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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Collins

Lessons from 5 WeChat Pioneers

Updated: Jun 19, 2019

WeChat, or Weixin, is now the world’s top messaging app by number of downloads and counts over 300 million users. Is not surprising that a large number of brands are exploring ways to exploit this tool for business.

We’ve looked at 5 WeChat marketing efforts from 2012 and summarized them here for you. Get inspired!

1. Starbucks: Customized songs for each user.

Concept: Starbucks asked it’s WeChat friends to send one of the 26 emoticons expressing their mood of the moment. In return, users were rewarded with a customised song specifically targeted to the feeling chosen by the users.

Takeaway: The coffee chain is the absolute pioneer in WeChat campaigns on a large scale, showing how to succeed with unique content creation and advocator push.

2. Nike: Event promotion + gamification. 

Concept: Users receive daily event updates in the build-up to the Nike Sports Festival, annual recurrence in Shanghai. Combining the popular movement-tracking Nike+ APP, users are encouraged to join a collect points and win prizes.

Takeaway: Nike exploited the WeChat feature that allows users to access content-rich pages within the chat room, without opening links in their browsers.

3. China Merchants Bank: Charitable actions lead to improved brand reputation.

Concept: China Merchant Bank used the “Drift Bottle” function to send messages to users outside their circles. For every 500 replies, the Bank would donate professional training courses to autistic children around China.

Takeaway: WeChat presents a number of social functionalities (drift bottle, shake, look around) that can be exploited for marketing purposes.

NOTE: As demonstrated by the absence of ads in WeChat’s instagram-like social section “Moments“, users are not responsive to salesy approaches as in Facebook or Sina Weibo.

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

4. Cadillac: integrated campaign with Sina Weibo.

Concept: Cadillac created a crossover promotion with Sina Weibo around the concept of “Route 66”, the famous American highway. Users received daily updates highlighting different sites and characteristics of the road, weather updates and safety tips.

Takeaway: Sina Weibo is a much richer platform in terms of functionalities than WeChat (e.g. advertising data analysis, fan demographic analysis). An integrated campaign between the two guarantees improved monitoring of results and better insights.

5. Joy City and the WeChat membership card.

Concept: Joy City is a major shopping mall present in cities all over China. Users that scan the in-store QR code automatically acquire the mall membership card to get discounts in selected stores.

Takeaway: The ultimate O2O (online to offline) marketing tool. Users interact with the brand directly on their mobile within the store.

For more tips on WeChat marketing strategies, shoot us an email here.

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