Valentine’s Day might be huge, but Chinese New Year is also pretty up there.
Celebrated by billions of people the world over, Chinese New Year is just as huge a marketing opportunity as any Western holiday. In Australia, for instance, over 1.2 million people consider themselves to have Chinese ancestry. Successfully engaging with even just a small portion of that population would be huge for any business.
Then there are overseas Chinese who like buying from brands abroad. Pinging their radar could be beneficial for your company, and Chinese New Year could be your chance to do it.
However, marketing to Chinese consumers can be tricky, especially if you aren’t familiar with their culture. Just ask whoever came up with Dolce and Gabbana’s disastrous Chinese New Year campaign back in 2018. Even the fashion behemoth wasn’t spared from the backlash due to that culturally insensitive ad. Yikes.
Chinese New Year in 2021 is an unprecedented opportunity for many small businesses, on the other hand. Since we have yet to achieve global immunity from covid-19, travel is still restricted and many people still need to stay home. This just means that a lot of them look to the internet, particularly social media, for their celebration needs for the upcoming Year of the Ox.
So, if you’re a small to medium business running social media campaigns, now’s your chance. But before you post anything, here are some pointers to help you make the most out of this international holiday:
1. Understand the holiday’s significance.
More than just the Lunar New Year celebration, Chinese New Year is when families congregate, perhaps for the first time in months. Many hardworking Chinese sons and daughters save up and plan so they can get together with their parents and siblings at this time.
Thus, for those who’ve immigrated to other countries and can’t make it home for the holiday, alternative ways of reconnecting are sought after.
Of course, it helps if you do a quick Google search about Chinese New Year traditions and symbols, but understanding why the holiday is significant is a good starting point. If nothing else, it can help you prevent any cultural faux pas however you decide to run your marketing campaign.
2. Tap into your customer’s emotions surrounding the holiday.
Buying is always an emotional decision, no matter how much we try to back it up with logic. So, which emotions can you tap into for Chinese New Year?
On the positive side, there’s hope for a fresh start, as well as familial love and togetherness. Conversely, there’s one-upmanship among relatives (which is quite common during any holiday, actually) and the accompanying nosiness.
So, if you want to increase your chances of creating viral content, stories that effectively weave around such emotions are your best bet.
3. Make an effort to celebrate the holiday and document it for your audience.
This sends the message that you are sharing in the holiday festivities, and most target audiences appreciate that. As mentioned in the first tip, do your research and figure out which traditions you and your company can participate in or showcase.
For example, you and your distributed team can reveal how you’ve decorated for the holiday. You could also have a bake-off where each department presents their versions of traditional CNY pastries like pineapple tarts.
Or you could post a video of your Chinese team members talking about what the holiday means for them. Better yet, they can take their audience along on a virtual tour of their celebrations for the day.
4. Don’t underestimate the power of live videos.
And no, they don’t have to be perfectly edited either. Audiences appreciate authenticity in content because they deem this trustworthy. 63% of consumers across 12 global markets prefer to buy from a business they consider to be more authentic than its competitors. Furthermore, a whopping 60% of them are more likely to recommend an authentic business to family and friends.
So, go ahead and post that live video of you baking those pineapple tarts or folding paper lanterns, even if they turn out far from perfect.
5. Put a Chinese New Year spin on any product or service giveaways.
Eight, for instance, is a lucky number in Chinese culture. (Hence, the title of this article.) So, you could perhaps have eight days of giveaways or an 8% discount on all products. Alternatively, you could hold a contest and pick eight winners total.
There are several things about this festive holiday that you can play around with, depending on which industry you’re in. Food and beverage businesses and related industries can come up with special menus for the delivery during the holiday. Financial services can give out red envelopes that contain vouchers or coupons.
The only limit is your creativity, and your willingness to dive deep into this holiday’s cultural significance.
6. Encourage your audience to turn in user-generated content.
It’s a great way to get them to join in on the fun (and to drive your engagement levels). This year, Coca-Cola’s CNY campaign went viral since it featured the stories of three young citizens living in China. It resonated with audiences the world over because the content was especially relevant to how the covid-19 pandemic changed how most of us now perceive everyday life.
Of course, your campaign doesn’t have to be on an equally large scale. A simple contest or poll can still get you similar results. The key is to come out with something that is relevant to the holiday, to your brand, and to your target audience. If you can go even further and make it something that they’d love to participate in, you’re golden.
7. Useful content is always a hit.
There are probably lots of young Chinese people in Australia living away from home for the first time. Ditto for Chinese immigrants who are still finding their feet and are clueless as to how they can continue certain traditions Down Under.
Both of these client groups have clear pain points that insightful and useful articles can agitate and then address. Titles like “Where to Order the Best Yee Sang in Sydney,” “The Best Apps for Reconnecting With Family Back Home,” or even “Top Spring Cleaning Tips For the Lunar New Year” could prove relevant to them.
As always, do your research and exercise cultural sensitivity when churning out such content.
8. If you’re out of ideas, a virtual red envelope will do in a pinch.
Pressed for time? Uncertain about how to proceed without committing any cultural faux pas? Look to the hong bao for inspiration.
These traditional red envelopes are typically given away on Chinese New Year to children and unmarried people. They usually contain money, which can range from a token amount to outrageous sums(!). Basically, they’re one of the most enduring symbols of this holiday.
Thus, you can send a virtual hong bao containing, say promo codes for exclusive discounts, to your mailing list. It’s certainly a quick and easy way to take part in the festivities and possibly reach out to a brand new audience too.
Lastly, this is also why it helps to have a distributed team. Different perspectives from employees of different cultures can add nuance to your company’s social media outreach. It would, at the very least, drive consumer engagement levels.
Plenty of Filipino remote workers, for instance, are familiar with Chinese New Year. A good percentage of them even have a rich Chinese heritage, which can be useful if you want to understand this market segment better.
Remote Staff has had more than a decade’s worth of experience recruiting and onboarding top Filipino remote talent. Whether you need VA’s, graphic designers, or social media managers, you find great candidates in our diverse talent pool.