[CORPORATE NEWS] THE IFOP GROUP ENHANCES ITS OFFER BY ACQUIRING OCCURRENCE

IFOP is acquiring Occurrence, an independent research and consulting institute created in 1995.  A specialist in communication (corporate & brand, media analysis, internal, public, events, digital, etc.), Occurrence supports companies and agencies in both France and internationally in evaluating the performance of their on- and off-line communication actions. As part of this acquisition, the Ifop Group is also integrating Deep Opinion, a subsidiary of Occurrence, a strategic and operational consulting firm specialising in digital intelligence, influence and e-reputation.

The integration of Occurrence with its subsidiary Deep Opinion once again demonstrates the growth momentum initiated by Stéphane Truchi and his management team. The Ifop Group thus affirms its unique positioning within the research market based on the richness of its analyses and the creation of value since 1938.

A positioning widely shared by Assaël Adary, the President of Occurrence, who will retain his duties alongside his 26 employees based in Paris and Brussels:

“Ifop and Occurrence are further aligning heart and reason! Two companies that are rapidly expanding, complementary, that are emerging stronger from the crisis.  Together we will write a new chapter. For Occurrence, this is a great opportunity to boost our momentum by relying on our brand, our teams, our customers, our innovative methodologies and by benefitting from IFOP’s influence in both France and internationally” notes Assaël Adary.

Common fundamental values

For Stéphane Truchi, CEO of the Ifop Group : “The acquisition of Occurrence seemed obvious to us. The growth of the Ifop Group is occurring and will occur through the integration of companies sharing a common business culture. Our two brands are now united around fundamental values that we will continue to defend with our customers, our employees and our partners: conduct and ethics, at the heart of our business vision, and the value provided by the seniority and competence of our teams”.

About the Ifop Group

Ranked among the Top 5 institutes in France, the Ifop Group has been the leader in opinion research since 1938 and a key player in quantitative and qualitative marketing research with its facilities in Europe, the USA and China. Since 2018, Sociovision has been enriching the Group’s offer with unique sociological observatories within the market and exclusive datascience know-how. The acquisition of Occurrence, an independent research and consulting institute, and its subsidiary Deep Opinion complements the Ifop Group’s offering in the evaluation of communication devices.

As a member of Esomar and Syntec Conseil, the Ifop Group boasts strong CSR commitments every day, in particular to guarantee ethical compliance in this business. The Group’s Ifop Horizons Charter attests to this.

The Ifop Group is supported in its growth by its majority shareholder, the family investment holding company DENTRESSANGLE. As part of this transaction, the Ifop Group’s advisors were PWC (Philippe Serzec, Louis Terrier) for the financial audit and Depardieu Brocas Maffei (Cédric Chanas, Alix Amaury) for the legal audit. On the legal side of things for Occurrence, Fiducial (Misha Raznatovich) and for the M&A process, Jacques Paquin.

http://www.ifop.com

About Occurrence

Created in 1995, Occurrence is an independent research and consulting institute, specialising in the evaluation of communication (corporate & brand, media analysis, internal communication, public, events, digital, etc.) and the analysis of opinions. For more than 26 years, Occurrence has been supporting companies and agencies in both France and internationally in measuring the performance of their communication and guiding their strategic decisions. The firm works on behalf of many key accounts and institutions of excellence: EDF, Orano, ADP, RATP, FDJ, ENEDIS, KEOLIS, LA POSTE, BNP Paribas, Caisse des Dépôts, Macif, Crédit Agricole, Servier and many food groups, ministries, European institutions, including the European Commission, as well as local authorities, associations, NGOs and public companies.

A member of Syntec Conseil, Occurrence has also been ISO 9001 certified since 2004 and is committed to ISO standard 26000.

www.occurrence.fr

Press contact :

Ifop Group – Isabelle Grange, 01.72.34.94.92, isabelle.grange@ifop.com

Occurrence – Ethel Bachellerie, 06 62 79 19 21, ethel.bachellerie@yahoo.fr

[CORPORATE NEWS] IFOP, THE RESILIENCE

At the beginning of 2022, it is time to look ahead. What are the new ambitions of the Ifop Group, a pioneering research institute and leader in survey-based opinion polling?  How is Ifop poised in the marketing research ecosystem? What are the Group’s distinctiveness traits? These are questions to which you will find answers in this exclusive article.

Since the beginning of the health crisis, the Ifop Group has been able to adapt and is currently approaching the year 2022 with enthusiasm.

Its ability to move through time since 1938, the year it was founded, allows the Group to constantly look in the rear-view mirror to understand the society in which it lives and to better anticipate the future.

In recent years, the Group has regularly outgrown the market and has revealed its future ambitions.

