Don’t just tell a ‘beautiful story’, give a reward, Weibo boss advises on marketing to Chinese

Ken Hong

Ken Hong

The head of strategic marketing for China’s Twitter-like social network Sina Weibo has said that when marketing in China it is not enough to just “tell a beautiful story” – Chinese consumers want “real rewards”.

Speaking at the Social Matters conference in Hong Kong yesterday, Ken Hong, GM of Weibo Strategy Marketing, suggested a material reward for engaging with a brand in social media is more powerful than slick marketing in China.

“In China, don’t just tell a beautiful story,” Hong advised delegates in an on-stage interview with the global MD of Social@Ogilvy, Thomas Crampton. “Show real rewards,” he said, such as a discount or a promotion.

“It’s not enough to give Chinese consumers a great video,” he said, suggesting that consumers need to be involved through activities such as exclusive product launch events.

“They have to know what is the benefit for me. They’re [Chinese consumers] very practical in that sense,” he said.

Hong added that China’s consumers are very demanding, and are quick to complain about a product or service if they feel isn’t justifying their time in social media.

He said: “[Social media] fans are worth something (business-wise). They’re not just a number.”


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