“Losers, bromance and chicken & beer: a
journey into Chinese web culture”
Labbrand, China Connect conference – March 6th 2...
Question 1: What is web culture?

2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization.

Labbrand.com

2
What is web culture?
Web culture is a collective construction that is the result of millions of online
actions

Disseminat...
What are the different expressions of web
culture?

2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization.

Labbr...
What is web culture?

Images

“Mom, hit me one more time!”

2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorizatio...
What is web culture?

Videos

“I just hit a duck!”

2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization.

Labb...
What is web culture?

有木有

骚年

何弃疗

Language
土豪

米

欧巴

2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization.

...
What is web culture?

Behaviors

Going out for fried chicken
and beer

2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without a...
What is web culture?

Icons

Guo MeiMei

2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization.

Adult video sta...
What is web culture?

Discussions

Discussions about the 2014 CCTV Chinese
New Year Gala

2014 Labbrand No diffusion or rep...
What is web culture?
Why is web culture unique?
Traditional culture

Web culture

Few sources of content

Infinite number o...
What is web culture?
Web culture shakes up the status quo! Examples

Female bachelors
女汉子

2014 Labbrand No diffusion or re...
Question 2: Why is web culture so important
in China?

2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization.

L...
Why is web culture so important in China?
Breakdown of media time: China vs USA

45
40
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
Print

Radio
...
Why is web culture so important in China?

Do you live at least part of your life online?

86%

42%

Do you have a paralle...
Why is web culture so important in China

The social web in China is disproportionately important in
Setting the tone of p...
Question 3: How can my brand use web
culture?

2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization.

Labbrand....
Dimension 1: web culture as a source of
market insights

2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization.
...
Web culture as a source of market insights
Doing market research in China is hugely challenging

Market size
Market fragme...
Web culture as a source of market insights

To Grok
V. “To understand something so thoroughly that the
observer becomes pa...
xxx

Web culture allows brands to “Grok” China.

2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization.

Labbran...
Web culture as a source of market insights
Why is web culture a great tool to “Grok” China?

Highly reliable (based on mil...
Web culture as a source of market insights
Web culture allows you to decode China
Underlying
macro trends

Society
Ex: key...
Web culture as a source of market insights
Web culture allows you to decode China
Underlying
macro trends

What it shows a...
Web culture as a source of market insights
Example 1: “Love from the stars” 来自星星的你
News and current debate
§  “Love from ...
Web culture as a source of market insights
Example 1: “Love from the stars” 来自星星的你
Eating fried chicken and beer is a perf...
Web culture as a source of market insights
Example 2: Diaosi (losers) 屌丝
News and current debate
§  Many young Chinese me...
Web culture as a source of market insights
Example 2: Diaosi (losers) 屌丝
90% of Chinese students define themselves as
Diaos...
Web culture as a source of market insights
Example 3: Tuhao 土豪
News and current debate
§  Conspicuous behavior from Chine...
Web culture as a source of market insights
Example 3: Tuhao 土豪
The gold iPhone was quickly dubbed the
“Tuhao gold iPhone”,...
xxx

Web culture is your window onto what’s going
on in China.

2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authoriz...
Dimension 2: web culture a driver of brand
actions

2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization.

Labb...
Web culture as a driver of brand action
Web culture elements can be integrated into any type of brand action

Brand reposi...
Web culture as a driver of brand action
Example: the Diaosi guide to hotel booking by Ctrip

How can Diaosis impress their...
Web culture as a driver of brand action
Example: Diaosis stand up for their computer games

What is one of the key
charact...
Web culture as a driver of brand action
Example: KFC riding the chicken and beer craze

It’s a dream situation when the
co...
Web culture as a driver of brand action
Example: Android and DELL defeat the Tuhao

The concept of Tuhao was from the
very...
Web culture as a driver of brand action
Example: Canon’s capitalizing on the “virtual girlfriend” buzz

In recent weeks pi...
Web culture as a driver of brand action
Example: Buick seducing the post 80s generation

Online is where individuals asser...
Question 4: How do I make my brand and
business receptive to web culture?

2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction witho...
How to do it
How can your brand make the best out of web culture?

Spot

Share

Take action

§  Have strong listening
too...
Time for some questions!
Twitter

Linkedin

Wechat

@Kevingentle
@labbrand

2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction with...
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Losers, bromance and chicken & beer: a journey into Chinese web culture

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Talk given by Labbrand digital strategy director Kevin Gentle at the China Connect conference in March 2014. Email us at info@labbrand.com to get your free copy or ask us your questions.

