The Story of How A Traditional Chinese Brand Succeeded in Remaking Itself for China's Youth Market in The Summer of 2016

Liushen Florida Water: Rejuvenation of a brand that is a national legacy
2016-09-28 22:15 1341

SHANGHAI, September 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- "Petals of heavy dewdrops, a horizon of smoke-like spring grass, she lowered the curtains over her sunset windows". Like the beautiful spring scene described in the Chinese poem written by famous Chinese poet Ouyang Xiu in the 11th century, the distinctive scent of Florida Water, or floral water, has been blended into the memory of every Chinese person and Liushen is the brand that comes to mind when Chinese Florida Water is mentioned. From May to August of this year, Liushen launched its largest integrated marketing campaign of recent years, themed "a bottle of Liushen, a summer without distraction", with the aim of positioning the Liushen brand as a seasonal summer product and raising awareness of the brand among younger consumers.

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Since the first bottle of Liushen Florida Water became available in 1990 and quickly took over China's floral water market, for over 2 decades, Liushen has undisputedly dominated the market. However, with the rise of younger generations of consumers such as the 85 and 90 generations (those born after 1985 and 1990) and even the 95 generation, Liushen is facing a challenge from an aging brand image and a slowing increase in sales. The prime issue facing the brand has been how to extend the vitality of the brand by gaining the attention and appreciation of younger audiences. In this context, Liushen has, in the last few years, restlessly undertaken a campaign focused on rejuvenation of the brand.

A Video as the First Step in a Brand Rejuvenation Campaign

The need for rejuvenation of the brand is an pressing one and the key to success lies in gaining insight into the preferences of younger consumer segments, looking beyond the conventional platforms to locate the ones where young people congregate, communicating in a way that draws their interest and eventually winning their favor.

Given such a context, the animated short film "The Life Story of Florida Water" went viral on China's leading video websites and blogging services in the summer of 2012. The video presented the history of Florida Water in a funny and humorous way. The dynamic style of the short movie proved highly popular among young consumers, kicking off the first step in the rejuvenation of the Liushen brand.

From that moment on, short videos quickly become the medium of choice in terms of how Liushen communicated with its younger customer segments. In its promotional campaigns, "Fall in Love with Summer" and "the Naked Summer", in which different video styles were deployed, Liushen conveyed a connection between the brand and the summer season to the younger audiences being targeted and has successfully made the brand itself a part of what summer means for these audiences.

In the summer of 2016, Liushen again put together four video clips for its younger customers. On May 30th, "All the Fun You Can Have with Florida Water in 2016" went online, on June 9th, then, on the first day of the two-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday, followed with "The Correct Way to Understand Chinese Wisdom" and, on June 21st, with "The Tragic Tale of the Fight Against Mosquitos 2016". The three videos relied on the traditional style of using animations to tell an interesting story, as the method to attract the attention of viewers by presenting multiple ways in which Liushen Florida Water can be used: as an anti-bacterial skincare solution that relies on the product's wormwood leaves and licorice ingredients, and as a mosquito repellent. On July 11th, an innovative video highlighting the Liushen Summer Shower Gel series went online and offered a cool virtual feast to customers sweltering in the heat of summer. These videos have gone a long way in closing the gap between the Liushen brand and its young customers and have made it possible for Liushen to transform itself into a brand that can "play" with that audience.

Employing the Tactics of Precise Marketing to Launch a Brand Rejuvenation Campaign.

In light of the massive shift to most sales taking place online or in a digital environment, Liushen has quickly grasped the importance of needing to make serious headway into the youth and young adult segments of the market and, in recent years, has made bold attempts to rejuvenate the image of the brand. Liushen has successfully integrated media elements and channels that are preferred by these younger segments into this year's promotional campaign "a bottle of Liushen, a summer without Distraction". (Video:

Liushen has invited popular stars such as Wu Lei, Xue Zhiqian, Yue Yunpeng, and other beloved celebrities, to take on the role of "consumer" and use Liushen products in their daily routine, and to serve as the voice for the brand on their personal blogs as a way of stimulating discussions around the brand. In the unique blogging style for which he is known, Xue Zhiqian wrote a long post on his blog on June 30th which included an advertisement for Liushen Cool Shower Gel. The post was shared 70,000 times, received 140,000 comments and 910,000 "likes".

The brand also works closely with some of China's most acclaimed bloggers and internet celebrities. To gain visibility and traction on WeChat, China's most popular social media network and blogging platform, Liushen invited well-known online cartoonist and blogger Wang Zuozhongyou to create and post the graphic novel "The Real Story of Why Emperor Qianlong Left Lady Xia Yuhe of Daming Lake" for portable Florida Water mosquito repellent. The story was read 600,000 times. As for Weibo, China's other highly popular blogging platform, Liushen Cool Florida Water went viral online overnight when internet celebrity Sakura Noriko wrote her own comments on the fragrance. The comments were quickly shared by several of Weibo's most popular bloggers with many across the web adding exceptionally humorous comments in return.

Liushen also joined hands with Chinese IT giant Tencent in investing in advertisements on some of the youth segment's favorite online reality shows such as "Running Man" and "Party King", as well as platforms such as QQ Weather, Tencent's weather app. Liushen has also garnered product placement on several TV series which has the youth demographic as the main audience, including the popular "So Young" and "Hero Dog 2".

Brand rejuvenation and getting back into the spotlight are real problems facing traditionally well-known brands seeking to promote their products anew. As a result of the summer-long sales campaign and the expanded visibility through the deployment of different themes via a multiplicity of media channels, Liushen has made observable strides in closing the gap between itself and the younger audiences it seeks to reach and has strengthened its position in the summer personal care market segment.

About Liushen

As one of the leading brands of its parent company, Shanghai Jahwa United Co., Ltd., one of China's oldest producers of cosmetics, perfumes as well as of personal care and household cleaning products, Liushen launched Florida Water in 1990, a product that rapidly gained wide customer acceptance and become the undisputed leader in China's floral water market. According to data from the Nielsen Company, Liushen Florida Water held a 71.4% share of the market served through major distribution channels as of the end of 2015. The Liushen brand has become the flagship brand for Shanghai Jahwa's series of summer products and continues to promote derivative products such as shower gels, which also lead in market share for their respective segments.

As a leading personal skincare brand for summer, Liushen has combined traditional Chinese wisdom and innovation in the formulation and marketing of the product, not only providing each user with the necessary personal cleansing and care products in summer, but also delivering a healthy and refreshed feeling to both body and mind, as well as becoming an integral part of what makes summer a beautiful and fun part of the year.

*Data comes from the Nielsen Company's statistical analysis of 2015.

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Source: Liushen