1. Group discrimination, especially gender discrimination
With the rise of feminist consciousness among Chinese women, everyone has become serious and sensitive to all female issues that appear in their lives. Many issues that were once ignored will now no longer be accepted and condoned.
In recent years, several brands have been boycotted by female consumers for inappropriate marketing and have been asked to apologize for the “misogynistic” nature of their content. Many of these brands include major international brands with a focus on women’s products, including well-known sanitary napkin brands, tea brands, medical apps and lingerie brands.
This reflects that many brands still maintain old-fashioned concepts and do not have sufficient knowledge of minority groups and women’s groups, and do not grasp the current changes in the thinking of Chinese women in a timely and accurate manner. As a result, it is easy to have a lax content audit, unable to think differently with female consumers. Such serious mistakes may directly lead to the brand’s reputation being ruined beyond repair.
In the Chinese market, where the “her economy” is prevalent, brands must be clear about this concept: female consumers have huge consumption power and are not difficult to get along with. Brands need to put sincerity and respect in the first place, follow women’s social issues and speak up for the disadvantaged, create warm and deep marketing content, encourage Chinese women to become independent and confident, and encourage minority groups to speak up, without the need for curiosity and flattering marketing methods to catch consumers’ eyes.
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2. False brand information, misleading consumers
The famous Chinese lifestyle department store brand recently apologized for its previous series of inappropriate marketing behaviors, including: intentionally blurring brand identity information and misleading consumers that its products are imported products.
Because of Chinese consumers’ preference to consume imported products, many brands have tried to open up sales and raise awareness in China by disguising themselves as fake imported brands. However, in recent years, young Chinese consumers have become more sensitive to the marketing techniques and brand positioning of such brands. While Chinese consumers love and trust products that contain “foreign elements”, local brands that try to disguise themselves as foreign brands can be very effective. However, if a local brand tries to disguise itself as an imported brand, or if the brand’s words or actions involve sensitive issues such as “degrading Chinese culture” or “distorting history”, Chinese consumers will immediately show their anger and stop buying.
Companies need to understand Chinese values and worldview, and respect Chinese culture and unique market laws in order to develop effective marketing tools for their brands, and to embed “tolerance” and “diversity” into consumers’ cultural perception of brands.
3. Plagiarism of marketing content, disregard for intellectual property rights
In the first half of this year, a major marketing copy plagiarism accident occurred in China’s advertising industry, in which an ad copy written by a 4A advertising agency for a world-renowned luxury car brand was plagiarized, and the beautiful text passage about the Chinese festival of “Xiao Man” was viewed hundreds of millions of times. We learned that the ad was basically word-for-word the same as what the original author (a Tik Tok/Douyin influencer) posted.
In fact, this kind of thing is common in China’s marketing market, but many brands have no respect for individual content creators, who consider themselves to be famous and financially strong, and continue to adopt a domineering and brutal attitude in stealing the knowledge of others when they know they are plagiarizing. This will undoubtedly lead to consumer anger and lower the brand’s tone, causing disappointment among consumers who value high-end brand culture.
When marketing in China, brands need to be clear that knowledge royalties are as important as media costs, and that brands can only win consumer recognition and market rewards if they respect each content creator.
4. The business of anxiety, mental kidnapping and social pressure
There is another phenomenon in the Chinese marketing world: anxiety trafficking. In order to sell their products, brands use the most current concerns of each age group to create a sense of crisis and make consumers feel anxious to buy their services or products. For example, “your peers have twice as much money as you”, “no one wants you if you don’t work out”, “start anti-aging at 17”, “if you don’t learn English, the world will leave you behind.”
No matter how perfect a person is, they are surrounded by this anxiety. Consumers’ age, body shape, education, savings, recreational activities and even diet are all compared and become weapons to stimulate consumers. The marketing content crafts a trap into which consumers’ otherwise non-existent desires are led to enter and then consume. This series of operations has drawn a lot of resentment from Chinese consumers.
In recent years, Chinese consumers’ consumption philosophy is gradually changing from frenzied consumerism to a rational consumption model that focuses more on quality and cultural concepts. This is a very good signal for the brands, just need to do: produce quality products and deliver quality ideas.
5. Exaggerated product efficacy, especially in the field of health foods and beverages
In recent years, as public health awareness has increased, Chinese consumers have become more and more aware of the dangers of excessive sugar intake, and sugar control and sugar withdrawal have become the new trend. Many businesses use exaggerated techniques to falsely market their products in order to meet the demand for “low-sugar” and “low-cal” weight loss.
In the face of this chaos, the regulatory authorities have begun to intervene, and consumers have also sharpened their eyes and continue to learn how to distinguish the authenticity of such information. So brands need to be more honest and rigorous when marketing the functionality of their products, and avoid playing word games with consumers to create “selling points”.
Instead, consumers need to learn to read the ingredient list and nutrition facts to help them build awareness. This is the “smart way” to market health food brands.
Brand marketing in China : a global strategy and a responsible commitment
Marketing is the most important thing for a product to enter the market, the essence is to achieve reputation and awareness, spread the brand culture, and thus enhance the overall brand premium ability.
Therefore, if brands (local, or foreign companies) want to market effectively in China and meet the expectations of the Chinese people, they cannot do without a sensitive market sense and a sincere marketing attitude. Only in this way will Chinese consumers look for the “smartest” brand and deepen their trust in it, thus building a good brand image.
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