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Losers, bromance and chicken & beer: a journey into Chinese web culture

  1. 1. “Losers, bromance and chicken & beer: a journey into Chinese web culture” Labbrand, China Connect conference – March 6th 2014
  2. 2. Question 1: What is web culture? 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 2
  3. 3. What is web culture? Web culture is a collective construction that is the result of millions of online actions Dissemination Discussion Forwarding and sharing content, thereby giving certain items exposure and legitimacy as topics of debate worthy of attention. Contributing one’s point of view about different topics through online discussions. 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Creation Creation of original content by netizens. Labbrand.com 3
  4. 4. What are the different expressions of web culture? 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 4
  5. 5. What is web culture? Images “Mom, hit me one more time!” 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 5
  6. 6. What is web culture? Videos “I just hit a duck!” 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 6
  7. 7. What is web culture? 有木有 骚年 何弃疗 Language 土豪 米 欧巴 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. PMM P 男票 Labbrand.com 7
  8. 8. What is web culture? Behaviors Going out for fried chicken and beer 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Posting pictures of statues wearing PM2.0 masks Labbrand.com 8
  9. 9. What is web culture? Icons Guo MeiMei 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Adult video star Sola Aoi Labbrand.com 9
  10. 10. What is web culture? Discussions Discussions about the 2014 CCTV Chinese New Year Gala 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 10
  11. 11. What is web culture? Why is web culture unique? Traditional culture Web culture Few sources of content Infinite number of content sources Oligarchy Decentralized democracy Information travels slowly Information travels instantly Audience receives content (purely passive) Audience receives and creates content (active) Power from above Reflects grassroots opinion 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 11
  12. 12. What is web culture? Web culture shakes up the status quo! Examples Female bachelors 女汉子 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Releasing pent-up frustrations 无聊吐 槽 Bromance culture 腐文化 Labbrand.com 12
  13. 13. Question 2: Why is web culture so important in China? 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 13
  14. 14. Why is web culture so important in China? Breakdown of media time: China vs USA 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Print Radio TV Internet Mobile Source: KPCB 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 14
  15. 15. Why is web culture so important in China? Do you live at least part of your life online? 86% 42% Do you have a parallel life online? 61% 13% Source: IAC/JWT 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 15
  16. 16. Why is web culture so important in China The social web in China is disproportionately important in Setting the tone of popular debate Allowing people to express themselves Creating new elements of culture 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 16
  17. 17. Question 3: How can my brand use web culture? 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 17
  18. 18. Dimension 1: web culture as a source of market insights 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 18
  19. 19. Web culture as a source of market insights Doing market research in China is hugely challenging Market size Market fragmentation (geographical, social, generational) Cultural barriers Extremely fast pace of change Questionable reliability of data Distance from market (for western brands) …. 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 19
  20. 20. Web culture as a source of market insights To Grok V. “To understand something so thoroughly that the observer becomes part of the observed. To understand intuitively or by empathy” Notion introduced by Robert Heinlein in “stranger in a strange land”. 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 20
  21. 21. xxx Web culture allows brands to “Grok” China. 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 21
  22. 22. Web culture as a source of market insights Why is web culture a great tool to “Grok” China? Highly reliable (based on millions of web interactions) Directly measurable Spontaneously created by netizens (no bias, reflects what they truly think) Granular (can easily see who is talking about what and where) Always up to date Insights that come to life instead of abstract figures Cheap 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 22
  23. 23. Web culture as a source of market insights Web culture allows you to decode China Underlying macro trends Society Ex: key social issues, generational gaps, class relationships, gender relationships, perception of political power, relationship with the outside world etc… Lifestyles and attitudes Ex: life habits, entertainment habits, vocabulary, consumption behavior etc... News and current debate Circumstantial elements 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Ex: reaction to hot news items, most popular pop culture elements (movies, TV shows, music etc…), hot discussion topics, hot brands etc… Labbrand.com 23
  24. 24. Web culture as a source of market insights Web culture allows you to decode China Underlying macro trends What it shows about society What people do Circumstantial elements 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. What people talk about Labbrand.com 24
  25. 25. Web culture as a source of market insights Example 1: “Love from the stars” 来自星星的你 News and current debate §  “Love from the stars” took the country by storm, becoming the most discussed topic online in early 2014 Lifestyle and attitudes §  Following the popularity of the show, millions of young Chinese mimic the show’s lead character by going out for fried chicken and beer Society §  The show hits a hot button with its target audience: love and the search for “Mr. Right” §  The type of pure, untainted love presented in the show is a far cry from the experiences of most of the viewers 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 25
