VELVET and XNode Announce Official Strategic Partnership

VELVET is excited to announce an official strategic partnership with XNode Co-working Space and Startup Accelerator.

VELVET and XNode have worked together on several key collaborations since 2015 and this announcement marks a new chapter in our continued partnership. Through the partnership, VELVET will continue to connect the network of XNode startups with board-level brand executives visiting China on learning expeditions to observe Chinese innovation. VELVET’s clients will also gain unlimited access to XNode’s massive startup network in China. In addition, VELVET and XNode will co-organize exclusive, qualitative events at XNode venues throughout Shanghai with the aim of uniting brand executives with China’s foremost innovators and startups.

The first event will take place on Thursday, March 31 in Shanghai. The exclusive gathering will feature guest speakers from Carlipa, the leader in connected, luxury retail experiences, speaking about omnichannel and O2O marketing best practices.

About XNode

XNode was founded to be the center of innovation in Greater Shanghai, with five prime location spaces in central Shanghai by the end of 2016: Fudan University, Jing’an Temple, North Bund, Zhang Jiang Hi-Tech Park and Donghu Road. Our vision is to source, filter, identify, mentor, and accelerate high-caliber startup ventures that possess the passion and ability to create scalable businesses that will disrupt traditional sectors. We plan to do this by providing each team with not only first class space, but relevant mentorship, financial investment and business support.

XNode focuses on building international entrepreneur communities by setting up close or exclusive partnerships with global leading incubators and accelerators. In addition to offering VC/PE/Angel investor access and mentorship, XNode links startups with major Chinese corporations and top professional service firms i.e. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, King&Wood Mallesons, etc. through the Corporate Innovation & Incubation program.

More information: www.thexnode.com

About VELVET

VELVET is a China-born, French-led digital strategy and activation agency serving luxury and premium brands. VELVET’S core expertise include social media, influencer marketing, media planning and buying, search marketing, strategic consulting, corporate training and learning expeditions.

2015/2016 Snapshot of Digital & Luxury in China

2015 was a watershed year for digital innovation in China. For the first time, China became more than another market or the source of cheaply manufactured goods. Instead, it was at the center of innovation for digital communication strategies and technologies. We’ve gathered some of the year’s highlights in this field, as well as our predictions for 2016 and put them into a PDF. We’ve included our Top 5 Innovative Campaigns, Top 5 Social Media Moments, Top 5 Platforms To Watch, and Our 5 Predictions for 2016. We hope you enjoy and share it!

Click here to download the PDF: 2015/2016 Snapshot of Digital & Luxury in China (pdf)

Interview with VELVET CEO Patrice Nordey: Digital Strategy for Fashion

On November 6th, 20 young professionals gathered in an intimate setting at 10 Corso Como on West Nanjing Road, to participate in a lively discussion regarding Digital Communication trends in China. We were pleased to invite our guest speaker, Patrice Nordey, Founder and CEO of the Shanghai-based digital communication firm VELVET.

Patrice is a digital veteran with over 15 years of e-Commerce experience across Europe and Asia, and consults with international companies in the deployment of their Digital Marketing & Communication, Social Media, and e-Commerce strategies in China. He has consulted for L’Oréal, Richemont, Lane Crawford, Galeries Lafayette, Lagardère, Converse, Christian Louboutin, Hermès, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Kering and Puma.

Question 1: What type of agency are you and what kind of clients are you working with?

On one hand we serve as an agency, so we help clients execute communication and marketing content to their consumers, and on the other hand we work a lot on actually strategy for our clients. What makes us unique is that we are able to combine these two under one roof. We found that it was very difficult to advise on something like social media, if you have never operated your own accounts or executed a communication plan yourself. This has allowed us to work on both strategy and communication with most of the largest international luxury companies with operations in China.

Question 2: What keeps you awake at night?

The digital industry is very unstable and is constantly changing, so you really need to understand that the knowledge or techniques you know now, may actually be irrelevant in a few months. To last in this industry, you must continue to adapt your skills and update yourself on the most recent trends and technologies. Being flexible is also very important. Sometimes what you believe is not always true, so you need to be flexible and be willing to try new applications or methods, even if you are not comfortable with them yet.

