Though it may seem like fall has just arrived, marketers know it’s not too early to be thinking about Christmas and New Year campaigns. But if your business caters to Chinese clientele – or wants to deepen its connection with this audience – you should also be thinking about Chinese New Year, which begins February 12. While Chinese New Year itself is not commonly a time to spend money, the month leading up to it is traditionally seen as a time to make purchases and complete important tasks to welcome the New Year.

Welcoming the Year of the Ox

Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is the most important celebration for Chinese people locally and abroad. Celebrations typically start on the evening before the new moon, and end on the evening of the full moon 15 days later. Each lunar year is related to one of 12 zodiac animals and 2021 will be the Year of the Metal Ox.

Celebrating with Your Customers

Running Chinese New Year promotions or campaigns is a great way to connect with your target audience. But it’s important to do it in a way that is culturally sensitive and isn’t just about selling products.

Typically we would suggest an “online to offline” promotion (O2O) inviting people to a Chinese New Year celebration at your location. However, with COVID-19 social distancing requirements likely to remain in effect this fall and winter, we suggest focusing on digital tools and online engagements. Here are some ideas:

  • WeChat: The social media app WeChat is very popular among Chinese locals in British Columbia who prefer it to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Giving red envelopes (hong bao) is a well-known tradition at Chinese New Year, but did you know you can do it digitally on WeChat? Gifting discounts or other incentives will be a big hit with your Chinese customers. You can also run WeChat Moments ads or create an enticing H5 game. Be sure to have Chinese customer service available (also on WeChat!) to respond to any questions or requests that may come in.
  • Webinars: Webinars can be a good way to showcase your products or build rapport. Make sure that you hold your event before Chinese New Year – people will be more inclined to make a purchase. Budget for webinar promotions and prizes, make sure you leave enough time ahead of your event to promote it, and don’t forget to follow up after the session.
  • In-store Events: In 2021 it’s unlikely you’ll be able to host large gatherings due to COVID-19. Instead, focus on VIP events – or encourage people to set up private appointments and focus on the personalized customer service you’ll provide. Promote these on WeChat, and also consider a Chinese media buy. 

Key Takeways

Now that you have some ideas on how to incorporate Chinese New Year into your marketing plan, we just have one cautionary note. When working with diverse audiences, it’s important to understand the history and culture of any holiday you choose and leverage it carefully and sensitively. A nuanced cultural marketing strategy ensures you can build strong, long-term relationships that will benefit your dealership and your brand. Contact us and our Chinese marketing team would be pleased to brainstorm with you on the best approaches to reach your goals.