Montblanc, a German maker of watches and writing utensils, has created a game on the social network WeChat to increase brand awareness among Chinese consumers.
The new game, “Daban,” was developed in conjunction with Digital Luxury Group and launched on May 19. The name means “big boss” in English, and reflects Montblanc’s ideal consumer, a person who “behaves in line with the brand’s values of elegance, sophistication and leadership,” according to the company. To play the game, consumers must upload photographs of themselves or friends to the company’s WeChat app. Fellow users in the Montblanc community then rate the photo according to how well the individual displays the traits of a Daban. According to Luxury Daily, the game’s “mixture of user-generated content and follower involvement is a first for a luxury brand on WeChat.”
WeChat boasts about 396 million active users each month, and so has become a central channel for consumer awareness. The network’s relative privacy compared to other apps of its kind has also made it an important target for companies, according to Pablo Mauron, the China general manager at Digital Luxury Group, Shanghai.
“On top of the messaging features, WeChat provides brands with more and more interesting ways to engage with consumers, making it a compelling mobile communication/CRM tool,” Mauron said. “Contrary to Weibo, WeChat is a ‘closed’ social network where only users’ peers can follow one’s activity; thus giving Chinese netizens more privacy and allowing them to control their image.”
Mauron added, “The most important challenge on WeChat is to drive people’s attention beyond the personal communication features such as the text/voice messaging. Brands can push messages to their followers but don’t have a way to be visible directly in the social feed of WeChat called ‘Moments’ which is reserved to the end users.” He hopes that the Daban game will help educate consumers about Montblanc’s products while also providing a source of entertainment.
Brian Buchwald, cofounder and CEO of Bomoda, New York, also stressed the advantages of WeChat’s intimacy.
“It is a bit safer because WeChat is tied to people, not random user alias,” Buchwald said. “WeChat is more of a one-to-one mechanism, not like a YouTube or mass broadcasting.
“[But,] we’ve seen that the Chinese consumer has to believe that they can actually win,” he said. “Consumers are turned off if it’s a bait and switch with nothing else in return and the more expensive the prize, the less likely they think it is real.”
image credit: montblanc