Top 5 Ways to Win with Luxury Brands in China

29 Sep 2015|Added Value China

1- Fuse Tradition With Modernity
The Beijing Olympic Games marked a starting point that signified a new era of self-awareness in China. The past is being re-evaluated and reimagined under a new, liberated light. The future is now being seen with optimism in terms of its infinite potential promised by the world’s fastest growing economy and the sense of historical momentum that comes with it.
Brand philosophies have developed to become sophisticated statements that draw inspiration from the past but at the same time ride the wave of emerging culture. As such, products and communications are based on traditional ideas and techniques but are adjusted in a contemporary context, connecting pride of heritage with confidence for the future. Traditional motifs, elements and patterns are resurfacing in digital formats and fresh combinations giving brands a sense of historical continuity and eternal, classical value.
Example: Qeelin, a Chinese jewelry brand, is using Qilin, a mythical animal of the past, as its vehicle of communication but has adopted it into a digital format and incorporated a modern woman. It communicates acknowledgement and respect of tradition combined with awareness of contemporary conditions such as female empowerment

2- Experientialism
Customers are looking for richer experiences in both the real and the virtual world. As mobile and digital connectivity become an inseparable part of Chinese consumers’ daily lives, the idea of reality is being renegotiated and its rarity is being seen as a precious commodity. Moments of intimacy and real personal connection have become important and this also applies to consumer-brand relationships. This has created an increasing appreciation of the need to create ‘real’ and ‘physical’ connections which deliver richer and more real brand experiences.
As a result, retail stores are evolving into theatrical kind of spaces, where brands are creating immersive environments through design, service, and overall experience. Offering richer brand experiences using new digital and mobile technology is becoming an increasingly powerful approach. The Shanghai tang fashion brand offers a special service on their website by allowing users to take a virtual visit of their flagship store in Shanghai. Similarly Jimmy Choo engages customers by providing a virtual showroom allowing customers to see what they’re going to be buying.
Example: Mixmind’s clothing stores provide a multisensory experience where smell, sight and touch are aroused; creating an experience that by far transcends a normal walk in a shop.

3- Nature Branded
Environmental disasters, growing pollution and international public outcry have shifted perceptions towards nature’s increasing value and appreciation. As nature is becoming scarce in exponentially growing cities, it is becoming a rare sellable commodity with great cultural value. Natural themes are becoming increasingly relevant in communicating exclusivity and rarity
Nature provides ideas and themes for brand philosophies, raw ingredients for crafting products and inspiration for communications.
Example: The products of Shang Xia, a brand for art of living, use raw natural materials to communicate superior aesthetic and unsurpassable beauty that only nature can deliver.

4- Understated Minimalism
There has been an emerging shift from luxury defined as overt status and ‘bling’ to a greater value being placed on understatement and contemporary aesthetics. In order to win, brands must find more relevant ways to connect with their customers. Less is more and brands that choose to speak in an understated way suggest confidence in the superiority and sophistication of their products. In a world where branding and products become increasingly complex and ‘loud’ the simplified becomes associated not with lack of attention but with overt thoughtfulness in the process of creation and hence extraordinary and luxurious. Simple product and packaging lines and shapes, subtle colors and details, minimal visual compositions, motifs and product displays have become evidence of luxurious branding.
Example: Moving away from luxury clothing with large logos and shiny surfaces, Mixmind creates products with simple design and almost no branding communicating luxury for those who know.

5- The ART of Luxury / A high price is no longer enough to be considered luxury
Brands must provide evidence of their quality craftsmanship and rich experiences to justify their luxury status. Cultural secrets can inspire new ways for luxury brands to stay fresh and one step ahead of their customers.
Brands tap into the art world to suggest masterful crafting of products that are works of art for a discerning, eclectic audience.
Example: K11 Mall in Hong Kong is decorated with numerous pieces of artwork and has exhibition panels which change every 3 months. Part of the thinking behind this is that shopping amongst artworks creates a sense that the purchases borrow some attributes from the artworks themselves and hence higher emotional and aesthetic value.
“Written by Panos Dimitropoulos, Account Director of Cultural Insight, and Sam Woollard, Client Development Director, with support from the Added Value China team.”
Contact: Added Value Shanghai Office; T: +86 (21) 3612 6666; Email:

Image Source: K11 Mall in Hong Kong

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