Perfume: a lucrative market in China
The perfume and fragrance market in China is expected to be responsible for 25% of the industry’s global market growth by 2020. With China’s GDP increasing by around 7% every year, China’s 350 million middle-class consumers are increasing their spending on luxury fragrances.
It is wrong to simply dismiss the Chinese luxury market as ‘new wealth’. In fact, luxury spenders from Main Land China are incredibly discerning and look for special, quality perfumes that tell a story and add value to their sense of self and understanding of the world. This is particularly important as China becomes more internationally focused and outward-looking as a major economy on the global stage.
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Parfums De Versailles Seize An Opportunity
With the growth of the perfume and fragrance market Parfums De Versailles (PDV), the French luxury brand was perfectly positioned to capitalize on the demand from Chinese consumers. The reputable brand identified the importance of focusing on China as a key market for their long-term growth and approached Gentlemen Marketing to develop their communication strategy. The French perfumes entered the Chinese market thanks to a very effective communication and marketing strategy.
The importance of branding and storytelling
The discerning Chinese consumer desires quality. In a market often known for poorer quality goods and fakes it is of utmost importance to distinguish yourself as the genuine article with a quality, luxury product line consumers can trust. The best way to communicate this is through storytelling. As humans, we are drawn to well-constructed, emotionally engaging stories. The strategy for PDV was to communicate this in the best way to their Chinese audience.
Constructing the perfect French story
The story of Parfums De Versailles represents the epitome of French luxury. The line of fragrances was originally only available at the Palace of Versailles. This Chateau hosted several French kings who were famous for their excessive use of cosmetics. Formulas from the 17th and 18th centuries were used to create these Parfums de Versailles. It was vital to communicate this sense of prestige and history to the Chinese to tap into their desire to feel ‘treated like royals’ themselves. It also set PDV apart from many other competitors who, whilst operating in China, did not have the same level of engagement with consumers online through adapted and tailored Mandarin-language content. The tone and message of the campaign were that Chinese consumers should be treated like ‘royalty and could experience this premium luxury through the PDV range.
The benefit of being a French Brand in China
France is renowned by Chinese consumers as a luxury destination that produces high-quality exports. It is associated with high fashion, culture, and all the positive connotations which come with this. For PDV capitalizing on this association with quality was key. With the growth of cross-border e-commerce platforms the infrastructure for increasing visibility, reputation, and ultimately sales have never been more developed for international brands.
We were tasked to ‘create a buzz around the brand through crafting the right story and premium image for the brand. This was achieved through quality content and visual design. We also produced a quality online game for Chinese consumers to promote interaction with the brand. This type of mobile ‘gaming marketing’ remains very popular in China with 550 million smartphone users.
Consumers and the media engage with the brand through gaming
In China gaming is viewed in a very popular light, even for luxury brands. It is not just a mass-market approach but a key way to engage with wealthy consumers.
The game created was a relatively simple character-based, 2D adventure where the ‘Royal character’ had to pick up points and different value item coins along the way. The aesthetic of the background was luxurious and set in the Palace of Versailles itself. It was a multi-player game with users competing for the highest score. Before playing, the brand’s story and promotional content were displayed for users. In effect, the game became a platform for the brand’s communication and story-telling strategy.
How did we do?
Crafting the right story for PDV and linking this with a popular multi-player game created a buzz in just two weeks. More than 50 articles were written about the game with 200 game users in a single day. This attracted the attention of a Fashion Video Channel ‘Fashion Xi’ which reported on the event. The video they produced received 1.72 million views.
The key is to understand the most effective strategy in a very different marketplace. In the west, gaming is not typically associated with luxury but the Chinese consumer sees it as a perfectly legitimate form of high-end content. This emphasizes the importance of adapting and tailoring your strategy to the Chinese market. This is where we come in, we are purely digital specialists who can manage your communications to improve the reputation and visibility of your brand in China. Here we proved that this can be done within a short time frame, this campaign created a ‘buzz’ in only two weeks.
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