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01. Summer-time cafés create memories for sharing.

Summer is the time for having fun, and we found four luxury brands doing just that via branded café experiences. These summer treats convey brands’ aesthetics while also encouraging online connections through photo sharing and group proofing.

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Longchamp Café in Beijing is “a medium to convey a Parisian attitude toward authentic life and fashion.” The concept is to immerse people in Parisian culture, with French coffee, pastries, and even reading materials. With an eye towards the digital, Longchamp’s WeChat post promoting the café encourages people to “freeze happy moments” by taking and sharing photos.

Burberry’s Thomas Café is part of their “social retail boutique” in Shenzhen. It integrates British and Chinese ”tea culture and dessert” with activities and even live performances. But the experience is not limited to the tea table. Burberry has intertwined the social nature of WeChat with their offline and online venues. Upon opening their WeChat Mini Program, users are greeted with a number showing how many people have liked it. The Mini Program allows users to upload photos from the café and view and like others’, which earns digital gifts like digital Thomas Café stickers to send to their friends.

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“Dioriviera” Dior Café pop-up came to Hong Kong in April and is set to visit Sanya, Shanghai, and Chengdu this summer. Attendees can purchase limited capsule items, including totes, bucket hats, scarves, and even beach games and a hammock! The experience was created with “share-ability” in mind, with several special backdrops designed for taking Weibo-worthy photos.

Hennessy has taken a slightly different approach by featuring a drink in several independent coffee shops throughout Shanghai. Each café has a QR code that lets people share their stories and get a discount on their drinks. The luxury brand has also hosted several two-day café truck events throughout April, May, and continuing into June. Visitors got the chance to customize their own bottle by checking in, taking photos, and participating in games. These events take place at different stops every weekend, usually outside of big cities like Beijing and Shanghai. In this way, Hennessy’s strategy allows the brand to perhaps make more authentic connections, reaching places that often don’t attract much notice from Western luxury brands. And like Burberry’s, their café experience has been ongoing; the Hennessy truck toured back in January of this year.  

This year has seen outreach from luxury through immersive events (Louis Vuitton, Bvlgari,  and Gucci – see below), phygital pop-ups (like Salvatore Ferragamo’s), and community exercise activities (think Tag Heuer’s smart watch workout classes). These cafés show another side of how brands can spread their aesthetic and story both face-to-face and in the digital world.

 

02. Key takeaways from the China Luxury Forecast 2021 feature sustainability concerns.

Consumer confidence is back in China! Here are our key takeaways from the China Luxury Forecast 2021 by Ruder Finn and Consumer Search group:

  • 41% plan to spend more on luxury goods than last year.
  • People are “most willing to increase or maintain spending on beauty and cosmetics.”
  • Clothing and shoes is the next most popular category.
  • 36% of respondents spent more on luxury than they’d planned to in 2020.
  • Gen Z’s top reason for purchasing luxury goods was to “Improve life quality,” beating out “Reflect my taste,” which took third place.

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Sustainability is playing heavily in consumers’ minds:

  • 85% of respondents in China think “that the luxury market is an important means for encouraging sustainability.”
  • 91% are willing to pay more for luxury items that are made with an eye toward social and environmental sustainability. This is, however, quite limited: 27% said they would pay no more than an extra 5%, and a further 38% put the cap at a 10% premium. Only 3% said they would pay 20% or more for sustainability.
  • 92% would essentially stop buying products “sold under a brand that is irresponsible towards sustainability”

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03. Gucci crafts “cannot be copied” moments in their Shanghai playground.

Gucci and WeChat bring “cannot be copied” moments to Shanghai in a phygital experience. A double-decker, bubblegum-pink bus greets visitors as they follow an AR hot air balloon to the exhibition, which they’ll tour listening to the voices of their favorite celebrities. From start to finish, Gucci has created a truly enthralling experience.  

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The “emotional playground” offers attendees a chance to explore and celebrate in the Gucci’s 100 years. Attendees can use the brand’s WeChat Mini Program to make the most of it:

  • Book and view their appointment to visit.
  • Use an AR hot air balloon to locate the exhibition.
  • Watch a video of Gucci’s creative director explaining the exhibition’s inspiration.
  • Learn more about special merchandise.
  • Enjoy the site with a digital “celebrity tour.”

The response has been fantastic, with tons of buzz. On Weibo, the hashtag # Gucci original exhibition # has gotten over a whopping 400 million views and 1.2 million discussions. On Gucci’s WeChat post, readers especially loved the celebrity tour and a chance to take pictures in the same spots as Lu Han 鹿晗, Li Yuchun 李宇春, Ni Ni 倪妮, and Lu Wen 刘雯.  We love seeing how Gucci has enhanced this event with their WeChat Mini Program to create such a multi-faceted experience.

 

04. Louis Vuitton fans on WeChat get front row seats to 2022 Early Spring Women’s show.

Louis Vuitton gave their fans in China a view into their 2022 Early Spring Women’s show via a lovely WeChat Mini Program! WeChat users could register for the livestreamed show, browse up-close looks from the event, watch 11 different videos of celebrities opening invitations to the show, and watch a video of the outdoor runway show afterwards.

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The celebrity videos were especially well done for a few reasons. Each video encouraged people to “bind” their info. in the LV WeChat account to gain access to the livestream. Data binding on WeChat allows brands to personalize service and better target content. Not a bad move. Celebrities included Mulan star Crystal Liu (“Fairy Sister,” 刘亦菲) and Gen Z’s much-beloved musician and actor Nana Ouyang 歐陽娜娜 (who was also recently named a Givenchy ambassador).

Was it a success? It looks like a resounding “Yes!” # Louis Vuitton Early Spring Show # got over a half billion views (570+ million) in three days on Weibo. And requiring registration in WeChat to view the livestream created an exclusive feel, yet was still accessible. Plus, it allowed Louis Vuitton to learn more about its audience from WeChat data, which can be used for future targeted content and even journey personalization.

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