For Luxury Property Sales to Chinese Buyers, Branding is Key


There are periods when industries are forced to rethink how they market to their customers, and for the luxury property industry, this is one of those moments. Reporting on the crisis facing international property developers in New York, the Financial Times highlighted that wealthy Chinese investors have been pouring $5.4 billion into luxury property since 2015, with that number rising to an all-time high of $8.8 billion in 2016.

But following Chinese government intervention and a crackdown on mainland Chinese investor spending overseas, investment levels fell into a big slump (an average of merely in the low hundreds of millions of dollars) during 2018. Because of this, the pressure is on international property developers and brokers to figure out more sophisticated and elegant ways to engage Chinese investors who are now more cautious but are still keen on buying luxury properties — if the buying experience is right.

As luxury moves from goods and services to unique experiences, the ultra-wealthy now insist that their most precious possession — time — be maximized in every way possible. That means in order to seduce highly-discerning buyers, one has to operate within a short window of time. Having a crystal-clear strategy that is built around the brand and reaches beyond simply “location, location, location” is key.

Selling luxury property to wealthy Chinese through intermediary sales agents and online sites such as, Juwai remain common paths for purchasing, however, the ways in which sellers promote and market property inventory must evolve to keep pace with ever-changing technologies, and they must stay aware of affluent buyers’ most current ‘need states’ — in other words, their most common behavior triggers. What are those need states? Today they include a desire for residencies built with bigger purpose and vision, offering well-being, sustainability, and genuine experiences.

Property brands, like luxury brands, need to define and articulate why they’re truly different, unique, and desirable. Finding and defining brand purpose is about discovering authentic stories about the building: its environment, the craftsmanship, the use of exquisite materials, the architect’s personal vision, and the character and culture of the neighborhood. Together, these attributes can help sew together a genuinely persuasive brand story.

A great example of this approach can be seen in a seven-story, seven-residence condominium at 152 Elizabeth Street in Manhattan’s Nolita district, designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect, Tadao Ando. His vision was to design a building that didn’t overpower the characteristics of the surrounding buildings by using traditional building materials from this century:  concrete, glass, and metal. Yet the overall experience Ando creates is a meditative retreat from the hectic pace of urban life, from the sound of a water wall greets you upon entering the building to the delicate butterfly joints that affix the sustainable wood floorboards together in the apartments. This, among many other fastidious details, forges one of the more unique settings available to modern city-dwellers. That uniqueness, in turn, builds more demand for the property.

Affluent and discerning Chinese buyers are the most tech-savvy customers in the world, and they expect singular and enriching experiences from luxury brands, especially ones with larger price tags. The country’s unique digital ecosystem gives luxury property brands an opportunity to deliver immersive experiences with content that is richly produced and presented with interactive elements to help keep customers engaged. By learning from emerging luxury apps like Live Auction Art, international luxury property developers and their creative agencies can adopt new technologies and build new platforms that customize and personalize the entire marketing journey — from initial mobile contact to the physical sales center. Today, it’s the best and perhaps the only way to separate yourself from the competition.

 

Tim Hill is Client Services & Development Director at Noë & Associates.





Source link

Can Cannes Bring Glamour to Hong Kong’s Art Mall?


Any lingering doubts about how prominent a role K11 MUSEA will play in Hong Kong’s cultural scene can be set aside with the news that the waterside Kowloon development will host The Festival de Cannes Film Week from 12 to 17 November.

Although Asian directors from Akira Kurosawa to Kim Ki-duk to Chen Kaige (陈凯歌) have long enjoyed success at the world’s most prestigious film festival, this year’s event will mark the first time it has been hosted on the continent. The programming will include six films from Festival de Cannes 2019 as well as Q&A sessions and film masterclasses. The film festival was realized through the work of Pierre Lescure and Thierry Frémaux, President and General Delegate of Festival de Cannes respectively, in coordination with Adrian Cheng, Founder of K11.

“I am honored to partner with Mr. Pierre Lescure and Mr. Thierry Frémaux in debuting Festival de Cannes Film Week in Hong Kong and Asia,” Adrian Cheng said in a press statement. “This is an important milestone for K11 MUSEA as we look to develop an on-going program of innovative cultural events for our international audience.”

