Bastion China new leadership and impressive client roster in second year
Bastion China, in its second year of business this year, has recently appointed a new partner along with general manager and account executive; along with winning key clients in automotive, luxury and lifestyle industries including Ferrari, Audi, F1 Australian Grand Prix, and KORA Organics in the past 12 months.
Bastion China belongs to the Bastion Collective family as the expert Chinese marketing and communications agency, helping Australian companies to connect and engage with the China market.
Jane Lu has joined as the new partner along with Tao Sheng as general manager and Leon Sun as account executive.
Jane’s previous roles included Country Manager for Juwai, the largest real estate listing online platform in China, and enterprise manager at UWEI, a popular tourism platform that facilitates Australian businesses to connect with the growing Chinese speaking tourists market; working with clients including SeaLink and Skycity Casino.
Tao Sheng joins Bastion China with 11 years specialised China-Australia marketing experience covering digital, campaign marketing, events and activations. Tao led JR Duty Free to be the first in marketing to engage major Chinese social media platforms such as WeChat and Weibo, in addition to piloting a China payment solution nationally on UnionPay, Alipay and WeChat Pay. He also successfully delivered revenue in the millions of dollars on a single day sales event targeting Chinese consumers.
Leon Sun, with a great international perspective having lived in China, Paris and Sydney, comes on board to support the team in executing strategies and campaigns for Bastion China’s clients.
Bastion China has offices in Sydney and Melbourne and has largely focused on designing customised, high-impact marketing campaigns for international brands wanting to better engage with Chinese consumers both in Australian and mainland China.
Partner Jane Lu said: “I’m very optimistic and excited about the future of Bastion China. I’m lucky in that I’ve inherited a great team and an agency that is a true market leader in Chinese marketing.”
Jane sees exciting potential for Australian businesses to broaden their consumer target, not only with the Chinese community in Australia, but with the wider market in mainland China.
“With China currently experiencing a significant growth phase, Bastion China is expanding its portfolio with the support of Bastion Collective by attracting emerging Chinese companies keen to explore opportunities in the international market.”
While there was scope for both countries to explore and benefit from increased bilateral partnerships, she said the language barrier and unfamiliar business environment often deterred companies from moving forward.
For Jane, bridging the cross-cultural divide between China and Australia is key to harnessing the enormous potential in both markets. That is where she sees Bastion China as having a pivotal role to play. “Entering a new country can be a very challenging endeavour. Being a new immigrant, I definitely see the struggle – whether from a personal perspective or from the clients I have worked with over the years,” she said. “So in this way, I think Bastion China is well positioned to help companies reveal their brand message and connect with the wider public.”
Bastion China appointed to drive Audi campaign
Leading Chinese marketing and communications agency Bastion China has announced it will partner with automotive giant Audi as part of a campaign to tap into the Australia-based Chinese community.
Bastion China has been engaged to develop an effective long-term communications strategy to position Audi as a sought after brand and gain traction in this growth market, Australia.
The campaign is focused on the launch of the luxurious new Audi Q8 SUV.
To gain leverage and drive engagement with the local Chinese market, Bastion China will set up an official WeChat account for Audi Australia and oversee a comprehensive content-management strategy.
Bastion China Partner Jane Lu said: “It is very exciting for Bastion China to work with Audi Australia in assisting with the Q8 new model launch campaign to engage the Chinese community.
“With the purposely crafted message and personalised engagement, Audi will be able to further communicate the value and brand with Chinese consumers,” she said.
Bastion plans to work with key WeChat influencers to boost social buzz and deliver key brand messaging that resonates with Audi’s target audience.
As a direct contact point, the platform will also be used to showcase Audi products, build brand loyalty, market prospective buyers and increase sales.
Audi Marketing Communications Manager Jessica Chen said the company was looking forward to a successful campaign and partnership with the Bastion China team.
“Audi highly value the growing Chinese community in Australia, and the partnership with Bastion China is an important initiative to engage and grow our Chinese consumer connection,” she said.
The client win further cements Bastion China as leaders in the automotive space, adding to the agency’s impressive portfolio, which includes Ferrari and the F1 Australian Grand Prix.
Bastion China specialises in designing high-impact, purpose-built marketing campaigns to help clients better engage with Chinese consumers.
Why Australian businesses can no longer ignore the local Chinese market
It’s no secret that our future is inextricably tied to China, yet the vast majority of Australian businesses are chronically unprepared to capitalise on this incredible opportunity. Even those Australian businesses that are trying to grow through China, often launch headlong into the mainland without considering or at the very least testing their products with the significant local Chinese population.
(This piece was originally written by Jack Watts, CEO – Bastion Collective and published by Marketing Magazine online)
According to the 2016 census there are 1.2 million people with Chinese ancestry living in Australia, a figure that has grown 115% since 2001 and shows no signs of slowing down. Of these 1.2m Chinese-Australians, only 25% were born here.
