March 6, 2013
Christian Dior and Prada were the top two brands being discussed on Chinese social media site Sina Weibo Feb. 24 after the 85th Annual Academy Awards, according to a new report by the Digital Luxury Group.
The research uncovered that there is growing interest in red carpet ceremonies and luxury products among digitally-connected consumers in China. The attention of Chinese consumers is something luxury brands are striving for as China becomes an increasingly important luxury market.
“For fashion brands that are not familiar with the Chinese market and that might not have a lot of assets at a local level, the fact that the market is more and more open to the Western world gives an opportunity to leverage an event like the Oscars to start building your brand awareness,” said Pablo Mauron, general manager of Digital Luxury Group in Shanghai, China.
The research came from an analysis of messages on Sina Weibo related to the Academy Awards' red carpet ceremony, fashion brands and celebrities that were posted Feb. 24-27.
Sina Weibo is the leading Chinese social network.
The top five brands that were mentioned the most on Chinese social media sites were Dior, Prada, Marchesa, Elie Saab and Giorgio Armani.
These brand conversations were part of the “Red Carpet Love” that many Chinese consumers have for awards shows and celebrities.
Also, there are certain looks, products and celebrities that resonate well with Chinese consumers.
“Anne Hathaway has an extremely good reputation in China for being elegant, as well as her red carpet style, known as the princess of never-go-wrong, which means that she is always smart on the red carpet,” Mr. Mauron said.
Ms. Hathaway could have been a driver in making Prada one of the most talked about brands on Weibo since she chose to wear a gown from the label to the Oscars this year.
Ms. Hathaway at the Oscars (via John Shearer, Invision/AP)
“People respect her classy attitude," Mr. Mauron said. "Her beauty type is quite close to the Chinese standards: light skin, red lips, dark hair and a skinny silhouette.
“This popularity clearly explains the fact that despite a questioned choice of changing her dress, the buzz on Anne Hathaway was still consequent and very positive,” he said.
The research also found that there are a small number of opinion leaders who are at the origin of the most discussed and shared information on Weibo.
These findings mean that brands that want to generate interest in China need to be able to build meaningful relationships with these strategic influencers on Weibo, per Mr. Mauron.
“The role of public relations in China has been completely redefined by the importance of key opinion leaders on Chinese social media sites,” Mr. Mauron said.
“They can have a heavy influence on people’s sentiment to the brand, unlike in the Western world where people are accustomed to thinking and judging independently,” he said. “The Chinese audience’s taste and aesthetics is still heavily impacted by key opinion leaders."
If marketers are looking to increase their popularity in China or are looking for a certain campaign to go viral, they should look to target these select individuals on Chinese social media sites to help them promote campaigns.
“A post by a popular fashion key opinion leader could reach thousands and thousands of consumers and create a fervor-like buzz,” Mr. Mauron said.
Erin Shea, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York