Western brands show the power of WeChat marketing in China

Many Western brands have already recognised the potential of WeChat (Chinese name: Weixin). With one third of Chinese leisure time spent on the internet, and more than 60% of adults reading articles, news, and brand updates on WeChat, the app has the potential to get brands noticed by a wide audience. Chinese men and women are almost equal in their WeChat reading habits, spending on average 40 minutes reading on the app, twice a day (source: China Internet Watch). Some brands have already made the most of this powerful new marketing tool. We’ve taken a look at how three global companies have used WeChat marketing in China.


In February 2014 Burberry announced the brand and WeChat had a ‘digital innovation’ partnership that would see the boundaries of the app pushed with a number of creative collaborations. The move allowed the brand’s WeChat followers to get exclusive content on its AW14 Womenswear show during London Fashion Week. The brand used WeChat marketing in China to give its followers an inside experience of the event, the app allowed them to listen to exclusive audio from the Burberry design team explaining the creative process behind the collection, and the ability to send a message requesting personalised pictures that tracked VIP guests, such as Angelababy, a Chinese actress (source: The Drum).


Global drinks giant Coca-Cola has already had a lot of success with social media marketing in China with projects such as its online community ICOKE. In 2014 they used WeChat to run an Online-to-Offline (O2O) WeChat marketing campaign using customised bottles with unique codes printed inside the caps. The codes had to be inputted on WeChat in order to win prizes, so it presented a great way to get offline customers to become online followers. The brand manufactured and distributed 990 million special bottles for Coca-Cola, Fanta, and Sprite, all featuring the WeChat logo (source: The China Gap). The WeChat marketing campaign was highly effective in converting a simple offline purchase into a new channel of communication and source of fans.


The global coffee chain is the perfect example of how soft marketing techniques are effective when social media marketing in China. The company has always been good with its social media, but being one of the first global brands to adopt WeChat business accounts shows just how ahead of the curve they are. They invited their followers to message them an emoticon that summed up their current mood, to which they responded with a song that matched how the user was feeling. 130,000 members joined the Starbucks feed within the first few months, sharing emoticons 238,000 times. The result of focusing on becoming friends with users rather than pushing products paid off, with a 9% increase in Weibo followers and increased sales of their new fruity iced drinks range (source: Search Engine Journal).

WeChat marketing in China involves value and relationship

What is clear from these examples is that each company has focused on building relationships with their fans rather than simply pushing their products into view of new customers. Relationship is key to social media marketing in China. How do you plan to build your relationship with potential customers?

(Image source: Image created by Stuart Miles | www.freedigitalphotos.net)