The business of love

Yes, I know Valentine’s Day has come and gone but I promise this blog is not about actual love. Those who consider the prospect of finding the perfect present a challenge should be glad they don’t live in China – which has not one, not two, not three… but FOUR love-centred holidays that come with the expectation of gifts. Whether you love or hate these traditions, brands are embracing the notion of love in marketing and reaping the rewards. Why? Because love means big business!

Let me break it down.

Valentine’s Day – February 14
Although the Valentine’s Day that most of us are familiar with already falls right after Lunar New Year, many of the traditions associated with this day have caught on in China and it is now a fully-fledged consumer holiday among Chinese.

Chinese Valentine’s Day – May 20
May 20, shortened to 520 (wu er ling) sounds similar to “I love you” in Chinese and the day is celebrated as an unofficial Chinese Valentine’s Day. This day is a very recent invention by Chinese netizens and millennials.

Qixi Festival (Chinese: 七夕節) – August 28 this year
This is a traditional celebration of lovers which usually falls in August. The traditional myth behind the day is the celebration of the annual meeting of the star-crossed lovers – a cowherd and a weaver girl. Generally, international high-end fashion labels are the biggest believers in the Qixi Festival, reminding consumers at every chance that they best not forget to make a romantic gesture.

“Have you planned anything romantic with her yet?” automaker Jaguar queried its followers on microblogging platform Sina Weibo. If that blunt question doesn’t sound high-pressure enough, the brand then goes on to note that ‘Jaguar’ sounds like ‘marry me’ in Chinese, (jia gei wo 嫁给我), and provides advice on how men can use Jaguar to facilitate a special night and pop the question. Users who respond with their own proposals are entered to win a free dinner.

Singles’ Day or Guanggun Jie (Chinese: 光棍节) – November 11
Singles’ Day, with the date’s repetition of ones when written numerically (11.11), represents ‘bare branches’, a local expression for single men and women. Whether it is self-pity or an addiction to the gifting tradition, Singles’ Day does not judge! Yes, there is a day dedicated to celebrating your single self, with single Chinese spoiling themselves rotten and availing of the huge discounts many retailers offer for this one-day event.

When I said that they spoil themselves I really mean it.

In the first 5 minutes of Alibaba’s Single’s Day event last year, the company sold USD 1 billion worth of merchandise, closing the day with a total of USD 17.8 billion. That is only one website, and other companies have made record breaking figures reporting a 140 per cent increase of sales from the previous year. Mobile devices accounted for a staggering 82 per cent of sales.

Editor’s Note – Do check out House of Cards’ humorous take on Singles’ Day and T Mall.

So what is the opportunity for these love-themed days in Australia?
Australian marketers cannot ignore the enormous potential of marketing around these events to target Chinese consumers, particularly when one considers the astonishing growth of Chinese immigration in our capital cities. Brands that get involved stand to benefit enormously, as evidenced by Australian company Chemist Warehouse – a star performer last year. Sales were so strong that the shopping festival was blamed for a shortage that cleared the shelves of Australian supermarkets.

I encourage all Australian retailers to grab these opportunities and all Australian brands to have presence across digital platforms during these four love-centred holidays…

This blog was written by Marija Kovacevic, MultiConnexions’ Media Director who would gladly seize any chance to be part of a shopping extravaganza. In fact, she would also gladly size this opportunity for marketers and help them be a part of this marketing experience.

We are Global

What is the critical missing piece in the puzzle while doing business with India or China?

The answer is cultural understanding.

Relationships matter in building trust, and only when there is trust will Asians do business with Australians. Yet how often do we hear Australian business leaders say, “Let’s cut to the chase and get to the point.” Impatience can often blow a great business opportunity out of the window in seconds. Layers of hierarchy are a ground reality in these countries.

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Little Red Book

While the term Little Red Book in China may previously have brought Chairman Mao’s book of the same name to mind, today’s Chinese may associate it with something altogether different.

