Staff Writer
Jun 7, 2017

China’s media: a matter of craftsmanship

This year’s Cannes Lions bespoke sessions will reveal consumer insights from the experts on China’s advertising frontlines

China’s consumer landscape is moving at an unparallelled pace
China’s consumer landscape is moving at an unparallelled pace

The Chinese market, in the last three years, has ranked second in the world for overall ad spend, and in 2017, China’s advertising growth rate ranked first. The country is inarguably an industry hotbed, and while many of its consumer habits and trends have gone untapped by international marketers, the door is open for those seeking to understand a burgeoning audience.

The 2017 Cannes Lions Festival places the country centre stage during this year’s China Day. The event is an opportunity to hear from industry leaders on their experience in the country. Cindy Yan Chan, chief strategy officer at Focus Media, will be sharing key insights on the trajectory of Chinese consumer groups. She details the session as a “learning opportunity, examining China as it’s undergoing what we’re calling a ‘consumption upgrade’ of physical products and services. What we’re also seeing is a rapid evolution of one of the world’s most unique digital ecosystems.”

‘A Whole New World: China’s Digital Media Craftsmanship’ functions as part of the Creativity in Focus programme, a series of learning-based stage and interactive activities where thought leaders delve into pressing topics that impart ‘need to know’ and ‘how to’ insights. Chan’s session will touch on several major talking points.

Interactive "lift media" is on the rise in China

Myths of the market

The Chinese market is growing every year, but with that growth comes diversification, “In order for brands to successfully penetrate the whole of China, an understanding of regional characteristics and local consumer groups is invaluable,” says Chan.

Along with this diversity, the data behind China’s consumption upgrade and the reasons for its proliferation are also worthy of attention from the industry.

Marketing formats adapt for China

When we take a closer look at the complex advertising environment in China, ‘scene marketing’ is being integrated as a broadly effective method.

The 250 million strong mainstream consumer group now maintains 80% of the country’s purchasing power, and is leading the way in China’s ongoing consumption upgrade. Reaching this demographic in their daily life—whether it be through daily travel routes, at work, or during leisure activities—is perhaps the key to brand success in the China market.

Cindy Yan Chan, chief strategy officer of Focus Media

Chan has been chief strategy officer of Focus Media since 2005, where she has partnered with Kantar Media to set up China’s first global, outdoor TV viewership rating system, and with Millward Brown to develop MixReach, a multi-screen research tool for the mobile internet era.

As a leading outdoor media company, Focus Media has pioneered the most prominent, interactive “lift media” network within China, tactfully positioning ads in lifts throughout the country.

Under Chan’s leadership, the company has also forged a strategic alliance with Baidu to create an occupant index of office blocks and residential apartments. By integrating property, search and ecommerce retail data, the company has launched its own cloud information platform. The solution helps advertisers to precisely target consumers in their residential or office buildings, providing a marketing model for brands based on both data analytics and brand strategy.

Chan’s more than 20 years in marketing, international 4A firms and media have given her a deep affection for the advertising industry, which she feels play a major role in shaping brands and aiding national economic development.


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