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Analysis of OLAY marketing strategy in China on e-commerce platforms

Updated: Jan 15

OLAY, as a beauty brand under Procter & Gamble, one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, is a world-renowned skincare brand. Entering the China market in 1989, it is committed to creating a professional skincare brand image in the minds of consumers, and strives to provide Chinese women with high-quality, professional, and exquisite skincare products. OLAY adopts the combination of online and offline sales methods. It has its own official directly-managed stores on e-commerce platforms such as Taobao, JD.com, and Douyin (China TikTok), and at the same time, carries out the upgrading and transformation of its offline cosmetic stores to ensure the profitability of the stores.


OLAY Marketing on RED (Xiaohongshu)

As a prominent platform for product recommendations, RED (Xiaohongshu) has an essential impact on the female consumer market. As an established brand with a strong presence in China, OLAY takes advantage of promotional opportunities and actively deploys marketing campaigns on RED (Xiaohongshu).

OLAY has over 383000 followers on RED (Xiaohongshu), with a cumulative “favorite” exceeding 932000 by January 2024. During promotional periods, OLAY collaborates with beauty Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) to promote its products. The brand strategically plans its advertising campaigns around specific products such as Regenerist, Super Serum, Collagen Peptide 24, Ultimate Eye Cream, etc. Each product focuses on different efficacy, attracting public attention and maintaining the product life cycle through cross-promotion.

 

OLAY Regenerist Luminous has always been one of the highly sought-after skincare products on RED (Xiaohongshu). In anticipation of the summer whitening trend, OLAY strategically released a significant number of posts, with a focus on notes about whitening products. Not only did the brand’s official account send a large number of notes, but it also collaborated with celebrities to promote the product. When it comes to the selection of influencers, OLAY adopted a pyramid-shaped marketing structure, with the majority of investment going to primary-level influencers, accounting for more than half, followed by mid-level influencers, and the least being top-level influencers.

 

Within OLAY’s related notes, apart from brand and product-related words, there are also numerous keywords about “whitening” and “summer”. For example, phrases like “summer is coming” and “whiten before summer arrives” are widely used in the notes. By combining current seasonal trends and using an interactive tone that resonates with everyday life, OLAY precisely targets consumers’ desires, encouraging them to make purchases.


This picture shows OLAY’s homepage on RED to facilitate readers’ understanding of RED’s operating mode.

OLAY Marketing on Douyin (China TikTok)

Douyin (China TikTok) has also become a significant platform for brand promotions. Brands often collaborate with celebrities, influencers, and users to create live streams and short videos on the platform.

 

The OLAY official Douyin (TikTok) has about 4 accounts. The most popular official account has over 6.18 million likes, and 2.3 million followers.

 

OLAY maintains four accounts targeting different audiences and products. The content posted on the accounts consists of TVC videos that highlight the key selling points of specific products. These videos feature model demonstrations, product-focused displays on trending topics and short promotional videos with celebrities or popular IPs during new product launches. The four live streaming channels broadcast for more than 15 hours per day on average.


Followed by more than 3.46 million users, “OLAY Live Studio” focuses on promoting the Regenerist Luminous set, highlighting its whitening effects. The target market is middle to high-end consumers, primarily consisting of white-collar workers or young moms aged 24 to 41 in first-tier cities who have some savings and have been working for a few years.


This picture shows the homepages of different OLAY agents on Douyin. In order to make it easier for readers to understand, even though the same brand performs exactly the same on different platforms.

Followed by 706,000 users, “OLAY Skincare Live Studio” features the REGENERIST set as its main product, emphasizing anti-aging effects. The target market includes self-employed individuals and moms aged 31 to 40 in third-tier cities.

Followed by 625,000 users, “OLAY Body Care Brand Channel” promotes the whitening body lotion set, focusing on whitening effects, similar to “Olay Skincare Live Studio”.


Followed by 229,000 users, “OLAY Body Care Welfare Community” promotes the Revitalizing & Hydrating Body Lotion set, primarily focusing on hydrating effects. The target market consists mainly of female university students in first-tier cities.

During major promotional periods, OLAY collaborates with other famous brands and Douyin (China TikTok) to maximize product exposure and the effectiveness of promotional efforts.

 

In August 2023, Douyin (China TikTok) collaborated with three major brands, Vichy, OLAY, and Lancôme across three countries: China, Singapore, and France. The campaign involved over 100 celebrity influencers, generating a total exposure of over 1.3 billion and a cumulative GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) exceeding 160 million. This campaign broke away from the traditional marketing approach of individual brand efforts and, leveraging the platform’s advantages, targeted different user psychological appeals. It focused on three key dimensions including origin and characteristics, product ingredients, and brand stories, achieving a “1+1+1 > 3” effect.


