Chinese consumer trends towards digital individualisation make audience segmentation "a mounting challenge", says BlueDigital CEO Richard Jiao, but agency remains "sensitive and adaptive to change".
Effie Award-winning digital agency, BlueDigital, identifies a number of significant trends and insights into China’s colossal consumer base. “As consumers in China strive for digital individualisation, audience segmentation is a mounting challenge, especially in comparison to other markets. However, consumers’ vast numbers and willingness to utilise mobile technology also provides opportunities,” Jiao says.
Additionally he notes that as ecommerce in China continues to expand, “more and more Chinese agencies are facing pressure from their clients to transform creative content into real sales. These results-driven requirements push agencies to create more practical digital marketing solutions.”
Chinese digital landscape
BlueDigital, established in 1996 and headquartered in Beijing, is a subsidiary of BlueFocus International, which has over 5,000 employees around the world. Its positioning within the Chinese market enables it to offer clients superior insights into Chinese digital engagement trends along with powerful and responsive tactics for execution.
“Chinese consumers concentrate a lot more of their time on social media, as a form of entertainment, communication and information,” says Jiao. “This means the industry is developing at a rate much quicker than in other markets. Agencies must be more sensitive and more adaptable to change.”
Knock-on effects of China’s industrial transformation
BlueDigital’s clients are increasingly seeing communications challenges which stem from the rapid changes to China’s traditional industries. These shifts have been created by the rapid evolution of internet development, O2O business models, and the introduction of new technologies — all of which have created significant change in the digital media communications landscape.
According to VP Jessie Feng, BlueDigital’s clients currently require, above all, the use of big-data analysis to gain consumer insights, to create closed-loop consumer systems, and to allow users to contribute to product design. The agency also receives increasing requests for the creation of viral content for social media platforms — all of which adds up to exciting possibilities within the current context of new technology availability, such as those provided by the field of sensors and virtual reality (VR), and which present wonderful new opportunities and challenges for digital marketing and creativity.
What this all means for the industry in general, and BlueDigital in particular, is transformative in terms of digital marketing, content strategy and means of communication.
BlueDigital’s own track record in creative output has been recognised by the industry as innovative and exciting. The agency leverages its own ‘Technology +’ approach which allows it to infuse creativity with technological expertise.
A recent triumph for this approach was with the agency’s work for Baidu and the ‘See you again, Kathmandu’ campaign. By combining UGC with Baidu’s own 3D modelling and intelligent path planning technology, BlueDigital created a successful viral CSR campaign which has won many awards, including The Grand Effie Trophy at the 2015 Effie Awards in China.
CCO Alex Phung interprets the proliferation of technology in consumers’ everyday lives as hugely promising: ‘These breakthroughs are designed to make people's lives better. Technology and data are just a channel. The trick is to use them to integrate brands into people's lives and move people.’ Phung’s approach involves the marriage of technology and creativity: ‘Technology has unimaginable ways of entering our daily lives and we must adapt our ideas to each platform.’
Strategic responsiveness to change
CEO Richard Jiao also believes that consumer willingness to utilise mobile technology offers opportunity to businesses and brands: “Any service app or digital product can provide a channel for targeted marketing and O2O marketing campaigns,” he says, noting the tremendous potential that is currently being offered by shifts in the Chinese market.
Yet at the same time, responsiveness to change requires a constant focus on business growth, branding, integrated marketing, CRM capabilities, training and scope of practice. This is something which some brands are doing very well, according to VP Jessie Feng, who sees them not just as early adopters of creative and innovative technologies, but rather as ‘innovation trendsetters’.
Furthermore, BlueDigital’s CSO, Yorf Guo, says that the agency is currently integrating data from social media and ecommerce platforms with many influential personal social accounts. This greatly assists in ‘leveraging digital interactive technology to further improve Tech-driven marketing capabilities as well as combining user-growth hacking methodology with marketing practices.’
A vision for the future
At such an interesting time in its development, BlueDigital shows no sign of retreating from its core strategy of focus on integrated marketing and business growth, and has set ambitious strategic goals to drive future growth.
“We set big goals for ourselves at BlueDigital and we will continue striving to achieve them,” says Richard Jiao. “First, we want to become China’s leading digital marketing agency. As part of that goal, we are constantly expanding our scope and heightening our technological expertise so we can provide a range of digital business solutions.”
Secondly, Jiao believes that integration, creativity and technology are the key approaches to bring BlueDigital to the next level: “BlueDigital will continue to reform itself from being a professional communications solutions provider to being an integrated business solutions provider. In particular, we will continue to drive the business through the heightening of our expertise in CRM integration.”