#humanfocus 

A Human Adventure

Stéphane Truchi, CEO of the IFOP Group since 2008, places human capital at the centre of the Group’s development. He is committed to bringing together talented individuals with a strong commitment to the company. He advocates a management style that values the collective, leaving each individual room for expression and freedom of action, which allows professionals from different backgrounds, most of whom have international experience, to work towards a common goal.

IFOP is proud to remain a training school recognised by the industry.

“IFOP’s strength lies in the development of a collective game by strong individuals”, Stéphane Truchi, CEO of the IFOP Group, who, for many years, coached football teams and embodied their collective values.

Since the pandemic, Stéphane Truchi, Christophe Jourdain, IFOP Group CEO, and their management team have made it a priority to accelerate the debate on the issues related to new forms of work in order to provide solutions that contribute to the well-being of collaborators.

Several projects are underway, but the fundamentals are already emerging: shared values such as Commitment, Passion, Proximity and Openness, and the affirmation of tangible CSR commitments, which are currently being unveiled on our networks in our “IFOP Horizons” Charter.

#internationalskill

An international DNA

In addition to the 18 nationalities (outside the EU) that are co-existing in Paris, the Group also operates in more than 70 countries. Since 1997, the Group has been operating in China, headed by Kevin Zhou, a respected marketing research professional. In 2020, an office was opened in New York, under the supervision of by Stephanie Sandler* who has a dual background in marketing and research.

The Group is located precisely where the major French groups in the luxury and beauty sectors are located, which makes IFOP a leading institute that works alongside the largest luxury companies and groups in France and internationally.

More than half of IFOP’s business is conducted internationally and 90% in the Luxury, Beauty and Wellbeing sectors (see development axis)

#hybridation

A dynamic business model

The organisation around autonomous business units and the establishment for several years of an ecosystem of partners (Big Sofa, Luxurynsight, Rouge Vif, Serenytics, ADN, etc.) are the key to a dynamic development policy.

In addition, our teams of experts, 100% dedicated to each sector, offer a personalised service in the design of the study, the analysis of insights and the relationship with the client, which enables IFOP to deliver a rich experience that is appreciated by its clients (source: IFOP 2021 client study).

Ultimately, due to the plurality and richness of the data, hybridisation is increasingly necessary to objectify, interpret and give meaning. An internal “Open IFOP” programme has been underway since 2020 to stimulate collaboration between our various experts and provide relevant answers to our customers’ problems.  By 2021, more than 60 hybrid projects have been carried out.

#insightment

Insight at the heart of our business

“Data doesn’t speak for itself, you have to make the data speak and contextualise it to give it value and meaning”, Stéphane Truchi, Group CEO.

Let’s go back to what is fundamentally valuable in our vision of the business!

First, identify and interrogate the relevant target, however sensitive or rare it may be. This can be done either in a traditional way or in collaboration with technology partners like Episto, to better capture certain targets.

Secondly, IFOP experts advise on the best way to engage this target group, with proven know-how in design and interviewing experience. The aim of this stage is to provide all the necessary ingredients for the correct interpretation of the results in a controlled sectoral context. With a view to objective, contextualised results, put into perspective with the correct reading of the company and the sector.

Among which:

  • Sociovision, a subsidiary specialising in sociological studies acquired in 2018. A reference brand, with historical data, which has been deciphering and anticipating societal phenomena for more than 40 years, based on unique observatories on the market. (in France and internationally),
  • A database of IFOP surveys published for more than 8 decades, a unique pool of knowledge, with more than 600 subjects available per year.
  • Sector experts fully involved in their clients’ issues,
  • Visionary authors with successful works that structure societal, political and economic analysis (La Fracture, Les Arènes – Frédéric Dabi*, Director of Opinion, L’Archipel Français, La France sous nos Yeux, Le Seuil, directed by Jérôme Fourquet, Director of the Opinion and Corporate Strategies Department, Luxe et Résilience, Dunod, with Stéphane Truchi, co-author)

#opinionpollleader

Leadership in opinion research

The IFOP Group is a recognised reference in the conduct of marketing research in all sectors of the global economy thanks to its sector-based organisation and specific business know-how.

Leadership in opinion, society and social climate surveys is at the heart of the strategy for the Group in France. Frédéric Dabi, General Manager of Opinion and Jérôme Fourquet, Director of the Opinion and Corporate Strategies Department, lead this expertise and accompany the understanding of French society with their recognised analyses.

This leadership will be further strengthened during this election period, when IFOP Opinion is deploying a complete system to understand the sequence that is being played out on a daily basis (presidential rolling with daily estimates, election evenings on the French channels such as TF1 and LCI, pre-election barometers, VIP appointments, Twitch broadcasts and collaborations with YouTubers).