K11 MUSEA, set to open Q3 2019, is the sister art mall to K11 which launched in 2009 and has become a premier shopping destination in Hong Kong. The nine-story mall considers itself a space that blends together “art, people, and nature,” according to its official website. In addition, K11 MUSEA is set to make art and ultra-high-end shopping its focus. Accordingly, the US$2.6 billion development will boast public art collections throughout the complex as well as a 12-theatre cinema center which will also be used to hold cultural activities, theater performances and filmmaker workshops.

Transporting the spirit and glamor of the French Riviera to other parts of the world has long been an ambition of Festival de Cannes Film organizers. What better choice than Hong Kong, a bustling cosmopolitan center, known to many as Asia’s World City?





Source link

Celine Builds a Mini-Site via WeChat Mini-Program


Under the new leadership of creative director Hedi Slimane, the French luxury brand Celine is slowly rolling out its digital strategy for China. After opening a WeChat account roughly two years ago, the brand finally launched its first-ever WeChat Mini Program on July 8.

But unlike other luxury brands that utilize a WeChat Mini Program for hosting flash sales or managing customer relationship, Celine’s approach is to make it a mini website for Chinese consumers to better understand the brand’s history, Slimane’s new design philosophy, and Celine’s latest collections.

Celine

An illustration of Celine’s WeChat mini program

The new WeChat Mini Program is divided into three parts: “About Celine,” “New Collection,” and “Store Nearby.”  In the first section, Celine presents its 74-year-old history, Hedi Slimane’s biography and two recent interviews with Figaro and Vanity Fair, plus, some audio and visual assets. Readers can browse through Celine’s latest collections from runway to celebrity looks in the second part. In addition, viewers are invited to discover the brand’s flagship stores in Paris, Tokyo, New York, and Milan. Lastly, the program enables consumers to make digital appointments to visit offline stores.

Launched by Tencent in January 2017, WeChat Mini Program has now become a must-have for luxury brands doing business in China due to its varied capabilities and massive user base. According to Gartner L2, a research and intelligence company, roughly 70 percent of fashion brands in China have at least one Mini Program nowadays. As a luxury latecomer to digital technologies, it’s necessary for Celine to play catch-up to ensure its offerings match what digital-savvy consumers in China demand.





Source link

Armani Beauty Debuts Very First WeChat AR Program


Virtual try-on makeup is not a new concept. The technology has long been used by retailers like Sephora, but to do so a store visit was required. Now, however, a new technology breakthrough from a WeChat app allows consumers the same virtual “try-on” experience anywhere through their mobile phones.

 

Photo: Armani beauty & WeChat.

Photo: Armani beauty & WeChat.

The cosmetic line under the Italian house Armani, in partnership with L’Oreal, was the first luxury brands to debut this AR Mini Program on WeChat. Powered by Modiface from L’Oreal, consumers could virtually try on all 23 lipstick shades (each is priced at 310 yuan, about $45), and have the option to put into a shopping cart or place an order right away, and all within the WeChat ecosystem. Described as the “Try Now Buy Now” model, this option is only available for users with WeChat 7.0.5 version and is supposed to offer a closer to reality and easier to use option than having to upload a picture to see the final effect. To unlock this feature, brands still need to partner with a third-party AR solution service and have a WeChat Mini Program.

One of the biggest advantages of the WeChat Mini Program is that you can use it without downloading any extra apps, making it a convenient tool for luxury brands to deliver new experiences. And AR technology offers a natural stimulation, be it virtual try-on of new footwear, handbags, accessories, jewelry, or even to showcase an exhibition entirely online. There’s plenty of room for imagination and innovation, to be sure. For luxury brands that pride themselves in crafting physical experience, this technology can’t substitute the in-store try-on, but it is one short step closer to recreating that reality. Though it’s too early to say whether this feature will help to purchase behaviors, it could certainly excite the masses of Chinese consumers who are expecting to interact with brands digitally and more playfully.





Source link

Armani Beauty Debuts Very First WeChat VR Program


Virtual try-on makeup is not a new concept. The technology has long been used by retailers like Sephora, but to do so a store visit was required. Now, however, a new technology breakthrough from a WeChat app allows consumers the same virtual “try-on” experience anywhere through their mobile phones.

