Public Relation in China, Why Does Your Brand Need It?

As a business owner, you know the importance of maintaining positive public relations. But did you know that China is one of the most important markets for public relations? In China, communication is key. Chinese people pay attention to how a brand communicates its actions to the public.

Fashion brands sometimes have it a bit easier, as really often they are already known in the Chinese market, because of their good reputation around the world. But what about other international brands that want a piece of the Chinese cake? In this blog post, we’ll discuss some tips for doing public relations in China effectively. Keep reading to learn more!

Chinese Public Relation

Public relations in China is a very important part of doing business there. It’s critical to have a good understanding of the cultural landscape and what is considered appropriate communication. Many westerners mistakenly believe that they can just do things the way they do them back home, but this can lead to big problems. In order to make sure your message is heard and well-received, it’s essential to understand the Chinese approach to public relations.

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That’s why you should learn some key points about the Chinese public relations landscape and how to prepare the most suitable China public relations strategy for your brand.

Public Relations is a Great Form of Marketing Communication

Public relations are an important part of establishing your company’s image and reputation in China. It helps to “win the media battle” by winning over journalists with information that will be helpful for their work, while also maintaining a positive relationship between business partners such as newspapers or Chinese social media platforms across all sectors.

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The most important objective to take into consideration while planning a China public relations strategy is to be in control of consumer perception and public opinion of your brand. PR professionals are responsible for maintaining a positive image of your company in all media services, like TV advertising, press conferences, as well as new media, such as online newspapers, online media platforms, or other media outlets.

How Public Relations in China Work

Public relations in China work a little differently than they do in the Western world. In China, it’s common for businesses to use “guanxi” (connections) to get things done. This means that you have to know the right people to get things done, and it can be difficult for foreign companies to establish themselves without knowing anyone in the PR industry.

Chinese companies tend to believe that the most important aspect of PR is to establish a good rapport with journalists and other key stakeholders, than it is to try and control the story.

The media agencies are often times controlled by the Chinese government, which limits what can be reported and how it’s reported. This means that most newspapers seek profit as their focus is mainly on encouraging sales. With their state-mandated loyalty, Chinese journalists often struggled to be as critical of the government.

While media outlets must meet the official requirements, they also look for stories that will ultimately drive sales. The Chinese media is arguably more attracted to novelty stories that focus on human interest subjects like sensation or crime coverage, which tend to be popular amongst consumers there.

Management of your PR in China is easier than you think

First, you need to know that in China, the print media industry is big. It’s not like in a lot of countries, where you only find national newspapers. In China, there are around 2000 newspapers and 10 000 magazines and the number of publications grows every year.

Even if newspapers are now most read on screens, online newspapers, and print media are always very appreciated in China. China is one of the few countries where print media has not faced a steep decline.

How to Come Up with a Successful Public Relations Strategy for the China Market

The best public relations strategy for the China market will vary depending on the specific industry, product, or service being marketed. However, there are some general tips and best practices that any business can follow when preparing a PR strategy for China.

1. You Need to Understand the Chinese Market

Before crafting any public relations marketing strategy, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the market. This includes understanding things like the Chinese media consumption habits of your target audience, cultural differences, and sensitive topics that might be off-limits for your public relations efforts and marketing strategies.

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Consider this country’s unique history and culture. Understanding how these factors have influenced current values and beliefs will be crucial to establishing strong relationships with Chinese partners, and clients, and creating engagement with potential customers.

2. In China, Online PR is the Way to Go

Finally, good news for you. Yes, Chinese people use the same communication platforms as you. They even have more platforms than their western counterparts. Traditional media, online media, events, press conferences, QQ news, social media apps, advertising services…

You have a lot of choices to develop a relationship with your target. While crafting your marketing strategy for China, remember that good communication on the Chinese Internet and social media platforms are the keys to a positive reputation for your company.

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But don’t forget that public relations in China don’t work exactly like your domestic public relations. Be aware of the rules.

3. Localization is key for Marketing & PR in China

When doing public relations in China, the very obvious thing you need to focus on is preparing the whole communication in Mandarin Chinese. Localization, not only in PR content but also in the strategies, is the most important aspect of developing your public relations strategy in China.

You need to remember that Chinese people have their own social media apps, like WeChat or Xiaohongshu, both very powerful marketing, and advertising tools for marketing strategies. Most social networks that we are used to in the West, like Instagram or Facebook, are being blocked by the Chinese government.

Marriott Hotels Case Study

Because of that, it’s best to work with Chinese native content writers. They are familiar with marketing strategies in China, know how to do Baidu SEO, and press releases in Chinese, they know what messages work best among Chinese clients.