Question 3: How do you see the Digital Landscape in China right now and over the next couple of years?

That’s very difficult to predict, however, I truly believe that we are only in the beginning stages of the digital industry in China. I have now been in China for over 10 years, and this is the first year that I’ve seen my clients look to China not just as another market, but instead as a center of innovation for digital communication strategies and technologies. They come here for inspiration, which is really encouraging to see.

I had a case in June, where a CEO of a global insurance company brought the top 200 executives of his firm to come to China for one week. During their time here, we spent two full days dedicated to helping them understanding the Chinese market, local entrepreneurs and startups, and the most recent trends in digital media and communication.

This is the first time that China has become the global destination for innovation, which is quite interesting and exciting to be part of.

Question 4: What type of skills, knowledge and attitude are you looking for when hiring new employees?

Let’s start with attitude. I think it’s very important to be a self-learner, because what you know now may be used less tomorrow, so you need to have the appetite for self-development and growth. I also think passion is a great engine; it will drive you to where you need to go. So when we recruit people, we try to look for people who are not only skilled in digital technologies, but also very passionate about digital media. In this industry, you can’t wait for people to come and give you facts or ideas, you need to go out and find them yourself.

In terms of skills, we always look for people who have relevant experience in digital communication. That way, when they come to work for us at Velvet, we can solidify their understanding of the first pillar of digital media, which includes Social Media, event advertising, CRM, e-Commerce and account management. Once you have solidified the first pillar, you can focus on the second pillar. The second pillar may be data analytics or another field that requires a deeper level of understanding.

To be an expert Digital Marketer, and to really progress in your career, it is essential to have a solid understanding and foundation in the first pillar. Only after this foundation has been developed, will you be able to become a consultant or advisor.

Question 5: Is there any role within the industry that you think is hard to find talent for?

I would definitely have to say digital strategy. From my perspective, there is no such thing as digital strategy, only strategy. I always tell my staff, we have one strategy, so how can digital support this overall strategy. So finding someone who can understand the overall strategy of the firm we are working with, and then successfully implement a digital strategy to complement the existing strategy, is the most difficult person to find.

Question 6: Any advice for people trying to enter the industry?

You should always follow your passion. There is nothing worse than trying to do something because you parents told you it will be good for your career. Secondly, it’s a very competitive world, so being ambitious and hardworking will take you a long way in your career.  To become successful requires a lot of work and there is no secret to becoming successful in the digital industry other than hard work.  Lastly, preparation is very important in this industry. I tell all my employees to start work early in the morning so that they are fully prepared for any questions our clients may have at the beginning of the day.

Question 7: What do you think is the next step for Luxury e-Commerce in China?

In China at the moment, very few luxury brands actually have their own e-Commerce platforms, over 90% of all luxury goods are sold on third-party applications or platforms at a discounted price. The goods are bought typically by a wholesaler and then sold online in China. So moving forward, the question is:  will there be a full-price luxury e-Commerce market in China.

A few years ago, one of the largest luxury department stores in the United States tried to launch a luxury e-Commerce platform in China, offering high-end luxury products from around the world at full-price. It took them over a year to launch the platform, and within six months of the launch, the business was closed.

This e-Commerce model already exists in Japan, Europe and the United States, but it will take some time before China is ready to accept this model, and only on certain conditions.

First, the company operating the e-Commerce platform needs to have an inventory of luxury products, which are relevant to Chinese consumers. Secondly, luxury companies need to work on creating a full lifestyle experience for their customers, not just selling products online.

Question 8: In China, WeChat is a very powerful and useful app, yet many foreigners outside of China have no idea that it exists. Do you think it would be better if everyone used the same social media platforms?

Social Media is a social tool and every culture and country has a different way of communicating. A platform like Facebook is used differently in the US, Japan or Indonesia, so I feel that we will still have this fragmented market for some time. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. To have a few large monopolies controlling the social media industry would definitely hurt innovation and creativity.