 

Photo: Armani beauty & WeChat.

Photo: Armani beauty & WeChat.

The cosmetic line under the Italian house Armani, in partnership with L’Oreal, was the first luxury brands to debut this VR Mini Program on WeChat. Powered by Modiface from L’Oreal, consumers could virtually try on all 23 lipstick shades (each is priced at 310 yuan, about $45), and have the option to put into a shopping cart or place an order right away, and all within the WeChat ecosystem. Described as the “Try Now Buy Now” model, this option is only available for users with WeChat 7.0.5 version and is supposed to offer a closer to reality and easier to use option than having to upload a picture to see the final effect. To unlock this feature, brands still need to partner with a third-party VR solution service and have a WeChat Mini Program.

One of the biggest advantages of the WeChat Mini Program is that you can use it without downloading any extra apps, making it a convenient tool for luxury brands to deliver new experiences. And VR technology offers a natural stimulation, be it virtual try-on of new footwear, handbags, accessories, jewelry, or even to showcase an exhibition entirely online. There’s plenty of room for imagination and innovation, to be sure. For luxury brands that pride themselves in crafting physical experience, this technology can’t substitute the in-store try-on, but it is one short step closer to recreating that reality. Though it’s too early to say whether this feature will help to purchase behaviors, it could certainly excite the masses of Chinese consumers who are expecting to interact with brands digitally and more playfully.





Source link

Digital Luxury Drops in China: Why They Work


Supreme‘s devoted hypebeasts, who can be found lined up outside its New York City store daily, serve as a constant reminder that, when done right, there’s something unarguably enticing about drop retail. In a bid to appeal to Gen-Zers, luxury brands in China have been taking a page from Supreme’s book by orchestrating their own drops. It’s been serving them well, particularly on digital fronts, according to a recent report from Gartner L2.

The report ranked high-end brands with “the strongest digital performance within the current circumstances, both national and international,” and among them, two brands who experimented with drop retail models made this year’s cut. One is Louis Vuitton, which ranked number one on Gartner L2’s list. In February, the French fashion house launched a WeChat Mini Program to host a pop-up shop for an exclusive sneaker collection designed by streetwear icon Virgil Abloh.

Meanwhile, Burberry, which ranked number nine on Gartner L2’s list, was also recognized for its efforts to appeal to young, mobile-first Chinese consumers via their monthly digital “B Series” streetwear drops. Burberry started down this path back in September of last year after welcoming its new creative director, Riccardo Tisci, and generated buzz over the summer months as one of the first big brands to adopt this model. The British fashion brand uses a WeChat Mini Program to release its limited-edition products (they launch on Instagram in the West), and the label fuels anticipation among its Chinese followers by using a countdown clock and push notifications.

While Louis Vuitton and Burberry were the only brands on Gartner L2’s top ten list that adopted drop retail in the past year, they weren’t the only brands in the industry that opted for its appeal. In January of this year, Balenciaga posted a pink monogram Logo Ville bag for sale on its WeChat Mini Program with few details aside from a link to its e-commerce page. Long before this, LVMH’s Rimowa caught the attention of Chinese streetwear lovers with its luggage collaboration with Supreme, which generated buzz on Chinese social media despite the fact that the products were not available to purchase anywhere in the country.

There are signs that this model could be here to stay, at least as long as streetwear culture thrives among young shoppers in China. For now, things look promising, according to Gartner L2’s Luxury China Digital IQ Index 2019 data. It shows that streetwear terms saw a strong 12-percent, year-over-year Baidu Index growth during a one-year period ending in March 2019 (compared to only a 5-percent growth for traditional fashion terms).

“Embracing streetwear and sneakers is a way to stay relevant with the millennial and Gen Z shoppers that are crucial to luxury brands’ future,” said Liz Flora, the editor of Asia Pacific Research at Gartner L2. “Fashion brands’ evolution to meet the next generation’s tastes needs to involve an understanding of not only new fashion trends, but also how this younger generation utilizes digital platforms to gather information and shop.”

