Location, location, location is everything for China collaborations

In addition to the early access strategies that are frequently adopted during pre-launch periods, location selection is another critical component to the performance of a collaboration in China. While all brands cherish the advertising and revenue generated from co-branded drops, the outlets contrast based on the desired customer base and brand purpose.

As shown on the Daily Jing latest report in the Insight series, The Drop: Understanding Successful Brand Collaborations, profit may not be the primary focus of collaborations with big brands. Instead, luxury brands often use them to receive maximum publicity while limiting buying opportunities, further emphasizing exclusivity. The 2017 Louis Vuitton x Supreme collaboration, for example, was only offered in pop-up stores in eight cities around the world, including just one such store in the 798 arts district in Beijing. The long queues outside these stores, combined with the collaboration’s wide exposure on social media, have cemented the brands’ dominance in public discourse.

As the latest report in Jing Daily’s Insight series, The Drop: Understanding Successful Brand Collaborations, shows, profit isn’t always the primary goal of collaborations with big brands.

On how location fuels streetwear hype, StockX Senior Economist Jesse Einhorn explained, “Supreme makes drops in store where people have to line up, for example, saying that there are only 20 t-shirts available in a day, so if you want one you have to get there early. Stories abound of people spending many nights in a row outside in cold weather waiting to enter a store because they know that unless they are one of the first 20 people inside from this store, they won’t get this t-shirt. . This is the most classic example.

On the other hand, collaborations that want to maximize sales can use social media campaigns followed by easily accessible purchase options. For the Esteé Lauder x SHUSHU/TONG collaboration online campaign, each Key Opinion Leader (KOL) post on Weibo contained a link to the Esteé Lauder Tmall flagship store for purchase. For Chinese jewelry brand Qeelin’s collaboration with handbag influencer Mr. Bags (Tao Liang), the limited-edition Qeelin x Mr. Bags red Wulu necklaces and bracelets were available from Mr. Bags’ own WeChat store. Bags, the Qeelin store, Tmall stores and via direct purchase during the Mr. Bags live stream sessions.

Qeelin teamed up with KOL Mr. Bags for a live streaming session. Photo: Mr. Bags’ Weibo

Brands can also leverage access to exclusive collaboration drops to solidify consumer loyalty to their distribution platforms. One of the ways Nike supports consumer engagement is by regularly giving out drops through its SNKRS app, as it rewards frequent users with opportunities for early access to exclusive new products. For its part, Coach has sought to capture the opportunities presented by China’s booming luxury resale market by entering into a strategic partnership with Poizon, China’s leading streetwear and sneaker commerce platform, in May 2021. Coach also plans to list products, including exclusive offers, on Poizon in the future, recognizing it as an effective way to reach their younger consumers, as over 80% of Poizon consumers are Gen Zers.

For collaborations aimed at specific categories of consumers, promotions are conducted through specifically selected channels and sales are limited to B2C sites, allowing brands to control the narrative surrounding the drop.

In the summer of 2021, Chinese smartphone brand OPPO collaborated with Japanese manga series Case Closed to introduce a limited number of Reno 6 Pro smartphones designed with elements from the series. Appealing to the enthusiasm of Chinese anime fans, OPPO has widely promoted the collaboration on Chinese anime-oriented video platform Bilibili, where Case Closed fans are most likely to focus. This distribution strategy proved to be very successful as the 10,000 phone edition sold out within seconds of launching on OPPO’s official website.

“Localization strategy should be driven by a brand’s status in the market,” said Carol Chan, chief executive of Chinese marketing agency Comms8. “Let’s say, if it’s an emerging brand that is growing in the market, it tends to use the major sales platforms, for example, Tmall or JD.com, to release the hyped drops for sales and mass awareness.But if it is a well-known brand with a strong existing customer base, they would opt for a more exclusive channel, such as WeChat private VIP group or mini program on WeChat, to advertise the offer to its existing customers, helping to build a long-term relationship.”

There are other collaborative goals, such as sounding out consumer interest, highlighting the artistic tastes of both brands, and tapping into the lucrative world of artist fanbases. So how do localization strategies determine the outcome of collaborative builds? Now available on our Reports page, The Drop: Understanding Successful Brand Collaborations answers this question and more about collaborative release strategy across multiple industries.

Buy the report HERE