This picture shows OLAY’s open-screen advertisement on Douyin, which shows that in addition to paid advertising, Douyin also has many cooperation mechanisms for traffic push that need to be continuously explored.

Douyin (China TikTok), as an interest-oriented platform, accurately targeted the desired user base, allowing users to come across brand videos while browsing short videos. Whether through the content model of “influencers promoting products” during live streams or users directly reaching the product details page after seeing it on the content, the campaign helped the brand break free from the traditional model of material production, channel distribution, and sales conversion. It realized all-encompassing interconnectivity in marketing and contributed to the brand sale growth.


This picture is a collection of pictures of various representative interfaces of OLAY on the Douyin platform.

In the campaign, Douyin (China TikTok) collaborated with OLAY, leveraging the star power of brand ambassador Bai Lu to convey the high whitening efficacy of OLAY’s two Regenerist Luminous products (the second-generation OLAY Regenerist Luminous and the fourth-generation OLAY Regenerist Luminous) with niacinamide as the key ingredient. They featured a new Bai Lu TV commercial on Douyin as the splash page and customized landing pages to convert the star’s popularity into brand sales and also promote the products on Weibo and RED (XiaoHongShu). At the same time, on the brand “BIG DAY”, the influencer was invited to visit OLAY’s research center in Singapore, where OLAY scientists initiated OLAY first overseas live stream in person. By leveraging expert endorsements and providing scientific explanations of the exclusive efficacy of niacinamide, the campaign successfully achieved a cumulative exposure of over 500 million and ranked number one in the beauty industry store rankings on the brand “BIG DAY”.


OLAY Marketing on WeChat

WeChat, a widely-used social app in the daily lives of Chinese consumers, enables users to directly share information posted on the platform with their friends and family. Marketing on WeChat can be considered as a socially-driven influence, distinct from traditional offline media and one-way Internet communication. It operates more like a viral marketing approach, establishing close connections with users and swiftly attracting a large number of consumers within a short period.


This picture shows the situation of OLAY’s public account operated on the WeChat platform, helping readers to intuitively analyze different marketing strategies on their own behalf.

OLAY released generally posts for new product launches, brand events, and major holidays, with the number of views ranging from 20,000 to 30,000. OLAY’s WeChat account offers various features that cater to user needs, including searching for nearby retail counters, promoting flagship products, and facilitating membership registration. The account consistently shares information, effectively conveying targeted messages to consumers. Furthermore, OLAY implements a lottery mechanism to incentivize fans, encouraging promotion of products and participation in related activities.


OLAY Marketing on Weibo

Sina Weibo works like Twitter. It is a service-oriented social website where celebrities and public figures create accounts to attract fans and new users. Weibo provides a convenient and interactive platform with a large user base, allowing brands to directly post information and spread it to a broader audience through reposts. Brands can also engage directly with their followers on Weibo, enhancing brand and product visibility while fostering fan engagement.


OLAY has 2.48 million followers on Weibo. In addition to collaborating with top-tier celebrities, OLAY also maintains partnerships with popular artists of the moment. The brand leverages Weibo advertisements, celebrity endorsements, garners publicity from beauty Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) to generate significant attention for its brand and products.


On December 25, 2020, OLAY initiated a topic on Weibo with the hashtag #2020 BFF Love You Love You# and released a series of videos titled “There’s a Kind of Love that Defies Age”, which told the true stories of three post-90s women and their best friends. Additionally, OLAY collaborated with more influential women to share their own stories about their best friends on social media platforms, with Pang Ying and Zhan Qingyun from a famous Chinese TV program “I Can I BB”, volleyball players Ding Xia and Hui Ruoqi, and actresses Zhao Lusi and Xu Yiruo, etc. This Weibo post has been shared over 680,000 times, and the videos have garnered over 200 million views across various platforms. The emotional impact of the videos prompted consumers to spontaneously share their own stories of growth with their best friends. In this comprehensive cross-channel promotional campaign, OLAY’s BFF-themed videos not only dominated Weibo and WeChat but also gained traction on RED (Xiaohongshu), Zhihu (a Chinese online content community), NetEase Cloud Music (a Chinese online music platform), and even within OLAY’s official flagship store, where consumers shared their stories. Through a heartwarming, and creative “BFF Love” marketing campaign, OLAY maximized its brand exposure, further capturing consumers’ emotional connection.


This is a screenshot of OLAY’s dialogue with the audience in the blog and comment area posted on the Weibo platform.

If you wish to know more about the live-streaming e-commerce analysis and tactics in China, please contact RougeLink for more information.


RougeLink offers e-commerce solutions, with integrated capabilities encompassing all aspects of the e-commerce value chain covering e-store operations, digital marketing, customer services, and logistics.


# e-commerce in China # China marketing strategy # Tiktok China # alibaba  # china cross border e-commerce # traffic monetization china # douyin # Live shopping


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