CHENGDU, China, Sept. 8, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — On September 7, 2023, GroupM forged a strategic alliance with the Sichuan Provincial Association for Liquor and Spirits Circulation. A signing event was hosted by the Association and its brand operations committee, GroupM Knowledge, and Wavemaker China. This pivotal moment was observed by an exclusive group of attendees, comprising Sichuan provincial leadership, executives from the Association, major Sichuan Baijiu brand representatives, and leading distributors.
Kicking off the partnership, they unveiled the report, “Walking with the Times, Inheriting and innovating: China’s 2023 Baijiu End-to-End Marketing White Paper”. This document provides actionable marketing strategies and forward-looking insights for the baijiu industry in terms of tackling current challenges, trends in the era of brand performance and sales, and offering innovative solutions.
Optimal Opportunity for Elevating Sichuan Baijiu Brand Value
When it comes to Chinese baijiu, Sichuan stands out. From product diversity, the array of industry players, to the depth of brand heritage, Sichuan Baijiu holds a pivotal role in the Chinese baijiu sector, accounting for a significant 50% of both production and profits. The question of how Sichuan Baijiu can innovate and flourish in the contemporary era and market landscape is a subject that has captured widespread attention.
In this landscape, opportunities intermingle with challenges. Amidst sluggish economic growth and the lackluster performance of the consumer goods sector, the baijiu industry is faced with fresh imperatives: to pursue the ‘new’ and ‘global.’ ‘New’ entails cultivating a new breed of consumers and forging contemporary values. ‘Global’ entails extending the reach of baijiu culture across both national and international spheres. The traditional baijiu culture predominantly centers on Chinese ceremonial traditions and their integration into business contexts. However, the dissemination of this culture reveals a gap: a focus on brand visibility through TV and outdoor advertisements, yet lacking resonance with regional cultures, younger demographics, and robust integration with sales channels.
In the context of these long-standing challenges, baijiu brands compete in a saturated market where leading brands dominate and make it difficult for smaller brands who lack differentiation in their offerings to carve out a presence. Brands attempting to expand internationally encounter cultural and marketing obstacles due to the uniqueness of baijiu in global markets.
Zhang Jianping, Chairman of the Sichuan provincial association for liquor and spirits circulation, shared in his opening speech: ” The love for the industry burns eternally in the hearts of the people within the Sichuan Baijiu community. The year 2023 marks a period of transformation and development, signifying the dawn of a new economy. The national strategy is propelling global economic recovery with tremendous momentum. A new era for the Baijiu industry has arrived amidst this new economic landscape! ‘Brand focus, brand upgrade, and marketing innovation’ have emerged as the central themes driving industry development.”
The ongoing pursuit of high-quality growth and the rapid stride toward global integration in the baijiu industry also illuminate the path for forthcoming expansion. During the event, stakeholders from across the industry ecosystem deliberated on prospective objectives and the visionary landscape of the baijiu sector. They emphasized the significance of bringing together marketing teams to plan out and execute marketing strategies that cover all channels and brand touchpoints throughout the customer journey.
Patrick Xu, WPP Greater China CEO and GroupM North Asia CEO stated: “In the digital age, every product on the market is competing for the consumers’ attention and for inclusion in a consumption scenario. In today’s content-saturated media landscape, consumers are experiencing information overload, reducing their receptiveness to new messages. In such an environment, it’s the brands with clear and resonant values that are more likely to stand out and be remembered. At the same time, we need to rethink business from the perspective of a full-funnel brand-to-sales approach. We hope GroupM’s comprehensive planning and expertise will help Sichuan’s Baijiu sector explore more business possibilities in the existing market and establish a competitive advantage in these changing times.”
Eddie Zhuang, Executive Director of the Brand Operations Committee of Sichuan Provincial Association for Liquor and Spirits Circulation and General Manager, Wavemaker China , emphasized: “The Chinese baijiu industry urgently needs to find new paths to growth and market competitiveness through new promotional and marketing means. We look forward to applying these means in tandem with data planning capabilities, working closely with the Sichuan Provincial Association for Liquor and Spirits Circulation to draw on our extensive expertise in communication and marketing to breathe new life into an age-old industry, pioneering change and reimagining its future within a traditional context.”
China’s 2023 Baijiu End-to-End Marketing White Paper
Zod Fang, Head of GroupM Knowledge and Data Center , provided a detailed interpretation of the core insights and solutions presented in the white paper. The marketing of baijiu should return to the consumer and start with understanding “people”. The white paper provides an in-depth analysis of the three underlying logics that drive the evolution of consumer media and consumption: efficiency logic, participation logic, and how the consumer personally identifies with the brand. These insights help marketers systematically understand the changing preferences of consumers and the evolution of media channels, addressing fundamental issues. It also presents key elements such as integrating social media, leveraging the value of direct-to-consumer channels, empowering e-commerce, and deriving insights based on data.
Fang stated: “Every generation has its own iconic brands that they deeply connect with or that resonate with their collective identity. In the era of end-to-end marketing, strategies have shifted from demographic-based targeting to behavior-based or journey-based targeting. Fully understanding consumers – grasping the evolution of their media engagement and underlying purchasing motivations – is foundational for innovative spirits marketing. This report aims to equip brands with the insights needed to capitalize on current opportunities, adapt to modern trends, uphold tradition while innovating, and bolster the presence of Chinese spirits on a global scale. As we move forward, GroupM will intensify the focus on the spirits sector, positioning ourselves as a prime strategic consultancy for spirits brands.”
Landmark Strategic Collaboration: Taking Sichuan Baijiu Beyond its Regional Boundaries to the Global Arena
For the first time, the Sichuan Provincial Association for Liquor and Spirits Circulation has partnered with a major global communications agency for joint ideation and strategic collaboration. Beyond co-publishing the white paper, both entities will collaborate on developing industry-specific leaderboards, gaining hands-on insights about the most pivotal aspects of the industry, engaging in the latest strategic advancements and brand elevations for Sichuan Baijiu, sharing growth milestones with the broader sector, and supporting end-to-end marketing efforts for Sichuan spirits brands in this performance-driven branding age.
Jose Campon, CEO, Wavemaker China , shared his expectations: “The strategic cooperation with the Sichuan Provincial Association for Liquor and Spirits Circulation is a significant milestone. GroupM Group and Wavemaker hope to use their rich brand marketing experience to contribute to promoting Chinese Baijiu culture and Chinese Baijiu brands to the world.”
Collaborating with the Sichuan Provincial Association for Liquor and Spirits Circulation underscores Wavemaker’s consistent growth mindset: there’s always a superior strategy for expansion. Working in tandem with Eddie Zhuang and the brand strategy committee he spearheads within the Association, Wavemaker will capitalize on its global communication strengths to unlock the full potential of Sichuan Baijiu’s marketing assets, and amplify the presence of Chinese Baijiu culture and Sichuan brands beyond regional borders and onto the global stage.