The Negotiation

Today on The Negotiation, Tom Nixon tells us that the speed of adaptation is China’s biggest strength and is unmatched in this factor compared to Western economies. One huge differentiator with the Chinese is that, unlike much of the West, they’re not afraid to put early-iteration products out into the market right away and to pull them out if they are not initially successful. They are also unafraid to go wide when it comes to reaching consumers, hence the plethora of eCommerce applications available in the country.

Show Notes

Tom points to social changes as most fundamental to the rapid growth of the Chinese market, particularly with how quick consumers are in adopting new technologies. There are three keys to this change: 1) Immersion, or maximizing the buyer experience (i.e. standardizing vertical video); 2) Innovation, and framing these novel platforms as a positive lifestyle change; 3) Entertainment, which was never a huge factor to the Chinese consumer in the past.
According to Tom, there are two types of content: 1) Marketing content, which is produced by brands; and 2) User-generated content (UGC), which is created by the consumers themselves. When it comes to content that resonates with Chinese consumers, the focus should be put on who buyers are listening to at that point in time. This is always changing: From Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), today’s “authority figures” are micro-influencers.
The common thread here is the democratization of business. While before we were constantly faced with big, flashy, high-budget advertising, now we tend to listen more to raw, down-to-earth, and entertaining individual creators who are (seemingly) “just like us”.
Tom advises Western brands to understand their customers’ touchpoints and ecosystems. The biggest mistake companies make is not being aware of cultural nuances. At worst, they risk offending potential buyers with their marketing. At best, they know where consumers go, but not how to actually engage with them or how to tailor their brand to their target customers.
Tom’s real-life example is when a company once reached out for help regarding what content to produce on WeChat—without first considering whether WeChat is really the best place for them to be in. Understanding the platforms is important indeed, but it is just as important to understand the culture of the people using these platforms.

What is The Negotiation?

Despite being the world’s most potent economic area, Asia can be one of the most challenging regions to navigate and manage well for foreign brands. However, plenty of positive stories exist and more are emerging every day as brands start to see success in engaging and deploying appropriate market growth strategies – with the help of specialists.

The Negotiation is an interview show that showcases those hard-to-find success stories and chats with the incredible leaders behind them, teasing out the nuances and digging into the details that can make market growth in APAC a winning proposition.