• Ellen Sun

Never Miss An Opportunity During Shopping Season

Fenty Beauty, founded by Rihanna and financed by LVMH, has been one of the fastest-growing beauty brands in the last three years. In its first fiscal year, the brand’s global sales exceeded EUR 500 million (approximately CNY 3.86 billion)[1], which is quite remarkable.

[1] https://www.cbo.cn/article/id/47288.html


On the other side of the world in China, on double 11 (November 11, China’s version of Black Friday) in 2018, an influential KOL on T-Mall named Wei Ya sold CNY 267 million worth of products within merely 2 hours through live streaming. The sales record of Ms. Wei in 2018 was reported to be over CNY 2.7 billion[1].

[1] https://new.qq.com/omn/20191115/20191115A0DNY900.html


2019 was known as the KOL economy year of China. During the pre-sale promotion for double 11, Li Jiaqi, another top T-Mall KOL with comparable influence as Wei Ya, singlehandedly sold 410,000 stocks of Estee Lauder serum with his famous catchphrase “ALL GIRLS!”. The item went out of stock in China instantly.


(KOL Li Jiaqi is so popular, clips of his streams were made into memes.)


Shopping season could be chaotic for both customers and brands. How did your brand do during the past shopping season? Would you like to know if KOL marketing can help you find the edge over competitors in China? Read on.


Is KOL marketing supposed to be seasonal?


The answer is yes, just like any other type of marketing. KOL marketing should be conducted according to different promotional seasons.


In recent years, more and more people in China celebrate Christmas and New Year. In fact, there is a term created for this holiday season, “Shuang Dan”, which is originated from the Chinese pronunciations for “Sheng Dan” (i.e., Christmas) and “Yuan Dan” (i.e. January 1).

Every brand, willingly or unwillingly, joins the price war each year. Ads, coupons and discount codes pop up endlessly everywhere. Whether it is to avoid information overload or to shop rationally, consumers tend to prioritize only the information sources they trust for reference.


With the help of KOLs’ personal approaches, brands can convey their messages to the target audience tailored to your specific markets. KOLs are not only shopping guides but “friends” of customers on social media, which makes them more persuasive than mass marketing.


How to choose the right KOLs?


Naturally, the number of followers is the first criterion to evaluate the extent of influence of a KOL. However, is it always the more the better? Not necessarily.



( KOL branding pyramid by HOOLU )

This figure above provides a general guideline of how brands should choose different tiers of KOL based on their following. When considering a KOL for your brand, the first priority is to identify your objective. As illustrated, KOLs of different tiers can be leveraged to serve different purposes.


If you have a tight marketing budget, it is particularly crucial to spend your budget wisely and make sure you hit the right targets.


Besides the following number, engagement and follower “stickiness” are also important factors to consider. It is commonly seen that the smaller the magnitude of KOL on social platforms, the higher the engagement rate of its followers. Therefore, if the conversation is your goal, macro KOLs with large following numbers, who will cost a huge chunk of your budget are not your only choice. Smaller KOLs with good engagement might surprise you with better conversion, as they are perceived less commercial thus more authentic. This way, you are able to put your eggs in different baskets by engaging multiple micro KOLs, with the same amount of budget that you would otherwise spend on a macro one.


If you have a rather sizable marketing budget for both brand awareness and product promotion. You can consider engaging a mix of both macro and micro/nano KOLs.


The effectiveness of KOL marketing also largely depends on how followers of each KOL feel about the endorsement. The more aligned the brand’s and KOLs’ images are, the better your message will be received by your audience.



Anything Special about Shopping Seasons in China?

Year-end sale is different considering everyone carries a long shopping list, which also makes it a competitive time for marketing. Your brand’s attractiveness highly depends on how well you can persuade the customers that your products are what they need.


The shopping holidays for China are not exactly the same as the rest of the world. Besides Christmas and other holidays like Valentine’s and Mothers’/Fathers’ Day, you should also be prepared for Chinese New Year, double 11 (Nov 11) and double 12 (Dec 12), especially for e-commerce.


(@StatistaCharts, Source: NetEase/163.com)


And the best way to promote online sales, well, it wouldn’t be a surprise if we say it could be online marketing with KOLs’ personal endorsements, right?


Contact HOOLU to learn more about your China marketing solutions.

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