Little Red Book – the go-to online retailer for overseas luxury goods

Little Red Book – Xiao Hong Shu in Chinese – is an app that has attracted over 17 million consumers and $200 million in annual merchandise sales in just 3 years. Things don’t look to be slowing down, with the company recently having raised $120 million from major investors such as TenCent and ZhenFund.

Autumn in two worlds

This weekend, I spent a day at Sydney’s iconic Blue Mountains with an old friend. The changing colours of the autumn leaves drew us there, and the reds and yellows were truly beautiful. I was busily snapping pictures on my phone and posting the beautiful scenes on WeChat, and receiving lovely comments and likes instantly from my friends all over the world. The weather was beautiful, the air was crisp, and it was a very memorable day.

As we filled our hands with fallen leaves and pine cones, we felt lucky that we had visited at the right time to experience the beauty above us, around us, and under our feet.

MultiConnexions Director highlights ‘visiting auntie syndrome’ at ‘Diversity Delivers’ IAA Thought Leadership Breakfast Forum

It was a packed house this morning at Doltone House, Sydney for the ‘Diversity DeliversIAA Thought Leadership Breakfast Forum hosted by Mumbrella, where leading diversity/ industry experts were in agreement for the incontestable business case for diversity. Ipsos Australia research indicates that organisations with ethnic and gender diversity at senior levels are financially outperforming their competitors – this is sometimes referred to as ‘The Diversity Dividend’.

During the lively and fascinating panel discussion, which touched on ‘how leading brands are leveraging diversity to deliver better ROI, improved creative outcomes and meaningful insights’, MultiConnexions Director of Strategy and Insights, Kaiyu Li highlighted a phenomenon he called, ‘visiting auntie syndrome’.

The typical Australian’s slang

A slow grin spread across my face this afternoon when leading Australian marketing trade publication B&T’s newsletter hit my inbox, and I read the blurb attached to an article titled: Four’ N Twenty Campaigns To Save our Slang.

“Hunt is on to find top Aussie slang,” read the blurb. “We’d like to nominate ‘merci beaucoup’ and 这些馅饼是可怕的,” quipped B&T’s editor.

The French phrase ‘thank you very much’ and the Chinese phrase ‘this pie is awful’ above were obvious nods to Australia’s truly remarkable multiculturalism.

Eggs and baskets

With belief in the resurrection  of Christ being so central to Christianity, Easter (falling on April 16 this year), and its lead-up, is a very meaningful time for Christians all around the world, with many attending church services even if they wouldn’t ordinarily do so. For the close to two thirds of Australia’s population identifying as Christian (according to Census, 2011) Easter also tends to bring to mind images of hot cross buns, chocolate eggs, baby animals, Easter egg hunts, and – of course – the Easter bunny.

But in the melting pot of Australia, cultural differences abound among various multicultural audiences celebrating Easter. The Greek Orthodox faith – for one – has some particularly noteworthy traditions around Easter.

Making WeChat your business – is our business

In many ways, Australia has always been ahead of the game with regards to new technology uptake and adoption – a point which should be a source of great national pride. In fact, an Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science infographic on ‘Adoption of digital technologies by Australians’ beautifully highlighted such heartening facts as:

  • 90 per cent of Australian adults actively use the internet and almost all Australian businesses are connected
  • Three quarters of Australians use mobile phones to access the internet, making us one of the most mobile connected countries in the world
  • The average Australian household has 8 connected devices
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MultiConnexions launches MCX Talent at Melbourne Lunar New Year ‘Roostail’ event

“Multiculturalism is the unstoppable global trend that Australia is leading”

MultiConnexions has launched MCX Talent, the company’s new cultural talent arm on the sidelines of the company’s ‘Roostail’ Lunar New Year Asian insights evening held at Melbourne’s Chinese Museum. Sheba Nandkeolyar, CEO, MultiConnexions announced the launch of MCX Talent, which will help marketers and agencies fill the gap existing in the market for culturally diverse talent.

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