Youthology Salon: Marketing with Chinese Youth Communities

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White paper from China Youthology's Summer 2011 Salon, discussing the fundamentals of marketing with Chinese youth communities.

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Youthology Salon: Marketing with Chinese Youth Communities

  1. 1. MARKETING WITH CHINESE YOUTH COMMUNITIES Youthology Salon Summer 2011 White Paper special thanks to
  2. 2. In 2011, China Youthology wanted to learn more about China’s emerging youth culture communities, or ‘Tribes,’ and understand how brands can create value through cooperation.We conducted extensive ethnographic and netnographic research into youth communities, and started conversations with China’s leading youth market `researchers and practitioners. This report presents our collective insights and implications. 2
  3. 3. This report draws on the following sources: China Youthology foundation research Youthology Salon panel discussion featuring: An Zhu, Founder, 1 kg more Rodion Yudasin, Planner, W+K Ni Xiao Ming, Vice General Manager, Vancl Lucy Zhang, Future Director, Group M Expert interviews with:Ed Tam, Senior Manager of Media and Innovation, Nike Miao Wang, Managing Director, Accupuncture Ye Wang, General Manager, Bluedoor Digital Jason Zhan, Founder and Director, Vitamine 3
  4. 4. WHAT ARE ‘TRIBES’ IN OUR RESEARCH? Tribes are communities of youth united by a shared passion. Until recently, China’s Tribes were limited in size and scope. Most were subcultural groups, like indie rockers or skateboarders. But now, youth culture communities are forming around a wide variety of interests,including mountain biking, pet culture, snowboarding, LOHAS lifestyle, photography, astrology, tattooing, social participation, and many more. 4
  5. 5. MANY CHINESE YOUTH ARE DISSATISFIED WITH THEIR LIFESTYLE, AND QUESTIONING SOCIAL NORMS.5
  6. 6. DEVOTING ALL TIME AND ENERGY TO SUCCESS NOWCOMES WITH FEWER REWARDS. 6
  7. 7. YOUTH FEEL ALIENATED FROMA HIGHLY COMPETITIVE SOCIETY. 7
  8. 8. THESE TENSIONS CREATEA GROWING NEED FOR NEW EXPERIENCES AND NEW FRIENDS. 8
  9. 9. THAT’S WHYCHINESE YOUTH ARE JOINING TRIBES. 9
  10. 10. THE BIG PICTURE:Marketers must collaborate with youth communities to be part of emerging cultures in China.Chinese youth experimenting with new lifestyles turn to communities for information, opportunities for involvement, belonging, and friendship.Diverse interests means increasingly diverse needs, requirements, and preferences. Marketers cannot fulfill these needs alone. 10
  11. 11. DIVERSITY 11
  12. 12. WHAT IS TRIBAL MARKETING? The meaning of this term is contested. Here we offer our own framework for understanding and defining Tribal Marketing: TRIBAL MARKETING = WORKING TOGETHER WITH YOUTH COMMUNITIES for a SHARED INTEREST. HELP CUSTOMERS CONNECT TO PASSION: Provide what youth need to actively pursue interests and new experiences. HELP CUSTOMERS CONNECT TO PEOPLE: Help youth make new friends with shared passion to share knowledge, resources, and support. BUILD BRAND CULTURE AND COMMUNITY:Support values, rituals, and practices that express the shared passion of your brand and your Tribe, and encourage more youth to join and participate. 12
  13. 13. CONNECTION 13
  14. 14. 1. THE GOALS OF TRIBAL MARKETING CO- CREATION Community strategy is the best way to harness the power of consumers. “The difference between campaigns and tribes is if you do campaigns you need toconstantly invest into the campaign to make it happen. But if you build a tribe, you’ll have a lot of help from the tribe. Tribe have a lot of power from within. They can create a lotof assets. I don’t have the resource to always invest into my cause. But I built a tribe, and they feed into bigger influence by themselves with some management from me.” - An Zhu, founder of 1 kg more 14
  15. 15. PROMOTE LIFESTYLES Communities help youth adopt behaviors relevant to your category.“China didn’t have a developed running culture, that’s something we have tried very consciously to build up and grow.” - Rodion Yudasin, Planner, W+K 15
  16. 16. CUSTOMER LOYALTY Youth care more about brands that connect them with community. “Every week we run together and eat together, and I realized something. Even if Icouldn’t run any more, I would still come here to participate. Because these people are my friends,and they are what’s most important to me.” - Qie Ge, Leader, Douban Running 16
