Topics Discussed and Key Points:
● How Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) have evolved over the past five years
● Co-founding one of China’s top-ranking beauty KOLs, Melilim Fu
● The team behind Melilim Fu, and how KOLs are typically managed
● KOLs versus Key Opinion Consumers (KOCs) versus micro-influencers
● Launchmetrics and the problems they aim to solve in today’s marketplace
● Scaling a startup in China as a C-suite executive
● The dramatic rise of influencers in China
Today on The Negotiation, we speak with Elijah Whaley, VP of Marketing APAC at Launchmetrics, the leading Brand Performance Cloud used by Fashion, Luxury and Beauty (FLB) executives to connect with the modern consumer in a constantly changing landscape.
Elijah is also the host of the PARKLU China Influencer Marketing Podcast, a bi-monthly show which features guests who share their unique insights and perspectives on industry developments.
Elijah speaks on the development of Key Opinion Leaders, or “KOLs”, in China over the past five years. Before turning into a huge industry in China’s eCommerce space, the impetus for KOLs began with passionate fans of certain products who shared their purchase experiences with a small online community via blogging and live streaming. Elijah speaks specifically on co-founding one of China’s top-ranking beauty KOLs, Melilim Fu.
The greatest and most inexpensive approach to customer acquisition is retention. Elijah believes that there is too little focus being placed on customer retention, especially since the real power of retention lies in a brand’s ability to leverage these loyal customers as communication or marketing channels—Key Opinion Consumers, or “KOCs”.
Finally, Elijah discusses the dramatic rise of influencer marketing in China—a natural evolution in consumer culture due to the country’s inclination to “feel special about themselves by being involved with a group that they consider special.”
“The intersection between education and entertainment is the sweet spot when it comes to content marketing or content development. Everybody wants to be entertained. To be educated and be entertained at the same time provides the maximum amount of value and bang for your buck as far as your time investment into anything.”
“I believe KOCs are something that has existed for a long time: a brand advocate. But it’s a digital brand advocate. [...] A KOC is a brand’s customer. When they talk about your product, they generate more sales. As a brand, if you’re able to identify these customers [...] you can put this label of ‘KOC’ on them and put them into a new basket and say, ‘Hey, this person is an extremely valuable asset to our organization. We need to treat this person differently and leverage them as a communications channel.’”
“When the customer comes into the store, we need to overdeliver, surprise, and delight, and create it in a visceral way so that someone wants to take their phone out, capture it, and share it. We know that this is the most impactful way of communicating with other potential customers because it’s word-of-mouth from individuals that others know, love, and trust.”
“Timing is the big secret in the startup world. If you can hit that wave right, if you see the swell and you start paddling and you position yourself properly, that’s the big, big secret.”