In China, WeChat Mini Programs are today’s popular way to execute flash sales, but they’re not the only way digital drop retail models are conducted. Moncler turned to Tmall for their limited-time pre-sale of six Moncler Genius collections (with one containing items that were exclusive to the e-commerce platform). Meanwhile, Fendi did a limited pop-up of its FF Reloaded capsule collection on JD.com’s Toplife in tandem with the release of K-pop star Jackson Wang’s hit single Fendiman.

Flora notes that in the luxury industry, online is generally a safer avenue than offline for brands that want to try out the drop model, “especially when it comes to items with a high resale value that can spark a buying frenzy among third-party sellers, including China’s daigou agents. Balenciaga learned this the hard way last year when a Chinese daigou agent was involved in a brawl at its Paris store over the Triple S sneaker launch.” (It is worth noting that LV’s sneaker collection was, in fact, available at two physical locations.)

While the “drop” is undoubtedly a buzzword for 2019, various versions of this sales model had already been successfully utilized in luxury retail in China. “Instead of a ‘drop’ where the items are more of a surprise, luxury brands often utilize fashion influencers and celebrities to drive hype online ahead of time and sell out within minutes,” Flora said. Case in point: Mr. Bags worked with Givenchy to promote a limited-edition Mini Horizon bag for $2,173 (15,000 RMB) that sold out in 12 minutes and garnered a lot of attention for the brand.

Of course, it’s difficult to predict whether more brands adopting this sales tactic on China’s social media platforms will dilute that sought-after allure of exclusivity. But Supreme enthusiasts seem enthralled by more than just the buildup and the hard-to-get mentality — they are also lured in by the brand’s culture. For Burberry, too, it seems that consumers are drawn in by the storytelling around each of Tisci’s handpicked products. Ultimately, this just adds to the potential engagement and marketing pull for the brand, which should be a bigger priority than total sales.

However, large luxury brands following the Supreme model are doing so “as it fits into the corporate planning and approval procedures that are needed in that type of business environment,” said Richard Hobbs, co-founder of retail consultancy firm Entrepot Asia. “This does mean that the actual product or collection concept has often been gestating for many months, and often up to a year until the consumer gets their hands on it. The younger, and inevitably more interesting, brands that are appearing are able to move from idea to consumer in a matter of weeks.”

Brands might also gain an edge by embarking on localized, relevant collaborations. “If you are trying to attract a drop friendly audience then it also helps if you are working with designers, brands, or celebrities that resonate with that culture,” Hobbs said. “If the luxury players can deal with the various issues around sign-offs, supply chain, and distribution, this should be a focus, in my opinion.”





Source link

Online or Offline? It’s All the Same for Millennials and Gen Z


A necklace was recently sold by a luxury brand for $400,000 — an impressive feat by any measure — yet that necklace wasn’t sold in a high-end jewelry store in Shanghai, Paris, Monaco or New York, but, surprisingly, on the online luxury retailer Moda Operandi, according to a report in Vogue Business. This is remarkable since most luxury brands still primarily rely on sales via their classic brick-and-mortar stores.

Obviously, there are many good reasons to visit a store and experience products in person. If you think about luxury skincare cream or makeup, applying the product on your skin is essential for many consumers before they purchase the item, and consumers might want to test drive a car or try on a piece of jewelry for similar reasons. Aside from personally experiencing the product, the luxury store staff can also provide a customer with recommendations, suggest alternatives, or inspire them to consider products they never would have chosen otherwise.

However, the examples of online purchases that exceed $100,000 in value last year show that consumers are increasingly open to buying luxury online. And having the world’s most digital consumers, China is leading this trend. Data for 2018 estimates that online penetration for luxury in China stands at almost 60 percent for Gen Zers (those born after 2000), roughly 40 percent for millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) and only 25 percent for Gen Xers (born between 1960 and 1980). With more than 80 percent of luxury purchases in China coming from consumers younger than 40 years of age, a large shift in where luxury consumers make purchases is clearly happening.