  17. 17. BRAND MEANING Communities exhibit brand values as tangible lifestyles.“In our lower tier youth report, we claimed that youth in lower tier cities care less about brand meaning than top tier youth. Our report was published in a youth magazine, and we received a very passionate letter from a girl living in Xuzhou who disagreed.She told us that she loves Converse, and that the meaning of the brand is freedom. Shedidn’t get that meaning from a TV ad. She got it from watching the rockers in Beijing.” - Jay Mark Caplan, Research Manager, China Youthology 17
  18. 18. BUT! Community strategy requires commitment from brands. “Fostering a community takes time. We started way back in 2004 It’s taken us seven years to get where we are now.” - An Zhu, founder of 1 kg more Community behavior should be relevant to your category.“It’s important to understand what the value you [as a brand] can bring to a community, and balance that against the business impact, or potential business impact of that community’s behavior for your brand.” - Rodion Yudasin, Planner, W+K 18
  19. 19. 2. CHOOSING PARTNERS FOR TRIBAL MARKETING SHARED VALUES Forget about size or influence. Partner with communities that share your core values and grow together. “When a community is small, you might ask why you should help. But from a communityperspective, when they are already mature, where were you when they needed you? If your brandis really consistent with the values of the community, you can have a great collaboration. Of course brands need value from the relationship, but you will find even a small community has a lot of creative potential.” - Lisa Li, CEO, China Youthology 19
  20. 20. GEEKY PARTNERS Geeks are youth with strong commitment to their interest. Partner with geeks in order to grow communities.“Geeky youth are widely admired because they have knowledge, skills, and purpose. Incommunities, they provide information, credibility, star power, and examples for others to follow. Geeks are crucial to a communtiy’s attractiveness and credibility.” - Jay Mark Caplan, Research Manager, China Youthology 20
  21. 21. BUT! Brands must have strong core values in order to pursue Tribal marketing.“When working with these groups, it’s important to stand for something, have a point of view, one that aligns with or builds on the values of the group.” - Rodion Yudasin, Lead Planner, W+K “In a world of fakes and copycats, the coolest thing you can be is to be true. You lead by example…and the people who like you will follow.” - Ed Tam, Senior Manager of Media and Innovation, Nike 21
  22. 22. 3.THE ROLE OF BRANDS IN TRIBAL COMMUNITIES ORGANIZE AND PROVIDE Brands can’t step into communities and claim the spotlight. Quietly and consistently provide what communities need to grow stronger. “We looked at a lot of youth communities, and most often the leader of the Tribe wasn’t the big star or the center of attention. The leader was the organizer, the one who made it possible for everyone to get together, and stay together.” - Jay Mark Caplan, Research Manager, China Youthology 22
  23. 23. GIVE CULTURAL ASSETS Brands should create cultural capital and enrich community experience.“We spoke to a lot of car clubs, and what they wanted most wasn’t money or sponsorship.They wanted help on creating shirts and logos, and help designing their flag. Ferrari once rented a professional race course and provided it for their car club. People came from all over China for that one.” - Ye Wang, General Manager, Bluedoor Digital 23
  24. 24. BUT! Brands must understand the culture to provide what youth need. “The most important thing is to respect the community. Don’t treat them like billboards. Communities are living carriers. Only in this way can advertisers and businesses have ongoing cooperation with communities.” - An Zhu, Founder, 1 kg more“The people who belong to these groups know that culture inside and out, if you are justpaying lipservice, and not adding value, you will likely be shown up for it. At the end of the day they don’t need you, they’ll keep doing what they do because they love it.” - Rodion Yudasin, Planner, W+K 24
  25. 25. SUMMARY: 1. TRIBAL MARKETING IS A CO- CREATION STRATEGY TO BUILD LIFESTYLES, LOYALTY, AND BRAND MEANING WITH CONSUMERS. 2.TRIBAL MARKETING REQUIRES BRANDS AND COMMUNITIES SHARE CORE VALUES FOR LONG-TERM COOPERATION. 3.TRIBAL MARKETING MEANS ADDING VALUE TO COMMUNITIES WITH ORGANIZATION AND CULTURAL ASSETS 25
  26. 26. Still interested?To learn more about Tribal Marketing strategy, read our Tribal Marketing Bible. 26
  27. 27. INTRODUCTION TO 27
  28. 28. Youthology Salon is a gathering of youth market researchers and practitioners to encourage open conversation within the community. Hope to eee you next time!28

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