China is the world’s leading consumer electronics market with revenue surpassing 97 billion RMB in 2017, but the competition for sales is fierce, especially in the smartphone market where dozens of homegrown and international brands are battling to increase their market share. In this aggressive landscape, electronics brands are turning to influencer marketing to set them apart.
And who better to promote these products than influencers? Regardless of the type of content they make, smartphones, cameras, and computers are the fundamental tools of all KOLs. KOLs use these electronics all day, every day — far more than the average person. Indeed, the quality of their work (and therefore their career success) depends on it, so they only want to use devices that will produce the best results. They often develop an affinity for a particular product or brand and are able to speak convincingly about its merits. Their followers frequently ask them what devices they use, hoping to get the same look or achieve the same result.
Chinese phone companies OPPO and Meitu realized this early on and are leading the charge, devoting enormous resources to KOL collaborations, events, and experimenting with emerging platforms. They are seeing a great deal of success. In late 2017, a number of other electronics brands began working with influencers and the trend is sure to continue into 2018.
Chinese Phone Brands are Masters of Influencer Marketing
While OPPO is relatively unknown outside of China, the brand was ranked as the number four smartphone brand globally in 2016 and was the top-selling brand in China. OPPO targets China’s young consumers with its trendy designs and smart marketing. With nearly 27 million Weibo followers (@OPPO ), OPPO is no stranger to social media. In the second half of 2017, the brand started focusing heavily on influencer marketing, working with some of the hottest influencers in China and trying a variety of campaigns across multiple social platforms.
First, in August, OPPO invited fashion KOLs @gogoboi and @李怡霖–李10 to promote their new OPPO R11 FC Barcelona Edition smartphone. The stylish commercial received tons of engagement on Weibo. Hashtag #OPPO FC Barcelona# generated 540M views and 167.2K discussions.
Then, in early November OPPO and fashion brand SANKUANZ @上官喆SANKUANZ launched a cross-promotion campaign featuring an OPPO hoodie collection and the R11s smartphone. OPPO invited several fashion KOLs to promote and create original content, including @Anny__Fan, @张家衣, @王新宇WANGY, and @赵涛AO77. During the first week of the campaign, 52 KOLs mentioned OPPO in 77 posts, generating ¥8.5M in social media value.
Later that month, they partnered with actor @李现ing and China’s hottest rapper @红花会PG_ONE, using the R11s to film short inspirational videos about the choices young people make. The campaign hashtag #OPPO年轻的选择# or “Young People Choose OPPO” generated 320 million views.
Most recently OPPO has been experimenting with up-and-coming video platform Douyin, partnering with KOLs and sponsoring a hashtag challenge contest encouraging users to make their own OPPO-themed content for a chance to win a new R11s phone.
Although OPPO might be the phone for young people, Meitu is arguably the most popular smartphone brand among China’s millennial females due to its built-in photo editing and beauty-enhancing functions. Meitu knows that the best way to reach their specific target audience is through beauty and fashion influencers, and since the beginning the brand has relied heavily on KOL marketing, often inviting hundreds of KOLs to participate in campaigns.
In their most recent product launch, Meitu invited 30 KOLs from across China to a press conference in Beijing where they unveiled a new logo design and launched their latest luxury smartphone, the ¥7,000 Meitu V6. Their brand ambassador, actress Angelababy, live-streamed the event to 1.4 million viewers on Meitu’s popular video sharing app Meipai. Some of the KOLs that attended the event include 傅沛MelilimFu, @陈小纭, @于海航Yu, and @鲁敏ALULU.
While they haven’t invested nearly as much in influencer marketing as OPPO and Meitu have, Huawei recently collaborated with a number of influencers and celebrities for the launch of their newest smartphone, the Huawei Nova 2S.
The phone’s celebrity spokesperson, male heartthrob Zhang Yixing, appears in a number of videos for the launch, and a number of celebrity influencers including the editor-in-chief of Bazaar magazine @苏芒, actress @我是娜扎 and photographer @王义博 posted about the new phone on Weibo.
Influencers were an integral part of the phone’s press event. During the event, beauty influencer @黄灿灿acan filmed a nude makeup tutorial using the new phone, and fashion blogger @徐峰立 live streamed to 150K viewers. Several photography bloggers were also invited, including @留予刘雨果, @菜尾蝗–旅行摄影, and @步恩撒 .
On top of that, Huawei organized a massive live-streaming event on Dec. 31. They partnered with 20 influencers including @小小莎老师, @Janice简妮, @北石同学 and @ziska招招 to stream New Year’s celebrations from cities all over the world.
To date, hashtag #华为nova2s四镜头# has tracked 300 million impressions and 4.9 million discussions on Weibo.
Other Consumer Electronics Brands Working with Influencers
This year Canon has been ramping up promotion in China. Hideki Ozawa, President, and CEO of Canon China said China has become their fastest-growing and best-selling market for cameras. Sales in this region account for more than 30 percent of their camera sales globally. And he doesn’t think this trend is going anywhere. With the ever-increasing spending power of Chinese consumers, their demand for high-quality cameras is on the rise.
In particular, Canon’s G9 series cameras have become very popular among Chinese influencers due to the flip screen’s ability to face forward. Canon turned to bloggers for promoting the newly released Powershot G9 X, working with a range of creatives, such as @程晓玥YvonneChing, @江南BoyNam, @徐峰立, @刘小宛, @刘小懒, and @清清missqing. During the campaign, 25 influencers mentioned Canon in 35 posts, generating ¥1.9M in social media value.
Earlier this year, Kindle proved that influencer marketing is not only for millennials and GenZ with their campaign called #读不完的热爱# or Endless Passion for Reading. Through research, Kindle discovered that although people were spending less time reading, the passion for reading remained strong, particularly in the brand’s target market of people aged 30 years and over.
To reach this audience, Kindle invited industry influencers and famous writers to create original content about their favorite books. @jolie罗晓韵, @蒋方舟, @噗嗤大叔, @蔡康永, and @吴晓波 were some of the campaign participants. Hashtag #读不完的热爱# tracked 11.63M views and 23K discussions on Weibo. Kindle was also mentioned 666,389 times on WeChat, a 27.62% increase.
HP is also starting to make the push into influencer marketing. In December, the brand collaborated with a variety of KOLs to promote their mini Sprocket photo printer. Interestingly enough, they chose several niche KOLs including famous cosplayer @coser小梦, cocktail influencer @一杯, and travel influencer @周若雪Patty.
Even Alienware, which makes super-fast computers popular among gamers all over the world, has jumped on the influencer marketing bandwagon, teaming up with China’s hottest rapper PG ONE. The rapper name-drops Alienware in one of his songs so the brand went all out, collaborating with him to film a music video filled with computers and Alien logos. Fans responded positively to the video which received over 1 million views, over 200 thousand comments and 200 thousand likes on Weibo.
On Saturday, January 13 and Sunday, January 14, 2018, PARKLU will hold its sixth installment of theINSIDER private shopping event. This weekend affair will bring together over 20 international and independent brands offering a curated selection of women’s/men’s fashion, accessories, jewelry, kids, and lifestyle products. More than one hundred KOLs will be attending the event to share the experience with their followers. Tickets are limited, so register early to guarantee two-day access.
WHEN: Saturday, January 13th (1–6pm) and Sunday, January 14th (1–6pm)
WHERE: Bridge 8 IV Events Hall – Rooftop, NO 457 Jumen RD, Shanghai