According to a recent Washington Post Article titled, “Chinese Consumers Eager to Excel at the American Pastime, the only bright spot in corporate earnings reports in recent months has been revenue in places such as Brazil, Russia, India and China.
In China consumer spending hit $1.3 trillion last year and for many American companies, China represents an alternate consumer universe where marketers can rewrite the story of their brands. In China Wrangler jeans are cool, a Wal-Mart opening is the social event of the year, Buicks are young and hip and KFC and Pizza Hut are hot places for dates.
“U.S. companies have been so successful in China because Chinese consumers have a ‘look up to the rich’ attitude and the United States is the world’s top developed country in their eyes,” said Gao Tao, a consultant for the International Brand Association in Beijing.
China has also recently become the #1 country for internet usage, according to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) which has just published their mid-year statistical survey report on the Internet Development in China. Chinese consumerism and the explosion of internet usage has created the perfect opportunity for American brands to stake their claim and engage loyal customers through the development of social media branding campaigns.
Pepsi’s social media campaign
Pepsi recently launched a social media campaign in China targeted to the youth market. Pepsi created a “battle of the bands” themed event; all elements of the campaign are aggregated online on Pepsi’s main promotional site http://pepsi.sina.com.cn, and a series of satellite SNS groups were created to drive traffic to the contest and stimulate buzz online.
Using a “Battle of the bands” music contest, Pepsi’s campaign stretches across several large China social media sites: Tudou, Baidu, Sina, Tianya, QQ, and Douban. Pepsi’s branding strategy in China appears to focus on a niche group of rebellious youth and is in strong contrast to Coke’s mainstream positioning.
In my opinion Pepsi has done a great job of hitting the popular social media sites among Chinese youth and creating a foundation for the brand in order to compete against Coke.Pepsi also fully branded the rebellious spirit as “Pepsi”. Over time this branding will take hold and return some benefit especially if Pepsi keeps its sights set on social media and continues to engage its target audience in the areas where there interests lie.