WE's recent study, Brands in Motion, served as the backbone of Monday's briefing in Shanghai, where a compelling panel of brand marketers discussed the market climate in China, how brands are creating social relevancy, and how they're staying innovative in an unprecedented era of growth in the country.
Penny Burgess, managing director at WE Red Bridge, kicked off the event with an in-depth look at the aforementioned study. "As communications experts, we've really never had total control over the environment in which our brands operate," said Burgess at the event, "I think we're all very aware that in today's world, the pace of change is getting faster and faster. In China in particular, we're often navigating a grey regulatory environment."
Burgess' presentation posed a number of pressing questions to those in the audiences, and followed up with key insight gleaned from WE's global study including: how can you leverage brand stability in times of rapid change, how cultivating a bold voice can bolster your following, and how you can stay the course on the 'defend or shame' consumer compass.
The China market stood out in the study as one primed for new innovation, particularly hard to impress, and dead set on embracing brands who put CSR on the top of their to-do list.
Following up on Burgess' keynote, a panel of speakers including William Wang, Asia e-commerce manager at La Perla; Farrell Yi, senior communication manager at BVLGARI; and Bo Chen, general manager of corporate communications & marketing at Shanghai Fosun High Technology Group, spoke at length about their own experiences cultivating a brand in China.
"Vision is so important," said Wang, "especially when it comes to physical products, like clothing, you need to have a strong aesthetic message behind your brand, digtially and in-person."
"Link the brand to the consumer," added Chen, "For a holding company like Fosun, it's not all about business to business anymore, we want to connect directly with our customers." Many of the panelists echoed the sentiment of the Brands in Motion study, particularly that if a brand seeks long-term success in China, cutting-edge isn't enough—bleeding-edge is more like it.
"Communication portals are effecting everything we do," said Yi, "we strive to connect quickly and candidly with our consumers. For those in China, using your mobile phone for payment is commonplace. Now, how can we make that possible for them globally?"
For more information check out WE's full Brands in Motion study.