One of the leading international pharmaceutical companies was looking for an innovative value proposition (and based on which product/portfolio innovation) for VMS (vitamins and minerals supplements) in China. They wanted to ‘redefine’ the category with new meanings of health solutions.
We ‘looked deep’ by investigating into the changing meanings of body and health (the purpose, the state, and the approach to health), as well as the social and cultural drivers of the changes. We ‘looked broad’ into not only the category of VMS, but also all categories of health self-management/self-enhancement. We also ‘looked broad’ into historical movements of health concepts and solutions in other developed market. At the same time, we ‘looked ahead’ through intimate observation into the behaviors of leading-edge consumers.
We identified a mega trend of health values that resonates with mainstream consumers in values and manifesting in leading-edge consumers in behaviors. The emerging health care idea, in a nutshell, is about being attentive to body, and connecting the experience of body with the richness and fulfillment of spirit. Around this idea, we’ve identified opportunities for how this need can be satisfied through product and service.
The insights were not only used for building up the brand value proposition, but also used for product concept generation. After the report presentation, we were invited to present the insights again to the ideation workshop amongst the executive team of the client. The presentation was acknowledged as ‘one of the best’ by the client.
THIS CASE IS AN EXAMPLE OF OUR CATEGORY INNOVATION SERVICE
Insights to unlock new demand ahead of the curve
Look at your market through the cultural perspective.
We analyze the core tensions and macro forces shaping Chinese culture around your category, and identify major trends influencing media, market offerings, and the lifestyles of leading-edge customers. Then we reframe your category orthodoxy in the perspective of emerging trends, identifying growing areas of tension that are opportunities for brand disruption.
An American automotive company was building a long-term activation platform to communicate the key messages of ‘progressiveness’ and ‘premium-ness’, targeting mid-market China car consumers aged 25–40 yrs. The client wants to connect with their consumers ‘deeper’–by building around the target consumer’s core tensions.
China Youthology has conducted literature review, media analysis, expert interview and ethnographic research to identify blue oceans for the meanings of ‘progressiveness’ and ‘premium-ness’, as well as instruct what cultural expression (incl. celebrities, lifestyle experience, culture experience, etc.) can be meaningful and relevant to the target consumers.
We provided insights into the identity tension of the new middle class in China. The young middle class have strong desires to set themselves apart from the traditional affluent. The target consumer is not born wealthy; and they would reject ‘get rich quick’ schemes that involve corruption or unfair/ evil business practices.
The identity tension is strongly manifested in the auto category, thus point to a great opportunity for client. Though some young middle class bought entry-level Audi and BMW, they don’t identify with the brand. ‘I feel Audi is for those government officials, and BMW the quick-monied. I bought a BMW because I trust the quality. But it’s a pity I don’t want to identify myself with the image of a BMW user.’
We identified cultural blue oceans of meanings for ‘progressiveness’ and ‘premium-ness’ in this category. We delivered media rich with cultural expressions gathered throughout the research to inspire the client’s final message & improve accurate delivery.
In the end our insights were used not only to instruct the design of campaign platform; the client has decided to re-identify the value proposition of the campaign platform based on the insights.
THIS CASE IS AN EXAMPLE OF OUR MARKETING STRATEGY SERVICE
KEY CAMPAIGN MESSAGE: Touch the hearts and minds of Chinese youth with messages that resonate with their real life tensions.
We will understand what are the core tensions your target segment is facing today, and connect your message to resonate with one of their tensions.
We explore the cultural meaning of brands and products to Chinese youth, and trace how category decisions relate to life tensions and values. We identify potential ‘culture share’ for your brand by finding the common ground between unmet needs, cultural tensions, and brand values. We give you an emotional connection through vivid stories that show how you can make a difference in the lives of youth.
KEY MESSAGE EXPRESSION: Cut through to Chinese youth with messages that use youth's own secret languages.
We help you develop the right youth language by using natural youth expressions in your own campaign so that your message resonates and you're not seen as 'faking it' nor unintelligible.
From the identification of your core message, we explore and collect the existing stories, and cultural assets (videos, images, memes, slang, personalities, places, myths, etc.) that are related to your core message and already exist within youth culture.
Then, through connecting your brand objectives and your brand role in youth's community, we develop the most appropriate and creative ways for your brand to use elements from these cultural assets in your own communications.
One of the world's pioneering e-commerce platforms was re-introducing its e- commerce platform in China in partnership with a local e-commerce site. Their first focus was apparel, and they wanted to know what stylish Chinese youth want from an online retailer of global apparel products. They needed clear actionable implications for their platform, but also insights to anchor their brand promise in relevant aspects of Chinese style culture.
Conducting focus groups and online research into competitive platforms, we identified the major driver for Chinese youth to shop for global apparel online: to be special and uniquely themselves, but also safely in line with global standards and peer acceptance.
Based on this core understanding of customer motivation, we tracked the e- shopping experience from brand and product awareness, all the way through delivery and repeat visits. We provided insight into influence networks, communication channels, interface design, platform features, product and brand offering, packaging and delivery. In each domain, we explained what actions must be taken to provide the balance of special and safe that customers desire.
In the end our insights were used to brief the platform designers, and also design promotional campaigns for the client's new China e-commerce platform.