“A heritage with a capital H, which we are proud to have. An obvious way to continue decrypting a part of our country’s history. Frédéric and Jérôme, with their teams, have been able to make this activity grow and take it to the highest level, in particular with their last two books published in 2021”.  Stéphane Truchi, IFOP Group CEO

#uniqueproposition

A prospective/progressive look

Several bricks complete the offer and boost IFOP’s business.

  • In 2022, the Group’s qualitative know-how will be a priority with the creation of the Ifop IQ (Inspiring Qual) entity, which brings together the “quali” activities already in place and InCapsule by IFOP, created in 2011, which at the time established IFOP as a pioneer in trends and innovation consulting. Ilana Dupeyron*, who joined IFOP in April 2021, is in charge of this new entity. The objective: to deploy innovative systems in France and abroad in order to support innovation and brand positioning strategies in all sectors where IFOP is present.
  • Integrating technology and data science solutions into our segmentation studies to understand and monitor consumers’ relationships with brands and help our clients better segment their propositions to the market, addressing the most relevant targets.
  • The implementation of participatory democracy mechanisms such as citizens’ conferences, which are proving to be a topical tool for recreating links between decision-makers/experts/citizens/consumers.

#internationalgrowth

Luxury, Beauty, Wellbeing: the international development axis

From its offices in Paris, Shanghai, Hong Kong and New York, IFOP brings together a community of 80 employees specialising in the challenges facing brands in the luxury, beauty and wellbeing sectors.

The development strategy is global.

  • Tailor-made answers and a multi-expertise team to address the following topics: trends & prospective/image & communication/consumer understanding/innovation/retail,
  • Dedicated “key account” representatives for our main clients,
  • Proven expertise in interrogating Affluent targets,
  • A perfect knowledge of local specificities,
  • Selected partners in the main areas of the world to complement our expertise,

“This development model makes us unique in the research market and provides our clients with exemplary know-how in conducting research experiences adapted to the worlds and targets of Luxury, Beauty and Well-being.” Stéphane Truchi, IFOP Group CEO.

#powerfulbrand

A powerful brand

IFOP is a heritage brand that has been passed down through the generations with strength and resilience, and has gradually developed into an international reference.

Today, the power of the brand remains intact. It is growing. It is now referred to as the IFOP Group, thus linking current and future acquisitions. Isabelle Grange* has been appointed Group Marketing & Development Director to support the Group’s ambitions and help develop its entities and subsidiaries. Its mission is to enrich and deploy the IFOP experience with employees, clients and the media.

In conclusion, “I am very proud to start the year 2022 with many growth and transformation projects, which will enrich our proposition, and bring new creative and innovative solutions to our customers. I look forward to sharing them with you throughout the year.”  Stéphane Truchi, IFOP Group CEO.

Discover the 5 nominations :

  • Frédéric Dabi, DGM – Head of Ifop Opinion (the portrait)
  • Roland Peyraube, Administrative and Financial Director (the portrait)
  • Stephanie Sandler, President of IFOP Inc. North America (the portrait)
  • Ilana Dupeyron, Head of IFOP IQ – Inspiring Qual (the portrait)
  • Isabelle Grange, Marketing and Development Director (the portrait)

[CORPORATE NEWS] Ifop further reinforces its international presence by opening Ifop Inc. in New York

IFOP has taken a decisive step towards bolstering its international presence in the Luxury, Beauty and Wellness sectors. Opening this 3rd hub enables IFOP to reach out to a market that is of strategic importance for all stakeholders in these industries.

 

Stéphane Truchi, Chairman of the Executive Board of IFOP,
Opening this new hub bears witness to IFOP’s growth strategy and positive dynamics. It will reinforce our position in the Luxury, Beauty and Wellness sectors in the USA – the biggest market worldwide. Furthermore, it will enable us to ascertain that we provide our clients with comprehensive coverage of their key markets: North America, Europe and Asia.
I am also delighted to welcome Stéphanie Sandler who has been appointed President of IFOP Inc. Stephanie will be a vital asset for our group thanks to her local and international experience and her in-depth understanding of brand and communication strategies acquired at CHANEL and RICHEMONT in New York and Paris”.

 

Stéphanie Sandler President of IFOP Inc.,
IFOP is the preeminent leader for luxury and beauty research particularly in Europe. It represents the “haute couture” of market research as each project is completely customized in terms of study design and hands-on when it comes to customer service. I am thus delighted to have been entrusted with the responsibility of bringing this savoir faire to North America with my perspective and experience from the client side, having worked at large Luxury Maisons”.

