The Negotiation

In this episode of The Negotiation we have a really informative and high energy conversation with Lauren Hallanan, Head of Marketing @ Chatly and Author of Digital China; Working With Bloggers, Influencers & KOL’s. On today’s show, we really dive into influencer marketing in China, discussing the platforms, social media, innovation and penetration techniques. Lauren talks to us about using micro-influencers and professes a love for WeChat that may even eclipse my own. We talk about live streaming, particularly live commerce and how that works using KOCs, a term we just learned about on our last show. We also talk about private traffic and how difficult that is to come by now for brands given all their customer interactions are on social media, and how there’s finally a growing market for second-hand goods in China, led by Alibaba’s platform called Idle Fish. Enjoy!

Show Notes

Today on The Negotiation, marketing specialist Lauren Hallanan talks about all things digital marketing, influencers, and social media for brands in China. Lauren shares her insights on what platforms are on top and which are soon to be left in the past by consumers and brands alike. Listen in to learn what tactics are being used by domestic Chinese brands and why studying their approach could be the key to attracting superfans for a brand or product in China.
We kick off this episode by asking Lauren for a breakdown of the social media landscape in China. WeChat, described by Lauren as a “super app” that is well on its way to simply becoming an operating system, has become the dominant social media platform in China. Its rich offerings simplify life for consumers, meeting all their needs in one synergized ecosystem. It also offers brands the freedom and tools they need to reach and interact with their customers in new ways. Other popular platforms discussed are Weibo, a platform that has become a part of the fabric that is Chinese social media; Douyin, the local parent of TikTop, is a short video platform has taken off in China; and Xiaohongshu aka Little Red Book, a fusion of Instagram, Pinterest & a blogging platform like Medium or Reddit.
We also talk about the shift away from Baidu for product searches in the buying lifecycle. In recent years Baidu has taken major hits to its credibility by not clearly separating ads from search results. Their handling of advertised post promotion amongst other mistakes has led to a significant loss of trust. 
We discuss the tactics frequently used by successful brands in China, specifically using KOCs (key opinion customers) like the cosmetic brand Perfect Diary. Brands are also collaborating with thousands of very micro-influencers to get customers talking and reach beyond first-tier cities where physical retail is less available.
We also discuss the issue around private traffic, the traffic to a brand’s website that is considered owned by them and not available to any other company. China’s heavy use of social media by brands, where more and more brands are creating hundreds of chat groups on social platforms to get closer to their fan base and even perform customer service, means the traffic is technically owned by the social media platform, not the brand which has its own potential complications.

Lastly, we talk about a new movement in China that points to a shift in culture; Idle Fish, an Alibaba platform for buying and selling second-hand goods, has become very popular thanks in part to influencers. We discuss several reasons Chinese consumers are starting to shift their opinion on buying used goods, including environmental and economic reasons.
What are western brands missing when they try to enter the market in China? If you ask Lauren, it could be any number of the things mentioned above as well as a lack of perspective. She urges brands to start thinking of WeChat as their core engagement platform for their audience. She also suggests that they humble themselves in order and look to domestic Chinese competition, as they’re often “more agile, deeply understand the target audience and are unafraid of experimenting with the social media platforms that China runs on.


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.