The primary influential factor in the industry shifted from the brand name towards quality and performance. In China, the press plays a vital role in mass consumer goods, such as automobiles. Thus, the relationship between automotive journalists in China and car manufacturers is crucial. Clement Mougenot, Head of Research at Daxue Consulting explains the situation: “In China, there are specialized magazines and key online websites which have a powerful reach in China, for example, the Website Sohu (搜狐), or the Chinese Auto Magazine (汽车杂志）. It is of particular importance when launching a new car in China to get coverage as a brand as these are the sources through which consumers get to know about your new model, for instance.”
Automobile manufacturers seek to establish best practices with Chinese journalists
Different European car makers, contacted Daxue Consulting to analyze the impression of their press services among automotive journalists in China. The objective of the research was to help manufacturers to adapt their PR strategy to better communicate and deal with local automotive media in China, and finally, increase satisfaction while improving efficiency and reducing costs at the same time.
Daxue Consulting conducted in-depth interviews with 50 automotive journalists in China
As a first step, the research team organized the necessary preparation encompassing, for instance, the creation and translation of the interview guide, the briefing for the interviewers, the arrangement of the needed equipment, or the organization of appointments with the journalists.
The consultants conducted qualitative interviews, and the segmentation of the automotive journalists in China took place according to specialization, such as for instance, regional newspapers, automotive magazine, or television journalists related to the auto industry.
Besides an overall feedback on the market’s trends and comments of the automotive journalists in China on the perception of car manufacturers and common practices, the interviews focused on the press relations as well as the attitude towards the so-called car launch events including the offered surrounding conditions:
- Satisfaction with the manufacturers’ press offices: based on quality and type of contact, communicational and informational strategies, day-to-day relationships with PR services, benchmark of different brands’ events and their model presentation as well as test driving
- Future expectations of journalists: such as how a perfect press service would look like and how the reality looks like with regards to the way of information is offered as well as which information is submitted, or reasons of satisfaction or dissatisfaction concerning each evaluated press office.
Daxue Consulting identified the most suitable PR strategies
After executing the analysis, the research team presented the findings along with collected material (such as press releases), transcripts of the interviews, and digital recordings. The team could provide the client with a comprehensive report about the trends of PR relationships between automotive journalists in China and car manufacturers. By comparing local with foreign brands and segmentations into premium, or luxury brands, for instance, Daxue Consulting could identify best practices and gave recommendations on how to improve the perceptions towards the car manufacturers and how to adapt PR services, strategies, and content accordingly.