Joyce Lam
Joyce is a Senior Trends Analyst at Mintel, focusing on capturing consumer behaviour for the Asia Pacific market, as well as supporting the global Mintel Trends team to identify new consumer trends.

Haircare brand Vidal Sassoon has come up with ‘I Follow Me’, a new campaign for the China market, calling on consumers to cast aside societal pressures and express their true selves.

Source: marketingmagazine.com

The #ifollowme hashtag created for the campaign is a positive way that encourages Chinese youth to explore life from new perspectives. The campaign resonates well with young Chinese consumers as today’s young generation is more willing to show their distinct personalities than previous generations. Mintel research reveals that nearly three in five Chinese university students are sharing their opinions and things they’re interested in with their networks across blogs, Weibo, WeChat public accounts and WeChat Moments.

Apart from voicing their opinions and interests, they are also expressing their values through their appearance, in their hairstyles, makeup and clothing. This individualistic behaviour is contradicting traditional values and, as a result, drawing disapproval from older generations.

We are seeing more and more brands supporting individualism through their marketing efforts, encouraging young consumers to make their own life choices. Brands that can get this message across successfully are likely to build emotional bonds with consumers. Olay launched the ‘Let’s Break Up’ campaign for Chinese Valentine’s Day (celebrated in August) to address the social stigma of older women dating younger men in China and encourage them to ignore traditions and societal stereotypes; while Evian’s recent campaign ‘I Wanna #LiveYoung’ highlights the multifaceted identities and lifestyles of Millennials.

What we think

People nowadays have more freedom to customise a life that they are most happy with. Chinese consumers will continue to seek this personal fulfilment, despite some of their values being rejected by older generations. Companies and brands aiming to intrigue younger consumers need to embrace individuality, diversity and inclusion – which can be realised by creating an open conversation between brand and consumer and showing respect to the things they value.

Apart from challenging existing societal pressures, brands could also consider help consumers find social communities, in a way to get support from others who have similar values and dreams.