 

About IFOP
For 80 years, IFOP has been the industry benchmark for opinion polls and market research. Its approach is based on a combination of sector-based expertise, business know-how, forecasting and international vision. Its activity is structured around its historical Opinion Department and sectorial marketing expertise. Two brands complete this offer: Sociovision and InCapsulebyIfop. Ifop is a highly reactive company that fosters close relationships with its clients. It operates in some fifty countries from offices in Paris, Shanghai, Hong Kong and New York. To create ever-greater value for its clients, IFOP has identified a guiding principle for its current and future growth: Move To Data Living.

 

Learn more > Stéphanie Sandler is appointed President of IFOP Inc, North America.

 

Contact Presse IFOP
communication.site@ifop.com

 

[CORPORATE NEWS] Ifop opens its New York office, presided over by Stephanie Sandler

Stéphanie Sandler is appointed President of IFOP Inc, North America. She will be responsible for developing IFOP’s activities on the North American Luxury, Beauty and Wellness markets.

 

Stéphane Truchi, Chairman of the Executive Board of IFOP, announced the nomination of Stéphanie Sandler as President of IFOP INC. NORTH AMERICA: “Opening the IFOP Inc. North America office is of strategic importance for the international development of the IFOP group. We are delighted to be joined by Stéphanie Sandler who will help reinforce IFOP’s expertise in the Luxury, Beauty and Wellness sectors in North America. Her background and experience working for worldwide Luxury groups such as Chanel and Richemont are vital assets for the American market – the largest luxury market in the world”.

 

Stéphanie Sandler, President at IFOP Inc. : “The mission I have been entrusted with is an opportunity to draw upon my marketing and communications experience acquired in large luxury groups and provide concierge level customer service. My expertise in the sectors of luxury and beauty from both a research and business perspective will be the ideal combination to deliver actionable insights for our clients. The dream when I was a client myself!”

 

Stéphanie Sandler was Head of CHANEL’s Consumer & Market Insights department in the US, then spent her career in various marketing roles in both the US and Paris, and for the past three years she has been the Head of Marketing & Communications at PIAGET, RICHEMONT group for North America. Her vision of personalized and dedicated client services and the importance she places on creating valuable strategic recommendations will be a vital asset to Ifop Inc. North America.

 

About IFOP

For 80 years, IFOP has been the industry benchmark for opinion polls and market research. Its approach is based on a combination of sector-based expertise, business know-how, forecasting and international vision. Its activity is structured around its historical Opinion Department and sectorial marketing expertise. Two brands complete this offer: Sociovision and InCapsulebyIfop. Ifop is a highly reactive company that fosters close relationships with its clients. It operates in some fifty countries from offices in Paris, Shanghai, Hong Kong and New York. To create ever-greater value for its clients, IFOP has identified a guiding principle for its current and future growth: Move To Data Living.

 

Learn more > Ifop further reinforces its international presence by opening Ifop Inc in New York

 

IFOP press contact
communication.site@ifop.com

How Covid-19 became a fertile ground for the development of National Brand preference

Across countries, one of the effects of the Covid-19 crisis was to reinforce protectionism and nationalist sentiment. That was the case in China too, probably even more than anywhere else, but in a slightly different way, as the government played a significant role.

 

To help local brands through these trying times, the Chinese government has taken measures in various fields. One of these measures was the new features of China Brand Day (中国品牌日), rolled out online on May 10th 2020. China Brand Day was designed to encourage domestic brands’ “brand building” in all sectors, with a view to accelerate the transition from ‘Made in China’ to ‘Created in China’, from ‘China speed’ to ‘China Quality’, and from ‘Chinese product’ to ‘Chinese Brand’.

 

How did it translate into concrete actions?

  • Massive promotion of Chinese brands’ stories on mainstream media. Over 1,300 national brands participated in the China Brand Day Online Expo this year.
  • The launch of Chinese National Brand Expos in several provinces, where brands from sectors ranging from manufacturing and services to culture or technology, gathered to demonstrate their history and innovation power, and present new products and services.
  • The international forum of China Brand Development, where discussions were held about future policies aimed at further accelerating the development of Chinese brands and changing their image.

 

This year, CCTV participated in the Reinvigorating China Through National Brands project (品牌强国工程) via a variety of promotion events.

  • Over 30 national brands went on Yang Shi Ping (a 5g video app, developed by CCTV) to promote the new products of domestic brands such as Lenovo, Hisense, Wanda or Ping An insurance.

 

  • Austin Li (Li Jia Qi) teamed up with famous CCTV host, Zhu Guang Quan, for a livestreaming on the night of Chinese Brand Day (May 10th). They hosted an online sales event for a variety of quality national products and promoted domestic brands. One example of very positive outcome was Mercury home textile’s sales result of 3.3 million yuan following the livestreaming session.