THIS CASE IS AN EXAMPLE OF OUR PRODUCT & SERVICE INNOVATION SERVICE
Tackle design challenges starting from the core values and context that influence behavior. From observing the life habit and context of the consumer, we help you understand not just what your product does for the consumer, but what your product means for the consumer.
We explore how Chinese youth interact with products and services, and gather holistic data about the product journey, depicting functional needs and barriers, vivid usage context, and core motivations based on cultural tensions.
With rich visual and verbal data, we go beyond literal interpretations of youth feedback and find the principles and cultural themes that drive the meaning of your product.
These meaning opportunities then inform and inspire clear design implications.
A popular international packaged cookie brand had enjoyed steady growth and positive response to their advertising. Based on this strong market position, the client asked its advertising agency to take a bolder direction with their communications in order to create a more provocative and culturally- relevant youth brand.
The agency identified an attitudinal profile to target, and created several positioning statements around their key tensions. But the client felt the directions were complicated, and not quite achieving the emotional and cultural resonance they were looking for.
The agency came to China Youthology to figure out: How can we better understand the story of our segment? What are the key tensions and unmet emotional needs of our segment? What satisfaction can this cookie brand connect with?
We took the packaged cookie brand's product benefit of quirky-shaped and multi- textured cookies that create a more satisfying bite, and drew a parallel to the current values shift among young Chinese to celebrate their imperfections, as a way to laugh off the pressure of unrealistic expectations.
Our deliverable told the story of the current values shift with supporting stories from popular culture and online culture, and also provided relevant media examples that express this shift to guide the creative team.
The cookie brand bought into the new strategic territory enthusiastically, the agency gained the alignment and youth relevance they wanted, and the entire process went from proposal to wrap within one week.
THIS CASE IS AN EXAMPLE OF OUR STRATEGY QUICK CHECK CONSULTING SERVICE
Aligning marketing strategies and value propositions with youth culture trends
We will review your work and offer quick advice, recommendations, and feedback based on our deep understanding of youth and our ability to quick-reference relevant parts of youth culture. We review the cultural drivers that resonate with youth to give you affirmation and/or areas of improvement for your work.
We identify the ‘market myth’ most relevant to your segment, and outline your potential territory playing a part in that story. We support our claims with rich examples drawn from online research to establish credibility and inspire creatives. And we do it fast to match agency timelines.
One of the top global beverage brands was launching a music campaign to target Chinese youth and communicate its new brand manifesto. We helped them conduct research as a foundation for concept development, however the client encountered barriers moving from insight to action with their agencies, and came to us to facilitate an ideation workshop to co- create ideas for the 2012 campaign.
We invited youth opinion leaders from different youth culture tribes relevant to the campaign to team up with the brand team and agency teams. Through a series of creative exercises, we internalized the meaning of the campaign to the stakeholders, and created a framework to link music tools, brand values, and youth tensions to ensure we had workable ideas that create value. After several initial big ideas were on the table, we mediated a conversation between youth and brand participants on the details of the campaign, quickly identifying where the campaign created value on both sides, and iterating the concept until everybody was excited.
The global beverage brand was thrilled with the workshop output, and enjoyed the process and project design. They loved being able to select an idea brand and youth like, with rounds of discussion to improve and align both of their interests.
THIS CASE IS AN EXAMPLE OF OUR CO-CREATION WORKSHOP SERVICE
Power up the right brain for creative problem- solving
We organize participatory events that bring together stakeholders to immerse in Chinese youth insights and conduct Youthology- led brainstorming sessions on how to tackle your business challenge. We use a diverge/ converge framework and ideation games so the whole experience is effective and fun. This process is used to propel your team to identify, ideate and co-create the next tangible action steps and 'big ideas' for your brand.
A global alcohol brand understands that their competitive edge depends on their own staff having more exposure to youth culture, spending more time thinking about the youth consumer, and understanding their needs more clearly.
China Youthology devised a long-term on-going immersion program that ensured alcohol brand's staff were continuously participating in youth culture while being driven to actively think about new opportunities for the brand in youth's lives.
China Youthology and the client rolled out a 4-month program where each brand's staff would participate in a minimum of two China Youthology youth events. China Youthology designed immersion kits to help guide the participants and equip them with the right questions and perspectives to derive observations and insights from the immersion experiences. China Youthology then led quick debrief sessions for the participants at the closure of each youth event.
At the end of the 4 month period, China Youthology collected all the worksheets, observations, and insights from the brand participants and used the brand's own observation and learning to conduct a creative workshop of analysis, exploration, ideation and insight generation.
Over four months brand's staff built a habit and affinity as youth culture participants, and came out with a personal, intimate understanding of their target consumer. They also concluded this immersion with deep new insights that the team could align with and drive them forward in their next strategic directions.
THIS CASE IS AN EXAMPLE OF OUR IMMERSION PROGRAM SERVICE
Fresh Youth stories to inspire brand ideas
Tap into the eyes and ears of the youth insiders.
We collect, curate, and identify all the youth stories and developments that are 'Must Knows' for you and your brand.
Ensure you don't miss out on important youth culture developments, and have confidence to know your brand is keeping up to date.
Have your team be constantly thinking about and accurately planning for the most critical stakeholder - your end consumer.FOR MORE ON OUR SERVICES, CLICK HERE >>