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China 2015: INSIGHTS | Spotlight on Digital

Michael Zhang

Strategy Officer 

GroupM, 

China 

michael.zhang@groupm.com

To build and grow sustainably in China’s digital world, brands need to do four things right. First, brands must give power to their fans, putting their customers first. This is something Chinese born after 1990 have grown to expect online. Second, brands must engage fans with online experiences, as opposed to message- centric approaches.

The “freemium” model is a third important strategy brands need to master for online success. Free experiences can launch lasting brand connections with consumers. Finally, brands can deliver solutions online rather than just ideas. Innovation online is not just a one-off affair, but something that can be continually revisited and renewed.

Online brand building requires a sustainable perspective informed by big picture thinking (rather than deepening silos), and a focus on synergy rather than efficiency. Brands also need to move beyond short- term ROI approaches, and instead think how best to lead the emerging generations into a “new world.” Now is the time to strategically embrace “cooptition.”