So who are these 1.2m local Chinese that represent about 5% of our total population? They are younger and more educated than the average Australian – 60% of local Chinese are under the age of 35, while 42% are tertiary educated (compared to the Australian national average of 14 per cent). This is reflected in 37% of local Chinese being students, while 39% are working professionals. They are 69% female and most likely to live in Melbourne or Sydney.
For Australian businesses, the 1.2m Chinese-Australians that live here are just as important a consideration as the 1.4m Chinese that Tourism Australia says will visit our shores in 2018. In fact the two are linked. The Visiting Friends and Relatives tourist market is often here to visit their daughters, sons, nieces and nephews who study at one of our universities.
So why should Australian businesses care? Well, these communities can be extremely lucrative. They spend approximately $9bn on Education, $9.2bn on travel and ethnic-Australians (of which Chinese are one of the biggest segments) spend $18.7bn in Australian Retail. Not only are Chinese spending their money on Australian shores, but they are buying $100bn of Australian exports every year.
The question for most Australian businesses is how do I speak to these communities? The clear answer is that you don’t do it in English as 82% of Australian-Chinese do not speak English at home. To put that into perspective, most Australian brands spending millions on marketing campaigns automatically rule out 5% of the Australian population and another 1.4m tourists because they only communicate in English.
Chinese migrants aren’t consuming traditional Australian media nor are you likely to reach them on Facebook or Twitter. WeChat is the key channel to reach Chinese with 1 billion monthly active users globally and 3 million active monthly users in Australia. For those not familiar with WeChat, it is a Chinese super app, owned by one of China’s largest companies, Tencent, that essentially combines Facebook, Instagram, eBay, Uber, Amazon and just about every other app currently on your phone.
Most Chinese pay for every-day items using WeChat Pay and 10,000 Australian Stores and Restaurants have already caught on by adopting WeChat Pay as 59% of Australian Chinese are much more likely to buy from a shop that offers this service. Businesses can advertise themselves and deliver online services via WeChat official accounts meaning users rarely leave the app’s ecosystem. There’s not even a lag for getting paid because WeChat Pay allows local merchants to receive payments to their Australian accounts within a shorter time frame and at a lower transaction cost than credit cards. Australian businesses can expect to have more success in marketing their services to Chinese tourists and locals with the display of the familiar WeChat app logo at their physical or online store-front. It’s an easier experience for Chinese to shop and pay, and also provides them with the feeling of familiarity.
What is clear is that if your business is not on WeChat, you are not talking to this incredibly lucrative market. Australian businesses need to wake up to this opportunity fast. WeChat is a good start, yet there are so many cultural nuances to this community meaning that brands need a clear and tailored approach. The local Chinese community is not one united, closed and cohesive community. It is in fact a hugely diversified group for whom a one-size-fits-all approach does not work.
Businesses need to be able to demonstrate cultural knowledge and cater to the different identities within the Chinese community. A recent study conducted by research and insights agency Bastion Latitude found that only 39% of Chinese migrants surveyed agree that Australian companies ‘understand their needs’, yet 66% of Chinese migrants state that they ‘would prefer to buy brands that show they understand the Chinese community’.
Of those surveyed, 51% of Chinese migrants stated that they would ‘like to see more Australian companies communicate in Mandarin’. Beyond creating in-language communications companies can also include references to Chinese culture in communications (e.g. use of Gold) and by recognising cultural events (e.g. Lunar New Year which 49% would like to see Australian companies celebrate). This doesn’t have to be an overt message but can simply act as a nod of understanding to Chinese culture.
Some of Australia’s biggest companies and events have been getting on board. Bastion China, the marketing and communications arm of Bastion Collective has assisted Australian organisations to build a local Chinese presence, including the Royal Melbourne Show whereby at last year’s event they launched a first-of-its-kind WeChat event app to attract new local Chinese audiences in the lead up to Chinese Golden Week. Success indicators included raising awareness amongst the local Chinese community and driving traffic and ticket sales for the event. The WeChat channel gained over 1,800 followers in less than four weeks. In the first two days of the Show the Mini-Program app had over 634 unique users for an average time on site of 5 minutes and 38 seconds, with the demographic aged between 18-39 years old, reflecting the international student community. Other functions included daily event listings, the ability to create a favourite menu to build a list of attractions and events to see and do prior to arriving at the Show, detailed information on all activities, locations and an interactive map that could filter according to attraction or service (such as toilets or ATMs). The WeChat Mini-Program used a unique QR code scanned into WeChat for easy access to the Royal Melbourne Show WeChat account.
The influence and purchasing power of China within our region and within our country will only continue to grow at a rapid rate. If your business is not prepared for this, you need to be.
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Bastion Collective is the largest independent communications agency in Australia. We exist to be the Bastion of Australian Ingenuity. Our integrated agency network allows us to deliver simple, original and resourceful communications solutions to our clients' complex problems. Bastion Collective clients can use us for one specialist service or our entire integrated offering, delivered through one central point of contact.
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