Holidays and marketing campaigns. Sometimes they go together like peanut butter and jelly, but other times it can be a disaster. While marketers looking to give their brand greater exposure can take advantage of approaching festivities to become a part of the conversation, it is important to avoid emphasizing the sales of your product or service. Instead, you want to connect with local communities by integrating your brand into the celebrations. Doing so will give you greater brand awareness without coming across as overly pushy or sales-driven.

As Chinese New Year approaches, start thinking about developing a campaign now so you are best prepared when the holiday arrives. Whether you are planning an event, looking for traditional media buying options, or running a social media campaign, here are three approaches to running a successful Chinese New Year campaign:

Offline Strategies

For retailers, in-store events can be a great way to connect with local customers. Hosting a Chinese New Year’s celebration will bring your audience to your location and allows you to show them that you are part of the community. When planning a Chinese New Year’s event, here are a few things to consider:

  • Decorations: Items such as lanterns and posters are quite popular for Chinese New Year. When buying decorations, always look for high-quality items in up-to-date styles. We provided consulting for MCL Motor Cars’ Chinese New Year’s celebration and found great items on the Chinese e-commerce site Taobao.
  • Gifts: Red envelopes are an important part of Chinese New Year and you must make sure that the gift inside is culturally appropriate. Rather than promotional materials, place money or a small item of value inside to make sure your gift is saying what you intended.
  • Timing: When it comes to an offline event, timing is key. Thinking about what you would like your event to look like in advance allows you to have the time and resources available to be successful. Remember that you may need to factor in shipping time when bringing in decorations or gifts because relevant items will be in high demand as Chinese New Year approaches.

Paid Media Strategies

When planning an event, you’ll want to promote it on a wide range of channels. While digital marketing is an essential part of modern-day marketing (more on that below), don’t forget about the power of radio and print advertising. Sourcing popular, local news outlets is a great way of connecting with communities. Two key things to keep in mind are:

  • Brand Awareness: While you may want to promote a specific product or service, you can also use traditional media buying to build overall awareness for your brand. Focus on using holidays to reach out and connect, rather than emphasize direct sales.
  • Budget: Buying advertisements can be expensive, so be strategic when deciding how and where to utilize traditional media outlets. For example, using a red and white colour scheme is more cost effective than full-colour ads, but the colour scheme is still relevant to Chinese New Year festivities.
  • To learn more about using a traditional marketing strategy, check out our case study.

Digital Marketing Strategies

Social media is an essential part of any strong marketing strategy, so it should come as no surprise that your event promotion efforts should be going digital as well.

Pick the right platform: Sure Facebook and Twitter are social media giants in the Western world, but censorship of these platforms in China means that they might not be as effective when running a Chinese New Year campaign. Instead, look into Chinese social media platforms with huge user bases, such as Sina Weibo and WeChat. Working with a Chinese social media marketing specialist will ensure that you enter the right space at the right time with the right message.

Focus on specific campaigns: Centre your promotional efforts on a single theme that you can run as a campaign in the weeks leading up to your event. For Chinese New Year, focusing on a phrase, such as “Wishing you happiness”, encourages sharing amongst followers.

Engage with influencers: Want to expand your brand’s exposure on Chinese social media? Find key influencers with your target audience and reach out to them. When planning for the holidays, use the message from your specific campaign about sharing and well wishes to build goodwill with other users. Working with influencers will help you find new followers and establish trust within the social community.

Don’t forget about SEO: Social search engines play a key part in increasing the reach of your brand and its campaigns. Research the competition for various keywords on the platform and then build your copy around the most effective phrases. You can use unique keywords related to your business to put yourself at the top of the rankings, but you can also take advantage of trending topics, say, perhaps around a holiday like Chinese New Year, to insert yourself into larger dialogues.

Key Takeaways

So, you know that it’s important to integrate Chinese New Year into your seasonal marketing campaigns and now you have a few tips and tricks on how to maximize the leverage of these campaigns, but there’s one last thing to keep in mind: Understand the history and culture of any holiday you choose to use. Don’t just jump on the next cultural bandwagon; make sure that your campaign truly reaches out to the community you want to engage by adapting your content for their needs. Building a campaign around the nuances of a particular holiday or event shows your audience that you genuinely want to make a connection with them. Using a developed cultural marketing strategy ensures that you successfully form these relationships and build strong, long-term relationships.