It was very interesting to engage with this client, as they taught us about how the Chinese view media as a whole, and how the population has developed a cautious approach to above the line traditional advertising methods.
We discovered that due to the different cultural make up in China they have developed large extended family and friend social networks, where the average person has a social circle upwards of five times that of the average westerner. No wonder then that the internet has become a favoured form of communication in China, and that digital mrketing techniques based on trust, reviews and social networking appear to be growing in adoption and popularity.
However, traditional global brands have entered the Chinese market and tried to replicate their almost franchised marketing approach, and have wondered why they are initially viewed with suspicion in the general populuous. It seems that the fastest way to a successful business in the internal Chinese market is based on one major tenet – TRUST.
Whilst there is still a level of governance on internet content in China, it seems that there is also a desire to see companies from within China, and of course foriegn companies exercise levels of corporate social responsibility, as this helps them to gain trust at the grass roots level with their employees and the local population, in turn building on trust.
Companies seem to be learning that they need to be sure that they are putting something back into the Chinese community, and effectively building their businesses on foundations of stone not sand. As the Chinese internal economy matures, it will be interesting to see which brands emerge as superbrands. Will it actually be the old favourites that we see everywhere else like Coca Cola and Ford, or will it be new unknown brands, grown on solid ethical principles, that will then go on to global awareness from a Chinese launchpad?
The Ethical Edge Web Site is designed to help companies understand which events are taking place across the major Chinese conurbations that companies can get involved in to help make a difference to the Chinese communities.
It strikes me that their concept is founded on strong moral principles, and that at a time when the world seems to be facing up to a post-greed apocolypse, it’s a genuine tonic to see groups of corporate individuals getting together to support such an inititative. I know we were thrilled to be involved in the project build and are looking forward to learning more about digital marketing in China.