  26. 26. Web culture as a source of market insights Example 1: “Love from the stars” 来自星星的你 Eating fried chicken and beer is a perfect example of how web culture influences lifestyles. The show helped the Chinese poultry industry recover from the bird flu crisis. 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 26
  27. 27. Web culture as a source of market insights Example 2: Diaosi (losers) 屌丝 News and current debate §  Many young Chinese men discussing how hard it is for them to conform to social expectations of success (car, house, wife…) Lifestyle and attitudes §  The term “diaosi” enters popular vocabulary §  The “diaosi” attitude emerges based on self-depreciation, irony and mild nihilism Society §  The “Diaosi” phenomenon represents a major cultural shift: the first sign of broad scale rebellion against social norms and conventional definitions of success 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 27
  28. 28. Web culture as a source of market insights Example 2: Diaosi (losers) 屌丝 90% of Chinese students define themselves as Diaosis. These people represent your customers of tomorrow. 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 28
  29. 29. Web culture as a source of market insights Example 3: Tuhao 土豪 News and current debate §  Conspicuous behavior from Chinese millionaires gets major online exposure §  Release of golden iPhone 5s further fuels debate about tasteless, conspicuous consumption Lifestyle and attitudes §  The word “Tuhao” is brought back to the front scene and becomes a commonly used word to qualify nouveau riche type behavior §  Luxury consumers move towards lower-key brands to avoid Tuhao associations §  Young consumers ironically mimic Tuhao attitudes (the hipster Tuhao) Society §  “Tuhao” expresses the deepening gap between China’s first generation of super rich and the new upper-middle class 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 29
  30. 30. Web culture as a source of market insights Example 3: Tuhao 土豪 The gold iPhone was quickly dubbed the “Tuhao gold iPhone”, an association the brand would probably have liked to avoid. 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 30
  31. 31. xxx Web culture is your window onto what’s going on in China. 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 31
  32. 32. Dimension 2: web culture a driver of brand actions 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 32
  33. 33. Web culture as a driver of brand action Web culture elements can be integrated into any type of brand action Brand repositioning Campaign design New product launch Product innovation Online content production … 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 33
  34. 34. Web culture as a driver of brand action Example: the Diaosi guide to hotel booking by Ctrip How can Diaosis impress their bosses when helping them book a hotel abroad? Ctrip has the solution with its Diaosi guide to hotel booking. Thanks to Ctrip, Diaosis can navigate the obstacles and get on the boss’ right side! 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 34
  35. 35. Web culture as a driver of brand action Example: Diaosis stand up for their computer games What is one of the key characteristics of Diaosis? They play computer games. Game producer ZT Games positioned its game “World of immortal heros” as the game of choice for a generation of proud Diaosis with this hard hitting ad in which gamers proudly claim “I’m a Diaosi!”. 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 35
  36. 36. Web culture as a driver of brand action Example: KFC riding the chicken and beer craze It’s a dream situation when the country’s hottest TV show heavily features your star product. Hours ahead of the series finale, KFC heavily promoted its super fast home delivery service on Sina Weibo and encouraged its fans to post pictures of themselves enjoying beer and KFC chicken. 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 36
  37. 37. Web culture as a driver of brand action Example: Android and DELL defeat the Tuhao The concept of Tuhao was from the very start strongly associated with Apple’s gold iPhone 5s. In a recent ad for Dell tablets, the cute Android alien mascot defeats the arrogant golden Tuhao alien and his army of minions! 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 37
  38. 38. Web culture as a driver of brand action Example: Canon’s capitalizing on the “virtual girlfriend” buzz In recent weeks pictures of a netizen’s “virtual girlfriend” have gone viral on social media, symbolizing the loneliness of many Chinese men desperate to find love. Canon reacted by asking its fans what they would do if they too had such a virtual girlfriend. 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 38
  39. 39. Web culture as a driver of brand action Example: Buick seducing the post 80s generation Online is where individuals assert their status as members of a generation. Buick has used these codes in its latest “encore” campaign that features one video for each year of the 80s decade. The campaign positions Buick as the brand of choice for the new generation. 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 39
  40. 40. Question 4: How do I make my brand and business receptive to web culture? 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 40
  41. 41. How to do it How can your brand make the best out of web culture? Spot Share Take action §  Have strong listening tools §  Identify the elements of web culture that are most relevant to your brand §  Share knowledge about relevant web culture elements across the company §  Be able to quickly take action based on elements of web culture (requires organizational agility and decentralized decision making processes) 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 41
  42. 42. Time for some questions! Twitter Linkedin Wechat @Kevingentle @labbrand 2014 Labbrand No diffusion or reproduction without authorization. Labbrand.com 42

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