How Brands Can Make The Most Of Chinese New Year And Celebrate It

4th February 2021

As Chinese New Year (CNY) approaches, Chinese people across the world prepare to celebrate the most significant festival in the Chinese calendar that dates back to the time of the Chinese Emperors. The CNY is also referred to as the Lunar New Year, which links to the calendar that was established by the emperors, even today the old zodiac calendar is still followed.

The ancient tradition of CNY represents a significant opportunity for western brands to engage with Chinese consumers and demonstrate an understanding of Chinese culture. In this article, we explore the traditions of the Chinese New Year, the custom of exchanging red pockets, how brands can make the most of it and our very own account support executive’s perspective of CNY the perspective.

How Chinese New Year Is Celebrated

Chinese New Year is the most important event on the Chinese calendar due to its significance within Chinese culture. This significance is underlined by the length of the holiday in China, which totals 15 days and is observed as a national holiday.

The celebrations begin on the 9th, three days before Chinese New Year. Preparations are made for a good and prosperous year ahead by cleaning and tidying the house to clear out any bad spirits and energy that has accumulated throughout the previous year. Following on from this, everyone is free until the 11th, which is a day before CNY, during this time it is customary to eat as a family. By eating as a family, the Chinese tradition of togetherness is being observed. It is believed that as long as you have heart, being late is not a problem as you still have the intention to spend time with your family, the people you love and care about.

New Year’s Day is a central day of the celebration with various important practices. The day focuses on remaining pure; no meat is eaten, and a vegetarian diet is observed as killing is not permitted as this would spoil the purity. In a further symbol of purity new clothes and shoes are worn to represent the fresh start offered by the new year ahead. There is also a tradition of handing out red pockets to children, which we will explore in the next section.

Gifting Of Red Pockets

During the Chinese New Year celebrations red pockets are handed out to children. The pockets used to contain good luck messages, but they have been since modified to hold money. This helps them to carry luck that they have gained in the previous year into the new year. It is believed that carrying forward this luck will help to ensure that they have a prosperous new year. The red pockets are traditionally given to the younger generation by the older generation in an exchange of good fortune for the new year.

The Chinese tradition of gifting red pockets presents a unique opportunity for brands to reach and connect with Chinese consumers wherever they are in the world. There is definitely a clear opportunity here for product sampling to take place with the red pockets. Freebies are very popular among Chinese consumers, so adding a coupon/discount code in a red pocket is a truly unique opportunity to connect with Chinese consumers and demonstrate that your brand has an understanding and appreciation of Chinese culture. If a brand was to do this it would be seen to be giving luck to its customers. This is a marketing tactic that has been employed by many Chinese brands who give codes every year at Chinese New Year. By doing so, these brands have built a very loyal base of customers while also significantly increasing their sales.

Danny’s Perspective Of Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is very familiar to our very own account support executive, Chi Kit Zhong (Danny), he is delighted to share his perspective on the celebrations:

CNY gives time for everyone to get together regardless of the situation that everyone finds themselves in. Especially after a difficult 2020 it has never been more important. It is possible to be there for your family at this tough time even if you can’t be there in person – if you are there by soul that is equally as good.

Togetherness is key in Chinese tradition which is based around family values and keeping everyone closer together. Throughout the rest of the year everyone is living busy lives and as people often live further apart it is impossible to see everyone. CNY with its customary 15-day holiday where people are not required to work provides Chinese people the opportunity to get together with their families.

The year ahead is the year of the ox, which is set to be a hard-working year. The ox pulls the plough, so there is likely to be a hard year ahead. This links to the challenging 2020 that we have had.

How Brands Can Make The Most Of Chinese New Year

Brands have a significant opportunity to make the most of Chinese New Year as an opportunity to target Chinese consumers in the UK including migrants, students, tourists and British born Chinese people. So, how can your brand make the most of Chinese New Year in your marketing efforts?

Bring the bright red colour that Chinese people associate with Chinese New Year, this will help your brand feel familiar and in line with Chinese traditions. For this year, a brand could integrate an ox into their graphics, this will show that you have completed your research and have engaged with their culture.

CNY is also a time where getting the basics right can make all the difference, getting your copy professionally translated into Chinese will help Chinese people feel included. It is not always possible to directly translate text from another language including English into Chinese as words and particularly combinations of words can mean something entirely different.

As togetherness is the central theme to Chinese New Year, brands that have products/services that appeal to families have an amazing opportunity to reach Chinese consumers at what can be the ideal moment. Brands with a lesser appeal to families do not need to be left behind as they can build their marketing strategy around togetherness to appeal to Chinese consumers.

Why not base your advertising strategy around the popular Chinese app WeChat? This is popular in the Chinese communities around the world including in the UK. For the British Chinese community, they are often present on mainstream marketing channels including the social media channels, Google and other media outlets.

We Can Help You Reach Chinese Communities

The GottaBe! Ethnic team are ready to help you reach Chinese consumers. Businesses in every sector/industry can benefit from targeting the Chinese community, with lower competition and often lower customer acquisition costs, it can be a lucrative move for your brand. Contact us today to find out how we can help you target the Chinese community with innovative marketing campaigns. Call us on +44 2380 634283 or complete our contact form.

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