 

These government initiatives definitely play a significant role in influencing Chinese consumers purchase behaviors.

 

The National brand preference trend is present across sectors such as technology (Xiaomi, Huawei), home appliances (Gree, Haier), food & beverages (Yan Qi Sen Lin, Mengniu) or Sport & Outdoor (Li-ning, Anta).

 

It is also accelerating in the beauty sector, especially in the mass and masstige segments.

 

As a result, a great number of C-beauty brands have been soaring and this trend will definitely continue in 2020 & 2021. Consumer patriotism, an aesthetic shift, and a hyper-digitized retail reality — all of which grew during the COVID-19 pandemic — have made conditions favorable for C-beauty brands over the long term.

 

Tmall has launched its spring thunder initiative, starting with the goal of helping 1,000 emerging beauty brands achieve over RMB10 million ($1.41 million) each in annual sales in the coming year.

 

In the last June 18 Shopping Festival, 4 out of top 10 best-selling beauty brands were C-beauty brands, including Perfect Diary, HomeFacial Pro, Winona and Huaxizi (source: Tmall sales data).

 

On China Brand Day, Li Jiaqi, one of the Top KOLs, has named 23 quality C-beauty brands in his livestreaming. Bouncy Red Ginseng Essence Beauty Cream, newly launched by Marie Dalgar, was the only base makeup product in the selection. The ‘bun’-like design of its applicator generated hot discussion on social media.

 

 

Consumers’ interest in C-beauty brands specializing in Chinese herbal ingredients was triggered due to the heavier usage of Chinese herbal formulas during the pandemic. For example, Inoherb recently launched its new premium line “Inoherb Tang”, which brings back the power of an ancient formula through modern technology. The main claim is that the amount of Chinese herb ingredients in the products reaches 60%.

 

 

This is a new challenge for accessible foreign Beauty brands that will have to adapt, and find a way to display a deeper commitment to, and understanding of, Chinese culture.

Livestreaming during the coronavirus crisis accelerated the transformation of many sectors

In the past 10 years, the combination of State policies towards high-tech investment, buoyant startup scene and unique consumer appetite for new technologies has lead China to become a world leader in daily use of digital solutions. The Covid19 crisis further accelerated digitalization in a number of in sectors and it may be indicative of what will happen in Western countries in a next stage too.

 

More specifically, boosted by the lockdown and the need to find new ways of doing business with consumers, a number of sectors turned to livestreaming e-commerce, a new form of retail which was already well developed in the beauty and personal care field and really took-off in other sectors thanks to the specific benefits offered in such a crisis situation.

 

Healthcare is a sector that was obviously under enormous pressure during the pandemic. While online consultations and digital scheduling of appointments were already becoming commonplace in China, the coronavirus outbreak has seen a sharp rise in the use of digital platforms and an explosion of online doctor consultations. JD Health, one of the leading providers of such services, has seen its online daily consultations jump from 10,000 in January to 150,000 in March. Baidu Health, another leading healthcare platform, now has over 100,000 doctors from across China offering online consultations around the clock. The platform was made accessible free of charge to those with pneumonia symptoms during the pandemic and had handled over 55 million enquiries by the end of April. While the virus started to spread across the world after the China wave, several Chinese platforms started offering free online coronavirus consultations in English to people abroad. A good way to develop their client base to prepare a global expansion while also sending a message about China’s willingness to contribute to fighting the consequences of the pandemic abroad.

 

Also during the coronavirus crisis, the city of Shanghai launched 11 internet hospitals affiliated to offline public hospitals. An interesting sign that the handling of patients is on its way to becoming a combination of online and offline approaches.

 

In the field of retail fashion, live-streaming was a way to make up for the closure of stores during the pandemic. Labelhood is a platform for emerging fashion designers in China which has a boutique in Beijing and another one in the Shanghai French concession. While these brick and mortar locations remained closed during several weeks founder Tasha Liu launched a WeChat store so that people could shop through the app, and started offering life-streaming in order to show potential clients new arrivals from designers’ collections. In addition, WeChat video calls were offered as a way to develop a bespoke one-on-one approach with customers, one that is very suitable to the tailored, personal dimension of designer brands’ business. The Covid 19 crisis has been an accelerator in embracing digital, one that has pushed retailers and brands to adopt a new way to talk to customers, created a new type of personalized connection… without the unique “offline” benefit of being able to touch fabrics though. It also provided boutiques with access to consumers well beyond the city, spreading business opportunities across new geographies and population segments, enlarging their client base at a the very time it was threatened to shrink dramatically.

