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Engage your Chinese Consumers Better

MCN’s in China

A hostess sells products via live broadcast during the first live broadcast fair held in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on June 6, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua

Hello, and once again, greetings from Shunyi, today is Tuesday May 10th. Being Tuesday means too, that it is time for us to look at a little more depth in either a trending or interesting aspect of “marketing to Chinese in China.” This week we take closer, slightly cynical look at MCN’s In China.

Navigating the China marketing waterways is a tricky business at the best of time. It is too, too easy to become becalmed in a polluted stream or tributary, or swept away in a torrid onto the rocks or over the falls. Once you begin dealing with KOLs, influencers, celebrities you are in MCN waters. And they flow fast, cold and deep.
Err what’s an MSN when it’s at ‘ome anyway – glad you asked, we’re coming to that.

KOLs, influencers, celebrities you will already be familiar with. They have, for some years now, been an international staple in most marketers quiver. Long, long ago, before social media marketing (yes, there was such a time) influencers or celebrities graced our radios and TV tubes. In those days they were our idols from stage, screen or vinyl. Famous movie queens or beauties would promote cosmetics or soap, notably Lux whilst their male counterparts would extol the manly virtues of Camel cigarettes or Jim Beam whisky.

So, much like today, if there was a brand with enough cash, there was a star or starlette ready to promote their product and help lighten the burden of that cash. The difference might be that back in the day, those faces were already famous. Well known to us. Their fame and adoration existed before they became “Brand Ambassadors.”

Today many, if not most of the KOLs, influencers, celebrities you meet in China were relatively unknown before they began as brand ambassadors. It is from here they gain their popularity, or, in many cases recently, their notoriety. OK, to be balanced, yes, there are also many “genuine” celebs working as brand ambassadors – Chinese singing idols or movie stars whose fame and popularity peaked long before they lent / hired their face or legs to a fashion brand.

It could be said they have already “paid their dues.” A recent example of rise to commercial fame is the Olympic gold medalist Eileen Gu. A combination of skill, beauty, youth and national pride has seen her rocket to one of the more sort after celebs in China.

So, back to those who seemingly came “from nowhere.” Overnight successes?
Well, yes and no. Many of these are treading the existing celeb route, but in reverse.
Sort of.
For example, most people have heard of China’s “Lipstick King” who once famously sold 230, $2000 luxury branded handbags on line in less than 60 seconds.
He, like many are signed up to MCN’s and now tra la, we answer the question.

What’s an MSN when it’s at ‘ome anyway?

To answer that, in detail we’ll precis part of Jing Daily’s article which we link to below.

MCN, or multi-channel networks act like agents to manage the activities of KOLs across social media and e-commerce. They charge brands a (hefty) fee as well as taking a cut of the KOL’s sales. As you might imagine, this is popular, there are a few of these MCN’s in China. Currently over 40,000.

So, to work with MCN’s or not to work with MCN’s, that is the question. Is it more noble in the mind and easier on the wallet to bypass MCN’s and deal direct with KOL’s?
Or should one bite the bullet? It’s not an easy question, MCN’s have the market well tied up and offer services the the average local and foreign brand may have trouble sourcing and organising themselves. And for some smaller Chinese family firms, the almost stranglehold of MCN’s and their stratospheric fees are forcing them out of the market and out of business altogether. As we cover in this post:

However. for a closer look at MCN”S in China and a detailed look at 4 of the top players we urge you to read this article from Jing Daily:

4 MCNs You Need to Know in China

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