Olivier VEROT is the founder of Gentlemen Marketing agency, a digital Marketing Agency based in Shanghai. French living in China for 10 years. In 2007 he moved to Dalian, a smaller city by Chinese standards of only nine million people. We have conducted an interview with him.
What is Gentlemen Marketing's specialty and strengths? Why did you start this agency?
First, a Gentleman is someone clever and smart with a lot of professional plans for his future. He has clear goals and organizes his life being quiet about it. In addition, gentlemen who are specialized in Marketing are determined and are able to develop an effective strategy to be succeed in the market. Also, gentlemen get informed about innovation and marketing updating in order to be a huge competitor.
I decided to launch the agency because I was feeling myself able to reach my goals by avoiding the obstacles. Then, I am really passionate about various tools offered by the marketing especially through the digital area. Indeed, this is a huge market which offers a lot of possiblities to be successful. The digital market size is very impressive mainly in China.
Over the last ten years, what did you discover was the most important to succeed in the marketing communications to Chinese?
Effectively, I’ve learnt many things about Chinese’s behavior during these last years. Actually, the China’s growth economy has involved a new kind of consumers in the Mainland and they have different expectations which regularly shifts. Chinese customers are the economy’s drivers that’s why it’s really important to tailor to them.
Chinese consumers expect from further quality and authentic produtcs or services. Also, they are very connected and spend a lot of time by browsing on their smartphone especially on their favourit social networks including Weibo and Wechat. Thus, my goal in China is to help companies overseas to use it efficiently so that engage them and increase brands’ e-reputation online. Finally, I’m an expert in SEO which allows companies to get a good positionning on Baidu’s first page.
Did the current changes to the ban and censorship by the Chinese affect you and your business?
The censorship in China is a one of obstacle whose I talked about above. Therefore, these last years, the Mainland got it own information channels. Moreover, local companies such as Tencent or Sina Weibo have benefited from the Great Wall technology to compete the Western giants incluing Facebook and Twitter. Consequently, I’ve learnt to manipulate the Chinese social networks’ tools in order to become an expert.
How do you describe the competitive landscape for foreign companies targeting the Chinese audience today as compared to last year?
The China’s growth economy has allowed companies overseas to penetrate the Chinese market such as luxury brands (Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci…) or technological brands (Apple, Samsung…). However, the trend is slowing down and the market begins to be crowded. Consequently, startups or brands overseas are meeting difficulties to get into the Chinese market and need some help to understand this special area. Then, Companies have to offer innovation to the Chinese consumers to engage them.
Which are the ways do you offer your clients to use to measure success of their marketing efforts?
According to me, the best way to reach the success and measure it, is to be active on Chinese social media. Indeed, companies are able to see the Chinese users reaction directly by reading their comments about contents. In addition, social media allow companies to launch campaign and attract further followers and then engage them to share and debate about brands. Finally, followers will become regular consumers and membership which is a success’ proof.
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