It is important to note, though, that digital is not replacing brick-and-mortar purchases. We estimate that only about one percent of all consumers in China buy luxury exclusively online. Around 40 percent of all Chinese luxury consumers mix online with offline buying, and this includes Gen Xers. Vogue Business cites Cartier, stating that their online sales were incremental to the sales in stores, but their relaunch of the iconic Panthère watch through a Net-a-Porter pop-up was so successful, the company opted for a permanent presence on that platform.

Even if the vast majority of luxury purchases are still in stores, online plays a vital role in influencing those purchases. I asked the general manager of a successful luxury car dealership in Asia how many customers decided on their purchases in the store. His answer? Almost no one. He told me that most customers had already made up their mind using the internet before they’d entered the store. They search for reviews, data, and information, and they compare thoroughly. In China, consumers, who spend most of their digital life on WeChat, follow influencers and form their opinions about the brand before they enter the store, or in this case, the luxury car dealership. However, he added, the dealership experience is an essential part of the sale. Coming to the store confirms the decision in the best case or reverses the choice in the worst case. Online and offline are not separate experiences anymore — they’re fully integrated, and brands need to treat them as such. When brands create a seamless experience that includes all digital and physical touchpoints, value creation is at its highest.

McKinsey confirms that about 80 percent of luxury purchases are digitally influenced, and consumers average five different brand interactions before deciding on a final purchase. Those interactions can be physical or digital, and the purchase can be physical or digital. Hence, creating an end-to-end experience between all touchpoints is of utmost importance. When a consumer wants to buy in a store, he or she should have the opportunity to do so, and when he or she wants to buy online, there needs to be a seamless option.

Therefore, brands should map their entire customer journey digitally and collect and connect data for each touchpoint. Independent of digital or physical interaction, it is essential that the customer is always being optimally and consistently served. Given the millions of customer journeys that happen with larger brands at any moment in time, a digital infrastructure connecting online and offline is the only way to ensure a seamless brand experience.

Surprisingly, most luxury brands do not have that capability today. Many that present themselves as leaders in digital transformation focus mainly on the online part but forget (or refuse) to create an integrated data infrastructure with advanced insight and digital marketing capabilities. Especially for China, the ability to connect online with offline experiences is the only game-changer, and it’s an excellent opportunity for new brands to start with a clean slate.

What are the best practices for implementing the seamless online-to-offline change that Millennials and Gen Zers demand? Among the most transformative exercises have been luxury leadership workshops with the leadership teams of luxury brands, where successes and failures are studied across topics like Gen Z perspectives, influencers, social media, stores of the future, digital leadership, and the application of AI along all touchpoints. Each topic leads to an assessment of what needed to be changed, which generates significant input for long- and mid-term strategies.

Generation Z and Millennials are changing the face of luxury, both online and offline. Companies need to rethink their approach from the top down, and only brands that make the aforementioned shift will become the luxury leaders of the future. This digital transformation isn’t optional, either — it’s critical.

 

Daniel Langer is CEO of the luxury, lifestyle, and consumer brand strategy firm Équité. He consults some of the leading luxury brands in the world, is the author of several luxury management books, serves as a regular keynote speaker, and holds management seminars in Europe, the USA, and Asia. Follow @drlanger





Source link

Tiffany CEO on Experiential Luxury, Trade War and China


A full-blown trade war between the United States and China is rattling nerves throughout the entire American business community. And the New York-based, acclaimed diamond retailer Tiffany & Co. — as a symbolic luxury player from the States — is no different from any other business that is currently enduring this stress.

When the brand released its latest earnings in June, it attributed its continued negative growth to two main reasons: a strong U.S. dollar throttling its overseas sales and softer tourist spending across its main markets, which both have a direct or indirect correlation with the ongoing trade feud. While Tiffany’s cannot do much to change the currency headwind, a concrete plan to decrease the brand’s heavy dependence on foreign tourists, especially Chinese, and instead ramp up the brand’s desirability in local markets, like China, is vital.

Tiffany & Co. will open the "Vision & Virtuosity" exhibition on September 23 (running through November 10) at the Fosun Foundation Art Center in Shanghai. Photo: courtesy of Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany & Co. will open the “Vision & Virtuosity” exhibition on September 23 (running through November 10) at the Fosun Foundation Art Center in Shanghai. Photo: courtesy of Tiffany & Co.

