Retail in Asia


KOLs and Celebrities shouldn’t replace your China strategy

KOLs and celebrities are undoubtedly unrivaled ways to boost brand awareness in China. Results in terms of visibility and followers’ engagement are usually beyond expectations, even when a collaboration is a basic one.

In this context, many are tempted to follow the easy path and simply feature the face of the latest “hot KOL” in a post. After all, this will eventually help grow brand visibility over the short term.

However, what is often overlooked is the harm that this approach can do to the audience’s perception of the brand in the long run.

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Each luxury house boasts a unique identity and embodies distinctive values. Therefore, a brand should not be represented by a celebrity already collaborating with a competitor to avoid creating confusion within its target audience, and itt is essential to make sure that the celebrity shares common values with the brand.

There is even more work to do to appeal to Chinese luxury consumers who are becoming more sophisticated and discerning than ever. On top of seeing the face of their favorite celebrity on social media, they thirst for accessing exclusive content.

Last year, Burberry partnered with singer Kris Wu, also known as Wu Yifan (吴亦凡), to offer followers an exclusive immersion into the brand’s FW 2016 fashion show. The celebrity released a series of posts subtly showcasing Burberry’s key pillars enriched with his perspectives. Salvatore Ferragamo worked with Chinese celebrity model Ming Xi (奚梦瑶) for its FW 2016 eyewear campaign.

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These campaigns could have been enhanced even further by employing celebrities to trigger audience engagement on their social media platforms via user-generated content. Always looking forward to interacting with stars, followers are particularly eager to enter a contest when their favorite KOL, as a lure, asks them to participate.

It is essential for brands to see beyond the noise that KOLs and celebrities generate and first agree on a concept that will help generating the right buzz.

It is only after determining the campaign idea embodying its identity that the brand can consider looking for the relevant celebrity or KOL to collaborate with.


Jing Daily logoThis article was written by Rémi Blanchard for Jing DailyJing Daily is the leading digital publication on luxury consumer trends in China. Professionals seeking to understand China’s complex and rapidly evolving luxury industry look to Jing Daily for fresh and accurate insights. We publish up-to-the-minute news updates, reports on key trends, insights from leading industry figures, and in-depth analysis on this vitally important market.