For example, in the late 90’s, one of the first social platforms was launched in Korea called Cyworld. It included something similar to a Facebook page, a place to listen and download music, and other functions that we have on our modern day social platforms. This platform drove a lot of innovation and inspired many other social platforms that we see today.

Regarding the global exposure of WeChat, the reality is that Chinese people are traveling more and more each year. Last year 100 million Chinese travelled abroad, by 2020, that number will rise to 200 million and the average traveller will spend more than three times what the average traveler spends now. Every time a Chinese traveler visits a foreign company, they bring WeChat with them.

(Interview originally published here.)

VELVET at Conde Nast Center of Fashion & Design

VELVET CEO Patrice Nordey speaks to an audience of young marketing professionals and entrepreneurs about Digital Marketing during the most recent Conde Nast Center of Fashion & Design meetup at 10 Corso Como in Shanghai. VELVET is an educational partner of the Center and will design and teach two courses this fall. (www.condenastcenter.com.cn)

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VELVET presents at Cashmere World Forum

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VELVET Group Founder and CEO Patrice Nordey recently spoke at the Cashmere World Forum which took place from October 5 to 7 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre. China is home to one of the biggest luxury markets, as well as 95 percent of the world’s supply of pure cashmere.

Nordey presented on how to reach China’s new generation of luxury consumers through digital marketing and e-commerce. Below are excerpts of the talk, as featured in a Jing Daily article on the forum:

“Digital is here to communicate but also to sell products,” said Nordey, who discussed the importance for luxury brands of “designing the consumer journey” through various touch points that include a mix of online and offline platforms. O2O strategies are especially important for luxury brands, he said, as “omnichannel is really becoming the new normal.” He outlined three key goals for an O2O strategy: increasing store foot traffic, enhancing point-of-sale experience, and sales conversion. A key way to enhance O2O campaigns for luxury brands is through WeChat, which “is really changing the digital landscape in China,” he said. The multitude of functions being added to WeChat, including payment systems, means the platform is “really starting to be a Swiss army knife.”

In addition to social marketing, e-commerce is also crucial for reaching Chinese consumers. According to Nordey, Chinese consumers’ above-average interest in buying fashion online means that the cashmere industry should be especially focused on e-commerce. “If you look at every market, the first category is consumer electronics,” he said. “In China, the first category is accessories, fashion, clothing—this is the first category. This is what people are buying online.”

(Read the full article here.)

VELVET x AXA Innovation Program

VELVET partnered with insurance leader AXA to deliver a digital innovation program including learning expeditions, keynote speakers and a Startups Demo Day with 15 up-and-coming Chinese tech companies. The program, customized for 200 senior level AXA executives, also involved Baidu, Sina Weibo, Dianping, PPDAI, Baozun and the newly opened co-working space XNode.

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Nice x MANGO

We’re excited to announce the launch of MANGO’s Nice account.

Now MANGO fans have another platform to view and share their favorite outfits.

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Below: Photo collection.

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Below: Nice photos from Mango fans.

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Follow MANGO on Nice

Step 1: Download the Nice app

Step 2: Search “MANGO中国”

Step 3: Follow “MANGO中国”

 

New Client Win: PUIG

We are excited to announce PUIG as a new client.

VELVET will serve as digital strategy advisory firm for the overall brand portfolio of PUIG in China, including fragrance and designer brands such as Prada, Nina Ricci, Valentino, Carolina Herrera and Paco Rabanne.

In addition, VELVET will be in charge of developing the social media presence of Nina Ricci in China, overseeing online campaigns, KOL relationships and O2O innovation projects.

Corporate Training: L’Oréal Vietnam

As part of its digital acceleration, L’Oréal APAC has partnered with VELVET to deliver advanced marketing training programs in 14 countries across the region. Since its inception, we have trained over 500 professionals within the organization, from managers to management committees.
Our last training was for L’Oréal Vietnam. The two-day program took place in Ho Chi Minh City and involved the participation of Facebook, Instagram and Google.

 

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