As we bid farewell to 2020, it’s safe to say that brands have been through the wringer. Marketing and promotions have been more challenging than usual thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and its lingering effects on the supply chain, consumption habits, and broader economic conditions. Having said that, some brands have still managed to achieve remarkable successes that other brands can learn from through KOL marketing in China. Let’s take a look at the top 5 2020 influencer marketing case studies.
2020 Influencer Marketing Case Studies 1: Geoskincare used omnichannel KOL marketing in China to sell millions of units
In a year when the pandemic has impacted most brands’ bottom line, New Zealand’s Geoskincare has bucked the trend, achieving a three-fold increase in omnichannel turnover in the first quarter alone. The brand also became the first brand in 2020 to break the one million barriers in monthly sales on Tmall.
These results were built on Geoskincare’s social commerce presence, with the brand gradually expanding its reach to Vipshop, JD.com and Tmall. KOL marketing in China, executed via promotions and live-streams on platforms such as Douyin, Kuaishou and Xiaohongshu helped the brand drive sales up even further.
Geoskincare leverages recommendations from a variety of KOLs, from top-tier live-streamers and celebrities to multi-platform influencers. The brand has worked with stars like Zhao Wei, G.E.M., and Angela Chang along with mid-tier KOLs alike. This massive KOL promotional campaign has driven consumer awareness of the brand’s products, as well as creating an effective sales infrastructure that captures online conversions as well as boosting offline sales.
2020 Influencer Marketing Case Studies 2: How Calzedonia’s “Leg’s Shine” event ignited online discussion
New product releases are often twinned with offline activities, such as pop-up stores and fashion shows. For example, the Italian fashion group Calzedonia recently hired Yang Mi as its spokesperson. As part of the run-up to Double Eleven, a key period for driving sales of new autumn/winter collections, the brand held a “Leg’s Shine” event in Shanghai on 22 October. The event featured a creative display showcasing Calzedonia’s 2020 autumn/winter series of tights. Yang Mi appeared at the event sporting a pair of Calzedonia stockings from the collection.
The immersive, experiential event attracted a who’s who of fashion KOLs, including @楚月Chen, @徐千金GHOST, and @沈韵菲Facy. The brand’s Weibo topic #Leg’sShine# received 22.958 million views and 211,000 comments. The brand’s WeChat index also experienced a day-on-day surge of 114.45 percent on 23 October.
2020 Influencer Marketing Case Studies 3: McDonald’s Bilibili live-streaming debut
Live-streaming is currently the most popular medium for brands seeking to promote themselves and drive e-commerce sales through KOL marketing in China, and Bilibili has established itself as among China’s top platforms for live-streamed content. 3C brands like OPPO and Nubia have used Bilibili to announce new products, and content in the beauty, lifestyle, and food categories generates high traffic on the platform.
McDonald’s made its own Bilibili live-stream debut on 15 April, hosting a 24-hour product launch for its McCrispy Chicken. The company’s CEO personally appeared on the live-stream and ate the new chicken product, drawing more than 1 million viewers. The live-stream targeted a broad range of social and cultural groups, enlisting top students, anime characters, programmers and KOLs as McDonald’s live-stream hosts and inviting them all to try the chicken dish. McDonald’s gave away 100,000 free coupons during the live-stream, worth over RMB 1 million.
2020 Influencer Marketing Case Studies 4: Weltmeister shows automobile brands how to achieve high volume at low cost
Weltmeister hosted a warehouse party combining star power, brand recognition, and user interaction. The event featured endorsements from celebrities like Jike Junyi and Ma Di, which captured the attention of the target audience. The brand ensured maximum exposure via WeChat Moments ads along with collaborations on official WeChat accounts owned by mid-tier KOLs and micro-KOLs. This helped Weltmeister reach consumers in every category, totaling in the millions. The brand’s official Weibo topic for the event, #不可思议工厂派对# (“incredible warehouse party”), received over 15 million views and more than 3,600 comments.
2020 Influencer Marketing Case Studies 5: Using virtual tourism and cultural promotion to drive live-stream sales
Today’s live-streams tend to be driven by price wars, but quality, interesting content is slowly becoming a trend in the live-streaming world. For example, it’s becoming more common for live-streaming stars like Li Jiaqi and Viya to invite celebrities to join them on live-streams, adding extra interest for viewers.
On 6 June, travel company Lvke teamed up with Shanghai Hengshan Group, inviting travel KOLs to take part in a live-stream where they would take turns checking into six five-star hotels in one night. Through the live-stream, the audience could admire the nighttime view of the Moller Villa, enjoy dinner on the 17th floor of the Broadway Mansions, and feel the old Shanghai style of the Yangtze Boutique Hotel. Following the live-stream, KOLs re-posted content on their social media platforms to increase exposure for the event and deepen the impression left by the brand.
Combining virtual tourism and cultural promotion in a live-stream made for a fun, memorable event – with results to match. The number of online viewers for the spectacle exceeded 630,000, with over 45,000 interactions and online sales in excess of 130,000.