Enter Tiffany’s “Vision & Virtuosity” exhibition, which will open on September 23 (running through November 10) at the Fosun Foundation Art Center, in Shanghai. The exhibition is the largest exhibition that Tiffany has ever done in China. The brand will celebrate its 180-year history and heritage in a unique experiential setting, with installations contextualizing the brand’s trailblazing moments and documenting the numerous “Tiffany firsts” such as the introduction of the modern engagement ring, the Tiffany Setting.

Last week, Jing Daily sat down with Tiffany & Co.’s chief executive officer, Alessandro Bogliolo, at the company’s headquarters in the city of New York to chat about their upcoming Shanghai exhibition, the effects of the trade war, and the brand’s China strategies.

What made you decide to have such a massive exhibition in Shanghai in September?

Out of our research, what we found is that Chinese customers are very interested in luxury brands, but there has been a sort of overexposure of messages to about all these different brands. We feel it’s important to be very clear about a brand like Tiffany, the depth and the richness that it has. It’s a brand that has an amazing history, legacy, capabilities, and a lot of these things are not well known in China. So, we wanted to communicate that in a special way.

It’s also the first exhibition that we’ll do in a totally different way — that instead of being just a retrospective, a little bit museum style of the history of Tiffany jewelry, these 350 archival and some modern pieces of our jewelry will be displayed in a more experiential environment that refers to certain themes that are the DNA of the Tiffany brand. The ultimate purpose is, hopefully, for the visitors that go to the exhibition, will be to fully grasp what Tiffany stands for.

In this exhibition, how does Tiffany’s heritage connect with digital-savvy Chinese millennials and Gen-Z consumers?

There are a couple of digitally interactive components to the exhibition designed to be shared and experienced. There’s a digitally interactive element with the Breakfast at Tiffany’s script in which visitor’s can read Audrey Hepburn’s personal annotations. The script is accompanied by a video installation displaying selected sequences enriched by behind the scenes content and film excerpts. Then, in the Love Room, there’s another digital element, Celebrate Modern Love, where visitors can write their own personal declarations of love that then ripple together with the handwritten messages of other visitors into a virtual piece of artwork.

But what, for me, was very important, was to be authentic — not just to be gimmicky and have a lot of digital things. Behind every single Tiffany piece, there is a history, which will be presented for those that are more interested in the history of the brand and the craftsmanship.

Tiffany

Photo: courtesy of Tiffany & Co.

How is the trade war weighing on the brand’s sales?

Where we are affected is our jewelry that is exported from the U.S. into China now has a higher duty than before. [Note: tariffs increasing on jewelry that companies export from the U.S. to China from its current levels to a new level of 25 percent on average] But we have decided not to penalize the Chinese consumers for this, and we have decided not to transfer these extra costs into the price of our jewelry but to remain competitive on the market.

But as it comes to the relationship between Chinese consumers and Tiffany, they are actually excellent: our digital penetration in China keeps on increasing, and our sales in mainland China are of double-digit growth, which has been very strong for several quarters. In other words, there has been no negative impact on consumer sentiments.

What are Tiffany’s plans for sales channels in China?

We have about 35 stores in mainland China. So, we could open maybe a few more stores in the future, but with the main investment that we are making in stores in China, number one is to make our existing network more prominent. So, rather than having more stores, there are some stores that have to be relocated or have to be enlarged in order to really give Chinese customers a reflection of the experience.

The other one is digital. We have a website in China now which is not e-commerce enabled, but in Q3 it will be in a way that Chinese customers will be able, like in other 13 markets in the world, to shop directly from Tiffany.cn.

Photo: courtesy of Tiffany & Co.

How do you guarantee a luxury shopping experience online?

First of all, it’s on our own website, so price integrity is there. People talk a lot about the trillions and zillions of e-commerce shoppers in China, but like in other parts of the world that is discounted, promotional, et cetera. So, this is not what we want to do. This is why we will focus on our own website.

But it’s not only for prices. It’s also for experience. We invest a lot of money in assets, video, information, imagery, and also chat in a way that you provide a service online about information or where you can book an appointment from the website into physical stores. So, this is the way we make sure our digital experience is sophisticated.

