mobile wallet app. The Coca-Cola Company’s brands aren’t uniformly adept at digital, however, with three (Fanta, new RTD coffee product Georgia and Original Leaf tea) falling into L2’s Feeble category.

 Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 6.09.11 PM3. Mizone (Groupe Danone)

Digital IQ: 123

Danone’s water brand offers a comprehensive site experience that includes product information, lifestyle material, games, user-generated content and e-commerce support. The “Good Guy’s Confession” campaign leveraged gamification elements to drive e-gift sales, spanning user activity across the brand site, multiple social media platforms, mobile SMS alerts and offline activity. Men were encouraged men to confess their love 
to a “secret crush” with a gift to warm up the winter. A game on the brand site offered gifts tailored to women, which men could deliver by entering their crush’s mobile number. The woman replied to the SMS with her address to receive the gift or clicked a link to redeem a coupon.

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 7.25.58 PM4. Hennessy (LVMH)

Digital IQ: 119

Original content such as mini-movies or recreational shows are among the most popular content on China’s video sites. Hennessy hosted the online singing competition “Dare to Dream” on Youku, repurposing content to engage fans across other channels. Hennessy’s brand site provides bar locators and collects user interests during account sign-up.

5. Martell (Pernod Ricard)Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 7.34.49 PM

Digital IQ: 113

While few beverage brands have loyalty or account programs that extend to the China marketplace, Martell’s “Noblige” community microsite is mobile-optimized, offers account signup, solicits user-generated content and drives traffic to the Tmall store. Members receive information about events, a brand-curated e-magazine, and direct access to other members via a community forum. Martell’s channel on Youku is populated with 74 videos categorized into seven distinct product series, featured content from its ongoing “The Contemporary Noble” campaign and direct links to the Tmall Brand Store.
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