4. Press Release is a must for your marketing strategy in the Middle Kingdom

Press releases are an important tool in creating relationships or guanxi with media agencies in China. The press release is often the product of a partnership between companies and media channels.

By providing them with content, this kind of controlled environment in which they can be talked about by bloggers or websites is maintained indefinitely – without having any need for additional promoting efforts of the company’s product on your part!

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When you publish a press release, it’s like giving your website an extra boost in search engine rankings. By having more backlinks from other sites linking to yours and writing articles with good content on relevant topics, people will be drawn into reading what they find there.

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The release will be published on a high-quality, large-volume new homepage. If you publish enough content with this particular keyword, it can form an automatic association between companies and keywords without much work from your end! So if you focus on preparing well-done press releases, you will kill two birds with one stone, tackling SEO marketing as well.

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Make Sure You Meet all the Legal Restrictions

The government in China controls what’s being published in all media and on the Internet. Therefore, articles must stay aligned with overall official state perspectives.

China public relations platforms have a system that detects sensitive words, so make sure you omit those, that can get you a block. There are three types of sensitive words that shouldn’t be published:

  • Politically sensitive words; any bad words criticizing the party will be blocked
  • Pornographic content, vulgar words
  • Malicious promotion words: Vocabulary such as account number, card number, payment, remittance, payment, payment, Alipay, bank card, how much money, etc.

Top Mistakes Done by New Entry Western Company in China

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What is also important is to segment the market for better marketing results. It’s vital because China is a big country with many regions and different cultures. Each part of China needs to have its own approach.

Chinese Double Check Brand Information Online

People in China, when they want to buy something, will first do a lot of research about the brand on social media and on Baidu. They pay a lot of attention to the details, so make sure all the available information online puts you in good light. Avoid topics that are sensitive, such as politics.

Chinese Social Media are the Way to Give Resonance to Pr

Social media platforms are very popular in China. Nowadays they are more important than traditional media, just like in the West. Even if censorship is also present on social media, users are freer to express themselves and it’s easy to influence them. The two most important platforms are WeChat and Weibo.

  1. Wechat is a mix between Whatsapp and Facebook but with a lot of other amazing service options for users but also for brands. It’s an effective social media app to communicate and develop a relationship with your consumers. Therefore, WeChat definitely needs to be a part of your public relations and marketing strategy.
  2. Weibo is similar Twitter, but far better than it. Users are allowed to post a lot of things like content, pictures, and videos… and customize their posts. Weibo also allows you (brands and users) to post big content, like blog articles and so on. It’s a very diverse social media tool, that will help all your public relations and marketing actions if you use it correctly.

Don’t forget that your western social media such as Facebook and Twitter are not authorized in China. That’s why communicating with Chinese consumers on these platforms is pointless.

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Get familiar with the concept of Guanxi

Everything in China is relationship-based, that’s why it’s important to understand the concept of Guanxi, as it’s the key to your public relations efforts.

Guanxi is a Chinese word that refers to the intricate web of personal relationships that pervades all aspects of Chinese society. It has been variously translated as “connections”, “relationships” or “gossip”.

In its most basic form, guanxi involves using personal relationships to get things done. Many deals are done through personal connections, and it’s often difficult for foreigners to do business without guanxi in Greater China.

Companies and brands need to learn the best practices in order to avoid important mistakes. You need to learn a lot about Chinese public relations before start developing your business in China.

An agency that specializes in communication can help you prepare a tailor-made public relations and marketing strategy for your brand.

PR Marketing Agency in China

We are a specialist PR agency based in Shanghai, China. We understand consumers in China and the real methods for success in this lucrative country.

Furthermore, we can help you with marketing and public relations in China, share our expertise and experience, prepare the best China public relations strategy and manage public relations, press releases, and PR campaigns of your brand in Greater China.

One Comment

  1. From the presence on the main social networks to the integration on social-commerce, from live streaming to co-branding activities, from the creation of short press release to videos to collaborations with KOLs. The personal care sector in China is one of the most dynamic if we look at digital marketing strategies. It makes it possible to offer captivating and engaging activities, which know how to capture the interest of users.

    For companies in the sector, before entering local marketplaces, it is good to create and consolidate their online brand image. In 2021, the activities that best lend themselves to this goal are the creation of short videos, independent live streaming by brands and live broadcasts by Key Opinion Leaders on behalf of companies. These three strategies help attract traffic and increase brand visibility, especially during the market launch phase. The channels to be preferred in this case are Douyin and Taobao Live, to be combined with the more traditional WeChat and Weibo. The latter, on the other hand, make it possible to establish a relationship of trust with consumers or potential consumers, managing to increase the chances of conversion, loyalty and active promotion of the brand.

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