RECon Asia 2010: Beijing Rising

The City of Beijing is looking to become the next major fashion center in Asia, and shopping malls like Raffles City Beijing are playing their part in that quest.
With “The Heart of Fashion” as its positioning statement, Raffles City is promoting itself as a destination for not only the local fashionable set, but also for foreigners working in the city and international travelers. That strategy is certainly evident in the first anniversary edition of the mall’s Raffles City magazine.

Even if you cannot read one Chinese character, the magazine’s cover draws you in with the promise of delivering content that will be relevant to you. It does it subtly, just by providing an English translation of the story headlines. Turn the page and you’ll find more lures: an interview with YEO Kee Whye, the managing director of CapitaMalls Asia, written in both languages. Opposite that is the contents page, also with translated text. But that’s where the in-depth English translation ends, and somehow it doesn’t really matter.

Raffles City Beijing’s marketing team was clever in providing only the English translation of the various magazine section and article headlines to highlight the breadth of the mall’s product mix. The rest of the text is in Chinese characters. Still, the essential information for any style experts with the willingness and ability to spend is there: the product image, the brand and the price. “Guess – ¥580” written below the picture of an animal-print belt, along with a detailed mall directory/map at the back of the magazine: what more do you need to know?

Instead of using valuable resources to publish a fully bilingual magazine for the off chance that an English-speaking shopper might want to sit down and read the articles therein, the mall’s marketers seem to have followed their instincts about how fashionistas really use style magazines. The latter are, for the most part, publications that are image-heavy and made to be flipped through, tagged, talked about with friends and perhaps even taken apart to produce fashion tear sheets in preparation of a future shopping trip. So why not give customers what they want, namely page after page of fashion images, style updates and key information for shopping?

Other malls wanting to attract a culturally diverse local audience, as well as foreigners, might be wise to follow Raffles City Beijing’s lead. Spend your marketing dollars where it counts most. You’ll probably end up with more effective campaigns.

Keep an eye out for the last Tactics edition of the year in which we’ll recap the 2010 RECon Asia Conference, celebrate the winners of the ICSC 2010 Asia Shopping Centre Awards and bring you more ideas to enhance your marketing programs. Also, mark your calendars: the next RECon Asia conference will take place November 2-4, 2011 in Shanghai, China.

Myriam Beaugé, Editor in Chief, Tactics Magazine

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