 

 

Live-streaming also helped farmers* across the country survive the pandemic by completely transforming their business model. Last February the nationwide lockdown left growers of flowers, fruits and vegetables with no logistics and therefore no access for their products to stores and markets. A number of these producers, who had traditionally had no contact with end clients, started using live-streaming to reach consumers. With just a mobile phone they could broadcast directly from their farm, tour their facilities, show-off products and answer questions from potential buyers. On the other side of the country, in urban areas, consumers stuck at home were eager to shop online. Live-streaming, combined with the shipping services of e-commerce giants JD.com and Alibaba, helped the two ends meet and completely redesign the market. Consumers could receive at their doors products that were no longer available in stores, and farmers benefited from a new stream of revenue. On Taobao Rural Livestreaming, one of the main platforms for that type of broadcasting, about 2000 rural participants now generate a monthly income of over RMB 10,000 i.e eight times the rural average. By connecting producers directly to consumers, live-streaming has changed the way business is done, created a new bond between producers and consumers, and has been a catalyst for local development.

 

 

pineapple-livestreaming

 

 

Beyond these examples of how digital is changing business in a broad range of sectors, the development of 5G will soon generate new opportunities and changes as it will promote even more interactive content and seamless e-commerce features via a dramatic increase in internet speeds. As China is already more advanced in this field than most Western countries, global brands will have to quickly grasp the new interactive features of the China market to stay relevant in the years to come.

 

*this section is based on an article published by MIT Technology Review on May 6, 2020 “Live-streaming helped China’s farmers survive the pademic. It’s here to stay”.

 

 

IN THE SAME SERIES:

How Covid-19 became a fertile ground for the development of National Brand preference

Influence marketing blends the lines of human and digital

Influence marketing has been very developed in China for years and KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) are an important part of most brand strategies in this market. Famous influencers such as Austin Li or Viya in the field of Beauty draw millions of followers on Weibo, WeChat or XiaoHongShu and generate sales in millions of dollars at every online event they participate. A number of KOLs have developed their own brand, leveraging their awareness and influencial power to their own benefit.

 

Micro-KOLs are lower-tier influencers with smaller followings who also play an important role in the Chinese marketing ecosystem as they are able to create a closer bond with followers, who are in turn more likely to trust and act on their recommendations and endorsements.

 

The Covid crisis and related lockdown period has pushed further consumers’ digital behavior and accelerated the development of new forms of influence:

 

KOCs (Key Opinion Consumers) are real buyers of products who share their opinions and recommendations with their social circles. A growing number of brands try to capitalize on them to develop reputation and sales via “private traffic” i.e private discussions taking place in closed social environments such as WeChat groups (quite similar to Whatsapp groups) or discussions on social e-commerce platform Xiao Hong Shu, 小红书 where consumers exchange tips on buying foreign goods. Beauty brand Perfect Diary has been able to disrupt the China market and rise among its leaders by leveraging KOCs to target older millennials and generation Z consumers and disseminate news and promotions through their own private channels.

 

Examples of consumers posts about Perfect diary :

 

 

Also the recent heath crisis and weeks of closed stores have been an opportunity to blend further the offline and online retail experience and influence. Key Opinion Sales Associates are spreading. These are traditional sales staff working in stores who also sell online, through social networks, products from the brand they work for. They represent a sort of new channel providing brands with swift, continuous, personal communication with clients. Louis Vuitton for example built a fully omnichannel platform which relies on sales associates to communicate with clients on WeChat to amplify and monetize marketing initiatives.

 

Longchamp is another example detailed below:

 

The first 2 pictures below show the personal account of a sales associate from a Longchamp store in Shanghai. Her personal account is created under the Longchamp corporate WeChat account (it shows the brand name, sales associate  name and her position). The sales associate sends clients information about new products and discounts, as well as strengthen connection with customers through greetings on holidays or birthdays. The next 2 pictures show the account of the Longchamp store where the sales associate works for, this store account will introduce the products in the store and the discount information. Customers will place their orders via the sales associate. So the whole sales process is digital and it has a human and very personalized dimension through the intervention of the sales associate.

 

 

 

 

 

Lately VOLs (Virtual Opinion Leaders) have started to emerge. Originally a product of the ACG culture (Anime, Comic and Games) in China there is a trends towards virtual idols now having the very appearance of real persons.

 

These Virtual Opinion Leaders are non-human, digital art characters created through computer generated imagery (CGI) and artificial intelligence. Brands may find it effective to work with a virtual influencer as they can reach and leverage very targeted, connected and engaged audiences. The first Chinese VOL with human features was released in May 2020. She is already very active on Weibo and has been seen wearing Chloé and Vogue.

