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Daxue Talks Transcript #62: How are brands adapting to the coronavirus outbreak on Xiaohongshu?

Brands adapting to coronavirus outbreak on Xiaohongshu

Find here Daxue Talks episode 62. In this interview, Miro Li provides her insights into what brands are doing differently on Xiaohongshu (Red) in response to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Full transcript below:

Can you provide interesting cases on how brands on Xiaohongshu adapted to new conditions during the crisis?

I think I’ve seen some interesting cases. For example, one is from HeyTea. We know HeyTea is one of the most popular milk tea brands in China, and during this time, because people can’t go out to their store to buy the milk tea, through their official account, they started to teach their followers to DIY their own milk tea at home. So, they started to provide recipes to the followers and this I think is a very interesting way to connect with your followers and to engage with them. Red is targeting female customers and female users on Red, and they love the milk tea and even when they stay at home they want to drink the milk tea, therefore they are more willing to learn how to DIY this milk tea. The recipe shared by the official account of HeyTea makes them feel like this is the official recipe from the brand, although we know that this is definitely not the official recipe, but this will make the followers feel a closer relationship with the brand. They are also more willing to engage with the content, such as comment, like or collect the post. So, this is also very interesting.

Another example is the brand called Super Monkey, a chain fitness gym in China and because people can’t go to the gym to do exercise, Super Monkey started to launch the online exercise course or even live streaming course to teach people to do exercise at home. They even asked their followers to do homework, like every time you need to check our brand account and you need to do at least 20 minutes exercise. So, this is also a very good way to engage with your customers.

And we also see some beauty brands have changed their marketing direction during this time. Because we have to wear masks every day, some customers may ask – how do I do makeup if I need to wear masks every day? So, we see, beauty brands like MakeUp Forever actually add these key words, add these trends in their content, and they started to teach people how to do makeup when still needing to wear a mask.

For example, they focus more on eye products, like eye shadow, mascara, eyeliner; they teach you how to do this nice makeup even though you still need to wear a mask. So, I think this is also a very interesting case on Red.

How have brands’ behaviors on Xiaohongshu changed during the coronavirus?

More and more brands are trying to host live streaming and host them more often because before coronavirus many retailers are pure offline, and now they have to go online and they have to launch their online shops. Therefore, they started to host live streaming, to engage with their customers online, and to do more online marketing. And we even see some brands even invite their CEO’s to join their live streaming to talk to the customers directly. Also, we see brands are more willing to engage with their followers. They will host more interactive activities, for example, sending out free gifts or give special discounts during live streaming or have lucky draw games to engage with the followers. For the customers, they have to stay at home so they spend more time online, and they are also more willing to engage and interact with the brands. In turn, brands also want to keep a close relationship with their followers.

We also see some brands even changed their marketing direction. For example, they would add some popular key words in their content and also some brands even change their best sellers. For instance, when you stay at home, you don’t need to wear the makeup, so maybe cosmetics may not sell really well for a beauty brand, so they would start to push more skin care products as their bestselling products instead of the cosmetics products.

Also, we see many companies want to show more social responsibility and they would post content related to covid-19. For example, Starbucks launched contactless delivery, so if you order a cup of coffee from them, you don’t really need to contact any employees. They would provide this kind of contactless service for you to get the coffee in store. This is how companies are showing social responsibility and their support to the doctors and hospitals during this crisis.

We know that Xiaohongshu is testing personal Shu shops for certified influencers, can you tell us a bit more about them?

Shu shop is a new function of Red and it’s still testing. Shu Shop in Chinese we call it 薯店, and it allows the certified influencers or KOL’s to have their own personal shops which can be linked to their KOL accounts, because currently on Red only companies can open a shop, unlike Taobao where you can actually use your own personal ID to open your personal shop. So, this is what Red is testing to allow influencers to open their own personal shop, and KOL’s can also add the product links during the live streaming or links to their post, so the audience can purchase directly and go to their shop.

Currently only several KOL’s have this new function because it’s still testing, and we actually see that many KOL’s actually own their own personal shop on Taobao, mostly selling apparels and accessories and they are also trying to develop their own brands. I think this is what Red is testing — to see if they can push some niche brands, KOL brands, and influencers brands on Red, which is why they started to allow some influencers to have their own personal shop.

I think this is a good testing because many KOL’s are trying to develop their own indie brand, since Red is also trying to enhance the social commerce function. I think this is a good try to see if the influencers can bring more self, can bring more traffic to their own shop, and this also I think provides more possibilities for brands if the KOL’s are allowed to have their own personal shop. In the future, maybe we can also have some of the brands’ products in the KOL shops so that KOL’s can live stream it and also ask people to purchase it from the KOL shops. After all, this is a new function, so let’s see how it goes in the future?

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