Maotai Spirit is one of the main liquor brands that are produced by Kweichow Moutai Winery. Kweichow Moutai Winery is a Chinese liquor firm that was founded in 1951 in the province of Guizhou. Since its introduction into the market, Maotai Spirit has largely been considered a luxurious product. The product is manufactured using sorghum and millet, a practice that has been very common in Maotai town for centuries. The product has gained massive popularity in the Chinese market and is currently seen as a national brand.
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It is common in many Chinese parties such as weddings, social events, birthday celebrations, or even in state ceremonies. Following the massive success of this brand in the Chinese market, it has become necessary to explore the American markets. The management of Kweichow Moutai Winery has decided to introduce the Maotai Spirit into the United States’ markets. In order to achieve success in this market, the firm will need appropriate campaign and media strategies that are relevant to this new market. This research will focus on developing superior campaign and marketing strategies that can be used in the United States’ market.
According to Shiring (62), when making an entry into a new market, it is always necessary to develop an effective campaign strategy that will inform the consumers about the existence of the product, and its superior attributes over the other existing brands. It is through this campaign that the consumers will learn to appreciate the value that a given product offers. The first step of developing a superior campaign strategy is to determine the consumer insights.
This means that the management of Kweichow Moutai Winery will start by conducting a marketing research in the American market to determine key consumer insights in this country. This way, it will be easy to determine the most appropriate approach that the campaign can take in this new market.
The first step in developing a campaign strategy for Maotai Spirit will be brand positioning in the target market. As Mackerras (19) says the first impression matters when introducing a product for the first time in the market. The image created by this marketing team when introducing the product in the market may last for a very long time. As mentioned previously, Maotai Spirit has always been positioned as a luxurious product in the home market. If the management wishes to maintain this positioning strategy in the American market, then it should design campaigns which demonstrate this idea.
The brand positioning statement should reflect the class targeted in the market. Care should be taken to ensure that the brand’s elements are aligned to the message presented in the product positioning. Logo is an important element of a brand that helps in its identification and differentiation from other brands. The marketing unit may decide to use the logo that has been in use over the years as long as it is sure such logos may not raise controversy in the new market. The slogan used in the new market may need a change.
According to Aaker (78), although China is currently the second largest economy in the world, the lifestyle in the United States is very different from that in China. A slogan that was successful in China may not necessarily work in the United States. In many cases, consumers always prefer a slogan that they can easily identify with based on their socio-economic and even political status. Another change may be needed is the color used in the product.
Color means a lot to people, especially the upper class members of the society that forms the main target of the Maotai Spirit brand that has been introduced into this market. Red is a popular color in China, but Grant (112) notes that blue is more acceptable in the United States than red. The graphics may also play an important role in the campaign. The figure below shows the former US President Richard Nixon having a toast of Maotai Spirit with Chinese Premier Chou Enlai.
Having such pictures in the campaigns will strengthen the message presented by the brand. A brand of alcohol that is trusted and valued by a person such as the US President is always believed to offer superior quality. Pictures always pass very strong messages. Having a picture such as the one shown in the figure above may be considered an endorsement by the celebrity. These changes in the brand will make it more acceptable in the new market.
The selling premise will have to be clearly defined in order to achieve the desired outcome. The campaign message for Maotai Spirit be more of emotional than rational. Many people want to feel emotionally high after taking alcohol. This is what the message should carry. It should promise a unique feeling in an emotional approach. This will directly have an impact on the brand positioning.
The emotional messaging strategy will help in convincing the target market that this product offers more than a pleasurable moment. It offers a whole new experience to those who use it. This will help in strengthening the brand positioning strategy discussed above. This is the most effective and authentic way of reaching out and engaging the target market in this new region. Emotional appeal sinks faster than a rational appeal. It also has a long lasting impression in the mind if it is properly modified.
Means-End Chain Chart
The chart below is a summary of various approaches that Maotai Spirit brand manager can use to make it gain a competitive edge in this new market.
As shown in the above diagram, issues such as message strategy, appeals, and message theme discussed in the previous sections, play an important role in enabling a firm to gain a competitive edge over its market rivals. On the strategies proposed in the Means-End Chain above, the use of a spokesman strategy may be relevant for a firm to gain a competitive edge over its market rivals. Product’s attributes such as the taste of the wine, its color, the size and shape of the bottle, among other traits should be clearly defined. This will make it easy for the customers to identify it among other brands in the market.
One of the ways of advertising that will be used by Maotai Spirit in the American marketing will be through newspapers. Although the number of people reading the newspapers has declined following the emergence of the social media, a good number of people still read them, especially the online newspapers. The following newspaper advertisement will be appropriate.
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Such an advert can be use in popular newspapers in the United States or Los Angeles Times. The targeted market still reads newspapers on regular occasions. However, it is important to ensure that this media strategy is supported by other strategies in order to ensure that a section of the market that is not reached by the newspapers is also taken into consideration.
Direct mail peace
According to Li (132), sometimes it may be necessary to contact the customers directly. Although this strategy may be irritating to some audience, it may help reach out to the customers who may have interests of knowing more about this firm. Jacobs (82) says that a mail piece is more appropriate when a firm is targeting specific customers in the market. The message should be designed to pass the needed information in a way that it responds to all the basic questions. The following catalogue will be appropriate for Maotai Spirit in the American market.
Radio commercials were very popular in the past, especially before the invention of television sets and the social media. However, this does not mean that it has become useless in the current society. People still listen to radios, and this means that radio advertisements are still relevant in our society. The management will select some of the popular radio stations in different regions within this country and develop an appropriate message based on the socio-cultural forces in these regions. The following statement will be appropriate for a radio commercial.
“Maotai Spirit, a product designed to offer a unique experience every time you take it. Brewed at the foot of Himalaya Mountains and bottled under great hygienic conditions, we offer the best quality liquor in the American market. Try Maotai Spirit and you will never be the same again.”
New Media Strategy
The social media has become a formidable force in the field of marketing. Viral marketing is currently thriving with the emergence of Instagram. People can share pictures of what they like with their families and friends. Instead of explaining in words, other people prefer using graphics in order to preserve the originality of their message. Kweichow Moutai Winery will need to use this new media strategy in order to reach out to a larger community in the American market.
To achieve this, it will be necessary to select the best graphics to use because the message will not be explained in words, but in the picture. In this new strategy, the picture will be tasked to pass the relevant message to the targeted audience. This means that the chosen picture must speak be self-explanatory. It should be free from any form of confusion, and if possible, it should be able to answer the questions that may be posed by the viewers. The following is the picture that this firm should start using in order to reach out to the target audience.
As shown in above, the picture clearly shows that this product can be used by both men and women. It also demonstrates a form of royalty and that it comes in different sizes and shapes.
Aaker, David. Brand Portfolio Strategy: Creating Relevance, Differentiation, Energy, Leverage, and Clarity. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2009. Print.
Grant, Marcus. Alcohol And Emerging Markets: Patterns, Problems, And Responses, New York: Routledge, 2013. Print.
Jacobs, Andrew. “Fake Liquors Flow as Demand Soars for China’s Fabled Sorghum Spirit.” The New York Times. 2011. Web.
Li, Feng. “The Challenges Moutai Faces When Developing Its UK Market.” American Journal of Industrial and Business Management 4.11 (2014): 1-5. Print.
Mackerras, Colin. The Cambridge Handbook of Contemporary China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. Print.
Shiring, Stephen. Professional Catering. New York: Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.