Then ultimately, I expect customers for more expensive products to ultimately go to the store, because it’s always a beautiful experience to visit a Tiffany store. But there is a lot of information and education that can happen on the website.

“Experiential retail” is trending in China and your Tiffany Blue Box Cafe at your NY flagship is a prime example. Do you plan to bring it to China in the future?

In terms of experience, we do different things in different markets. So, in China this year, we will have a pop-up version of our Blue Box Café, but it will only be temporary for the exhibition.

 

This interview was condensed and edited.





Source link

In China, Men’s Makeup Isn’t a Threat to Masculinity


Ever since brands like Tom Ford and Chanel started launching male cosmetics lines, discussions about whether man makeup would be the next big thing have been nonstop. Both the Guardian and BBC have reported on the rise of male beauty, but both have put a question mark on its commercial viability among Western men. In China, men makeup’s commercial viability has already been a matter of fact. Not only has men makeup gone mainstream, but it has also manifested an entirely different narrative than its western counterpart — makeup isn’t a threat to masculinity. Instead, it is self-improvement to be a more empowered man.

In millennial China, male beauty is the new normal. Today, one in five Chinese men born after 1995 (the so-called post-95 generation) use BB cream and lipstick on a regular basis. According to Tmall’s 2018 Men Grooming Report, the platform’s male beauty market has also grown by more than 50 percent for two years in a row. On Tmall alone, the year-on-year sales increase of men’s eyebrow pencil, men’s lipstick, men’s BB cream had reached 214 percent, 278 percent, and 145 percent respectively. Influenced by a youth-obsessed culture, the even-younger post-2000 boys (the so-called GenZ) have also started to invest in anti-aging products. As the report points out, sales of anti-aging essences purchased by males born after 2000 have grown 336 percent in 2018, surpassing that of all other age groups.

Behind the “mainstreamization” of China’s men makeup lies a psychological driver that is fundamentally different than the Western norm. In the West, men makeup is, despite the diminishing social stigma, largely connected with gay culture. Top-notch male beauty influencers such as James Charles, Gary Thompson (known as the “the plastic boy”) are mostly gay men, and most of their advocacy promote inclusivity or “freedom of expression.” In China, instead, the discussion about men makeup is largely associated with personal growth, as if makeup, just like reading and fitness classes, has become a practical tool to advance socially. Contrary to feeling uneased by something “unmasculine,” many Chinese men genuinely believe that makeup could lead to their more attractive selves, making them deserve more opportunities in life. Makeup, thus, becomes an instrument for Chinese men to feel more empowered.

To understand this peculiar culture of “makeup makes you a better man” in millennial China, here are three recent campaigns of premium male beauty products:

The “Achieve More” campaign video and photoshoot, featuring actor Lay Zhang and the message “achieve more more more”. Credit: BiothermHomme official Weibo

The “Achieve More” campaign video and photoshoot, featuring actor Lay Zhang and the message “achieve more more more”. Credit: BiothermHomme official Weibo

1. Biotherm Homme x Lay Zhang

In June 2018, premium male skincare line Biotherm Homme appointed Chinese actor Lay Zhang to be the brand’s Asia ambassador. Being one of the most prominent “Little Fresh Meat” idols, Lay Zhang is publicly known and admired for his good looks and strong work ethics. Going along with his hard-working persona, the brand’s campaign video features how skincare could help him to “achieve more, more, and more.” The actor, whose Weibo name is “work, work, and work more,” published the campaign in his own account. The post had later been re-shared over 1 million times.

Lab Series collaborates with China’s iG Digital Gaming League to attract the Gen Z male audience. Credit: Lab Series official Weibo.

Lab Series collaborates with China’s iG Digital Gaming League to attract the Gen Z male audience. Credit: Lab Series official Weibo.

2. Lab Series x iG Digital Gaming League

In China, the fastest-growing consumer group of luxury skincare is not retirees. It is the millennials and Gen Z. Lab Series, the high-end male skincare line from Group Estée Lauder, has chosen China’s iG Digital Gaming League as the brand’s ambassador to attract a younger audience. The campaign’s slogan, “Attractiveness score (颜值) helps you to reach new possibilities,” has conceptually softened the effeminate quality of applying luxe lotions, justifying the act of skincare as something positive and inspirational.

