Influencer Marketing in China
Identify case studies of successful influencer marketing campaigns in China with a focus on how creator studios and influencer incubators work. The information will be used to determine how this marketing tactic has developed in China.
INFLUENCER INCUBATOR CASE STUDY
- Zhang “BB” Xi is a Gen Y influencer in China with around 300,000 followers in all her social media accounts.
- She posts beauty vlogs and tutorials on these platforms.
- Even if she has many fans in her social media accounts, she was not able to make a dent yet in the highly-competitive influencer industry.
- Still, her legions of fans attracted talent scouts from one of the country's biggest "key opinion leader (KOL)," Ruhnn Holding.
- Ruhnn Holding is considered as an influencer management firm or an influencer incubator.
- The firm's scouts go through various social media accounts to look for amateurs with over 5,000 followers who have the potential to scale.
- The company typically evaluates around 800 people on a monthly basis.
- The prospective candidates were then made to take several tests.
- One test require identifying best-selling items from 100 pictures to gauge the potential candidate's marketing clout.
- This is considered as a significant test as these influencers typically build their own e-commerce stores to sell items to their followers.
- The company will also provide a small funding amount to test if many people will signify their interest.
- Ruhnn will typically grant 2,000 yuan or around $279.78 on campaigns to try to bring in 10,000 people to each candidate's social media profiles.
- If these people became followers, the company became more secure in their decision to take the influencer into their fold.
- This ultra-commercialized level of talent search shows the multi-layered strategy of the country's influencer industry.
- It is seen to be a potential business model that can be emulated by social media influencers from other countries.
- Ruhnn typically offers a contract for 5-10 amateur influencers out of the 800 that it evaluates.
- The binding contract will then give the firm sole portrait rights and the privilege to manage the social media platforms and online stores of the influencer.
- The chosen influencers will then collaborate with the company to determine which products to sell.
- In return, the firm will provide a support group and four months of heavy training to the chosen influencer.
- The training will include lessons such as camera presence techniques, types of videos, product-selling, and other relevant topics.
- Based on an assessment from a USC associate professor and author of the Social Media Entertainment book, China's influencer industry "has accelerated far more quickly and provides more lucrative careers for its creators" even if it is still in its early stages compared to Western models.
Proposed next steps:
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Our initial research provided a case study on how influencer incubators and creator studios work in contributing to the success of an influencer. As there are many reports available on this topic, we propose continuing the research to identify 2-3 additional case studies of successful influencer marketing campaigns in China with focus on how influencer incubators and creator studios contribute to the success of an influencer. For each study, we will provide an overview of the campaign and metrics of success.