Nathalie Omori, Senior Partner of Zhenji, a marketing firm devoted to Chinese HNWIs, explores the way that indigenous luxury brands are adapting marketing strategies to their own unique commercial culture
Each according to its field, the chinese luxury brands intended for the inhabitants are today very successful. These brands not only show some creativity in the way they think up their products but also in the different marketing processes they use.
“Zhao Yi” is a jade brand only located in Beijing where it owns two luxurious shops and a VIP club. Why was this VIP club created and what is going on there? It is a place where Zhao Yi organizes some advanced lessons of gemmology for its best customers. These lessons of course make the customers more and more demanding concerning the quality of the gems but they also attach them to this brand which is today so selective regarding the choice of the jades it offers.
The now well-learned customer can feel proud and show off his knowledge around. He can also explain why his buyings are so valuable and what made them so expensive; he becomes somewhat indebted to the brand for the learned knowledge. A new relationship customer/brand.
Moutai, the chinese white spirit brand, did choose Go Chunning, an artist, to design the bottle and packaging of its 60 years old vintage which had been reserved for the sixtieth anniversary celebration, in 2009, of the Chinese State’s creation. But Go Chunning is not just any Chinese designer: It is his logo, out of the 20.000 submitted ones, that has been retained, in 2008, for the Olympic Games in Beijing and he is considered in China as a national star having his proper style. This designed bottle of Moutai has been sold 88.000 Euros by auction…
Moutai bottle designed by Go Chunning
Chinese people love to see their brands work with well known Chinese artists for this increases the value of the good they buy; just as if each one of them could appropriate a small particle of contemporary art of their country. And this is most interesting for the chinese contemporary art has reached the top on the art market lately so that, now, the value of these artists cannot be contested anymore.
MaKe, the designer of the brand “Exception” for Mixmind, has created the chinese couture brand “Wu Yong” which is only exhibited in art galleries. In China, an artist is better esteemed than a manager; the value of the brand Exception of Mixmind has been directly increased by this fact for it did not have a designer at its head but an artist.
‘wu yong’ at the victoria&albert; museum, 2008
And how many catwalk or brand promotion costs saved, otherwise inevitable for a medium-size brand?
Besides, no more restrained by marketing necessities, a designer can feel free to express himself and give full vent to his creativity, with quality as one and only requirement.
MaKe’s connection to art could be related to some of the French Agnes B’s approaches: they both use art galleries to project some kind of world view. And this is how a new distribution network where fashion becomes an art and designers, artists springs up.
Shouldn’t we, occidentals, pay more attention to those new chinese practices which could very well come, some day, onto our market?
Nathalie Omori, Senior Partner, Zhenji