3. Martin Cologne: No Need to Be Proactive

Just as many Chinese women associate better skin with better career and marriage, Chinese men also believe that a cleaner, smoother complexion would help them reap more benefits from life. Albeit not being a luxury brand, domestic brand Martin’s May 2019 campaign “No Need to Be Proactive” has precisely communicated this attitude.

Having collaborated with actor Ming’en Zhang and China’s top-tier lifestyle influencer @GQ Lab, the brand launched a campaign story of a good-looking, fresh-faced man standing out from the crowd. The protagonist gets noticed by the prettiest girl in a crowded bar and called for an interview from a row of anxious applicants, all because of his flawless face. The message is clear: Opportunities will find you when you have a good look, not the other way around.

But China’s general attitude towards men makeup hasn’t always been this smoothed. In September 2018, the government’s mouthpieces Xinhuanet and People’s Daily had both published articles to criticize such phenomenon, calling it “a sick way of life.” But outside of the authority’s point of view, male beauty has only got more popular than not. Today, it is increasingly common to see young Chinese men walking on the street with an umbrella to avoid the sun or putting on facial masks to conclude their beauty routines. Many of them are perfectly straight, and they don’t see the interest in makeup or beauty a threat to their masculinity.

Xiaoming Zhao, a 20-year-old college student in Guangzhou, told Jing Daily that “there are six guys in my dorm, and we regularly use facial masks or essences before we go to sleep.” When asked about his view on how male beauty relates to masculinity, he said, “It is just a way to improve myself, like going to the gym.” In his mind, and that of many Chinese GenZ, using makeup is essentially a tool for personal growth, and they are empowered to strive for a better future.





Source link

Dior Utilized Huawei’s Marketing Service for Runway Show


In “Chinese Whispers,” we share the biggest news stories about the luxury industry in China that have yet to make it into the English language. In this week’s edition, we discuss:

  • Huawei’s marketing solution Paid Presentation Service (PPS)
  • Designer brand Jean Paul Knott to open a flagship store in Beijing
  • Chaumet’s first-ever Chinese brand ambassador, Liu Yifei

1. Dior live-streamed 2020 Spring/Summer runway show on Huawei PPS – Sohu

Thanks to the arrest of its chief financial officer in Canada and President Trump’s shifting stance on it, Huawei has constantly made worldwide headlines of late. What’s perhaps much less known is that this Chinese tech giant is offering a digital marketing solution, namely paid presentation service (PPS), for retailers in China. So far, a slew of luxury brands like BMW, Breitling, and Estee Lauder have benefitted from it.

This week, the French luxury powerhouse Christian Dior became the first mega luxury brand in China that utilized Huawei’s service. It live-streamed the 2020 Spring/Summer runway show from Paris through the platform, which has over 700 million daily active users — many with high purchasing power. These users are subscribers to Huawei’s Music and Video service. Retailers can place banner ads on a variety of locations on Huawei devices and interfaces, including lock screen and information feeds.

Dior

Belgium’s fashion brand Jean Paul Knott will open a flagship store in Beijing to enter China in August. Photo: JeanPaulKnott website

2. Belgium’s fashion brand Jean Paul Knott will enter China in August – Fashion Network

The Belgian fashion brand Jean Paul Knott, launched in Brussels in 1999 by the namesake designer, hosted a press day in Beijing on June 27, marking its official expansion in the Chinese market. The brand will soon unveil its first flagship store in Beijing, in August to sell menswear, womenswear, accessories, and some unisex apparel.

Chaumet

Chaumet’s latest campaign featuring Liu Yifei.

3. French premium jewelry & watch brand Chaumet named Chinese brand ambassador – Chaumet

Parisian high jewelry house Maison Chaumet announced Chinese actress Liu Yifei, or Crystal Liu, to be its first-ever brand ambassador this week. The collaboration has received positive feedback on social media, as Liu’s public image is perceived upscale; therefore, fitting the brand’s status. Liu will also perform in the upcoming Disney’s live-action movie Mulan as the central character, Hua Mulan.





Source link