In China, tech giants’ domination of social discourse has promoted pervasive opportunism. Be it a new consumer brand or a traditional brand, there is a tendency that China’s marketers are accustomed to using a ready-made formula for marketing.
Indeed, modern technologies, new platforms, and new ad formats have driven unignorable rapid growth for some brands. Should we expect such a pattern to continue, or is it time to revisit? Are brands thinking much more how than why?
Why do consumers need value-based marketing
The pandemic resulted in huge uncertainty in the society where all dividends are gone. Tightened regulations related to anti-monopoly and personal privacy protection, as well as limitations on some marketing tactics (e.g., social seeding, live streaming), are shattering marketers’ speculative mentality.
As the resulting impact of these radical societal changes, people start to face the uncertainty and re-examine all aspects of their lives, to deal with the so-called involution (Nèijuǎn内卷 in Chinese is the buzzword used to represent the fierce competition in workplace or academic settings where individuals are compelled to overwork because of the standard raised by their peers who appear to be even more hardworking) – the word that is said to sum up the anxieties of the time.
People reflect on the meaning in work, taking a self-as-a-model approach instead of meeting outside expectations. They create daily rituals or elevated moments, enjoying what they already have, to get a sense of healing and control over their lives. They become more rational in consumption, discerning between real needs and empty desires, to avoid excessive consumerism.
The 2021 Double 11 (China’s biggest online shopping festival) had its lowest year-on-year growth over the past decade. In contrast, sales of social science and philosophy books hit a new high. People are seeking something from within to hold.
Reshaping consumer brand's marketing logic
Under the circumstances, brands find that there is no longer a ready-made formula to apply. The market is calling for a reshaping of marketing logic. Both traditional brands and new consumer brands are facing challenges.
Traditional brands see challenges in connecting to new category narrative shaped by a new generation of consumers (among which global brands need to figure out how to make the brand story locally relevant enough, given that there is a remarkable rise of local cultural confidence).
New consumer brands need to consider brand sustainability after a dividend-driven high growth in early stage. In capturing the next wave of growth, both are at the same starting point.
Instead of trying to figure out what kind of marketing activities the new generation of consumers would like, value-based marketing is a promising perspective, consider what role a brand can play and what value a brand can offer in helping consumers deal with the uncertainty, find lasting meaning, and create joy in life.
Download our report ahead 2022: The Return to Why and read more.
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