 

 

 

Also, M.A.C cosmetics launched a “Honor of Kings” (a MOBA game by Tencent) make up line endorsed by the virtual boys band Wu Xian Wang Zhe, 无限王者团 composed of  5 characters in the game. The new collection includes lipsticks, eyeshadow palettes and pro-palettes presented in colors associated to individual members of this virtual band.

 

 

 

 

All in all, the current period accelerates the blending of digital and human, personalized influence. It provides brands with new opportunities and challenges to embark consumers on a new journey to discover and interact with their latest offers. This is well illustrated in the latest Dior ad which blurs the lines between human, virtual and anime worlds: in this video, anime KOL Xue Fei Nova morphs successively into different forms of identities to tell a story about the brand and connect with young consumers.

 

 

 

IN THE SAME SERIES :

Livestreaming during the coronavirus crisis accelerated the transformation of many sectors

Safe & Clean: a Key Driver In Consumer Goods

Consumer always trade-off between several criteria when choosing a product. Beyond habits, brand or product availability, several dimensions are taken into account, consciously or unconsciously. In food for instance, taste, format, meal destination, origin, ingredients, price or value for money matter. In cosmetics, efficacy, sensoriality/pleasure, convenience and value for money will all play a role in choosing a product. And across all consumer goods categories, safety plays a significant role.

 

The quest for safe products has been on the rise worldwide for a couple of years and, even more so in China, due to safety issues that occurred in the past years in several industries (e.g., the milk formula scandal, concerns around fresh food quality, fake personal & skin care products, etc.)

 

The Covid19 crisis definitely accelerates the need for reassurance on safety across categories. However, for consumer goods, safety (安全) that literally translates as harmless (“no harm to health & wellbeing”) is a broad concept. It can be associated in consumers’ minds to a wide range of aspects, such as product composition (clean ingredients, no/limited number of additives such as preservatives or artificial flavoring, but also naturalness, with or without organic certification), product origin, manufacturing practices, packaging (basic hygiene and safety, of course, but also more sophisticated expressions of safety such as the trend for touchless products), certifications or seals, shelf-life. To name but a few.

 

Giants in different sectors have already laid out plans in response to growing safety concerns.  2 examples in the food & cosmetics industries:

 

 

  • Consumers’ interest in “plant-based” meat is predicted to increase in China. In China, the Covid-19 has been associated with ‘animal mismanagement’ and concerns about meat safety have increased during this period. Veggie products have developed quickly since the beginning of the year.

 

 

HeyTea partners with startup Starfield to launch Veggie burger

 

 

 

  • In cosmetics, clean beauty brands are developing quickly. Drunk Elephant (acquired by Shiseido at the end of 2019), though still an emerging brand in China, has recently gained awareness. The communication of Drunk Elephant by KOLs & KOCs on social media like Red or Weibo focuses on ‘clean’ skincare formulae without the so-called ‘Suspicious 6’ (essential oils, silicones, chemical sunscreens, SLS, fragrance and dyes, and drying alcohols), which may cause harm to the skin.

 

 

Even though safety is confirmed to be a key purchase driver for many products, today and tomorrow, reassuring on safety will not be enough to convince and build loyalty among Chinese consumers, who are looking for a mix of safety reassurance and positive inside benefit.

 

Brands will have to be both rational & pragmatic on this dimension, while at the same time creative, daring and emotional, to stand out in an atomized market.

 

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Influence marketing blends the lines of human and digital

The multiple facets of Wellness & Wellbeing in China

The Covid19 pandemic has definitely reinforced the conscious need for Wellness & Wellbeing all around the world, and even more so in China.  The recent events have modified the Wellness concept both in its nature and in its range of applications. Lifestyle, beauty, sport, food, home furniture, technical appliances – all are concerned by these changes.

 

  1. Wellness through the quest of a new home atmosphere, or the evolution of the ‘Zhai’ culture

Chinese people are clearly eager to invest more time, money and efforts in building a comfortable, happy, pampering & smart home. The pandemic has further accelerated the quest and usage of intelligent appliances, new cozy home furniture, smart health products, interior design pieces, ambiance fragrances, etc.

 

 

 

The TMall Live Chic campaign, “The chic-ability of your home” encouraged young people to share their chic interior design to showcase their taste and imagination, as well as the lifestyle they pursue.

 

 

  1. Physical & Mental Wellness Through Fitness

The Covid-19 pandemic has boosted the fitness trend in many major cities. The use of fitness apps has soared during confinement and is projected to continue doing so in the mid-term.

 

 

 

The number of users of the ‘Keep’ training app has significantly increased in the past 6 months. It now registers over 200 million users and 3.6 billion user exercise data entries.

