31
Mar
2013

Tactical advertising will not be enough

It was interesting to read  that the recent Mulberry profit warning was blamed on a lack of Chinese tourists to London and Paris in early 2013, and that the company needed to do some tactical advertising to solve the problem. Although I certainly agree with the CEO that tactical advertising is one thing the company should consider doing, its challenges require a considerably more comprehensive approach than just this.

The perception many brands that have limited exposure in China, or in many cases none at all, is that they are famed and recognized globally, and as such everyone will know who they are and head straight for their door. Unfortunately ‘fame’ in China is hard earned and can be very expensive. Consumers are becoming more knowledgeable but they only really know the brands they see and hear of on a regular basis.

For a newcomer brand, it needs to use its money wisely to reach consumers and build a place in their hearts, and by this I mean actually getting up close and personal with them. In the past it was possible to keep consumers at arms length, but not any more. They expect brands to treat them better, with greater respect and offer them better service, so incoming brands have a chance to build loyalty by developing a strategy to do this on arrival.

The luxury market in China is awash with choices, so brands that tell stories and impart messages using terms that culturally work, and translate these into advertising and tactical activities will stand out from the crowd. Mulberry for example currently only has three stores in China, but this should not prevent them from building status alongside their more prolific peers provided consumers see them as different and can justify an allegiance. They are not mass produced and their materials are some of the best, but unless they physically demonstrate this as others have done, nobody will know.

Building a place in the consumers heart in China, is not only about money, its about consistency in messages and activities and demonstrations of commitment, quality of product and service. Tactical advertising is expensive and possibly to superficial for todays more knowledgeable Chinese luxury consumers who want to see more of the brand.

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