Many of China’s KOLs have massive channels to amplify their voices. Jing Daily analyzes how four livestreamers are extending their brand.
The desire of celebrities to launch their own brands is nothing new. From the sublime to the ridiculous, Western icons have long mined the endless possibilities of stamping their name on products like lingerie or beauty lines.
In China, too, citizens are well used to the idea of a famous personality starting their own brand and there is much to tempt consumers: Kris Wu’s accessories brand, A.C.E; Jackson Wang’s Team Wang; William Chen’s Canotwait streetwear; and actress Liu Jialing’s womenswear brand Anirac stocked by Lane Crawford.
But, whereas in the past, the public followed movie stars and industry celebrities, today, China’s radically evolving selling-scene means numerous KOLs are now considered the “new celebrities.” These KOLs, or key opinion leaders, are emerging in all kinds of market segments and on social media platforms. With powerful channels on Weibo and massive followings, they have become superstars in their own right, giving them undisputed reach and sway.
“Brand creation is a natural step in an All-Star KOL’s lifecycle,” Kim Leitzes, managing director of APAC at Launchmetrics explains. “This transition happens when they reach a breaking point, that is when collaborations are not lucrative enough in proportion to the influence KOLs hold over their followers’ buying behavior.” According to Leitzes, who founded Parklu, one of the earliest companies to analyze the KOL sector, it’s a space that is quite advanced (for one, the brand incubator Ruhnn went public on the NASDAQ in 2018).
Given the maturity of the market, she suggests it’s logical for these KOLs to start to leverage the “attention and affinity they have generated” in order to create additional outlets which they know their followers are looking for. Yet, while the concept of launching a brand is very similar to the West, the sheer scale of possibilities in China’s market is vastly different. And as incomes rise, dedicated fans will go to dramatic lengths to financially support their favorites.
Now, surely their popularity and unique position at the intersection of digital content, marketing, and e-commerce, and their years spent playing the role of the “middleman” can pay off? Here Jing Daily looks at four “new celebrities” and their brand ownership viability. Continue to read the full article here