 

 

 

 

During the lockdown, NIKE has launched a breakthrough channel dedicated to “Exercising without leaving your home”. By collaborating with Tencent Kandian Live Streaming, Nike launched weekly live training courses via Kandian Live Streaming mimi program on WeChat. Users can enjoy the interactive experience of a professional fitness guidance at home, turning their living room into a gym.

 

 

 

 

  1. Wellness through Pampering and Taking Care of Oneself

Although still quite new to China, the self-care concept is certain to evolve further post-Covid. The anxiety triggered by the pandemic remains high 3 months after the end of lockdown and has fostered the need for self-pampering and little treats, in order to escape from a troubled daily life.

 

Social isolation caused by quarantine created loneliness and stress. Caring for one’s skin became a physically and mentally healing moment that made people feel self-love. Consumption of facial cleansing products, facial masks, toners and lotions soared. Among these, the use of facial masks has increased the most, reaching +12%. (Research data by CBNData)

 

“Put down your phone and get to know yourself” is also an emerging trend boosted by lockdown. Creativity has been on the rise, as a potent stress-reliever. 

 

 During self-quarantine I spent quite some time at home mending old things or finding new uses for them. Used clothes became a washing machine cover; glass bottles were turned into wind-bells. I enjoyed the process of “creating things”, because it gave me a pleasure and a sense of accomplishment that I cannot get from the virtual world. I can truly feel myself in this real world.” – male, 32, Shangdong province.

 

  1. Wellness For the Skin, Through Healthier Diet

The pandemic has reinforced the link between nutrition & health, and between skin health and nutrition. What has changed is that ‘food that is good for health’ is getting more integrated in Chinese eating habits.

 

Searches on keywords such as “immunity, nutrition and health, coarse grains” have increased significantly. Healthy and functional snacks is gradually becoming a hot consumption trend among young people.

 

 

 

The newly launched “collagen peptide dry fruit” snack is BESTORE’s (良品铺子,Liang Pin Pu Zi – a well-known high-end snacks brand in China) first attempt to enhance nutritional elements of snack. Collagen peptides, being relatively small molecules, are easier to digest and absorb, and have beauty-enhancing benefits.

 

 

  1. Wellness Through a Better Balance Between Professional Success & Immediate Happiness

In China as elsewhere, quarantine was an opportunity for many to take a step back and really think about the meaning of life and work. More and more people started considering finding meaning and fulfilment elsewhere than in their job. As working ‘like a robot’ became less appealing, many started to wish they could create something different.

 

“Youth Losers’ farm” in Chong Ming Island (part of Shanghai) is a group of young Chinese citizens which left big cities to set up a farm. They learned agricultural methods and live on the product of their crops. Since the end of the lockdown, some of them have decided to live a “half farmer, half X” life, and some of them plan to definitely leave the city behind and stay on the farm for several years.

 

 

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Safe & Clean: a Key Driver In Consumer Goods

Being vogue in a sustainable way

Studies show that Chinese people are among the most concerned worldwide about the environment. They are particularly worried about pollution and its impact on health. And they want to play a role, have a positive impact through consumption.

 

The covid19 epidemic motivated young Chinese people to further think about the relationship between human and nature, and explore more possibilities of a sustainable life. It brought change to what they use & eat and to how they live. When it comes to fashion, they no longer want to choose between a responsible behavior and a joyful and stylish attitude: more and more young people look to being vogue in a sustainable way.

 

Bottloop (抱朴再生)is a fashion brand from Beijing who addresses these expectations. It combines a modern lifestyle with fashion pieces that are all made of recycled products, using plastic bottles and organic fabrics to manufacture trendy, urban clothes. Beyond materials, the brand blends fashion and sustainability by joint design, art exhibitions and public benefits activities. It has developed collaborations with artists as well as famous brands such as Mercedes and Mars Wringley. In April 2020, Bottloop invited 10 well-known graffiti artists to design eco-friendly, colorful raincoats based on the stories and memories of the epidemic. They were exhibited and launched as a new line of products at K11 Shanghai.

 

A number of other initiatives such as the collaboration between Nike and Reclothing Bank, a Chinese independent designer brand focused on upcycling old garments and “letting fashion be reborn”, are combining a sustainable approach with high creativity.

 

The covid crisis has accelerated this blending of fashion with sustainability. It has pushed consumers to further expect that brands take a stand, express values, and implement concrete actions in real life in addition to demonstrating inspiration. It has also shown that the pandemic period, now a common heritage to all consumers, is a material that brands can leverage if they are willing to give it a positive, creative tone.

 

If you are interested in the China market, contact us.

 

 

 

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The multiple facets of Wellness & Wellbeing in China