ELLEfit and WeChat: a perfect fit

Yan, who was one of FIPP’s Rising Stars in Media in 2016, will be one of 40+ international speakers at FIPP Asia-Pacific, taking place 27-28 September in Singapore. Discounted, Early Bird registration for the conference is available until 15 August. Click here to take advantage of the offer or contact Claire Jones or Natalie Butcher if you are interested in discussing a custom package for a delegation (5+ people) to the conference.

Chen Yan ()

Tell us how the ELLEfit brand was established in China and the role it plays there for the overall Elle brand…

ELLE actually entered the China market in 1988 and has always lead high fashion and lifestyle trends among Chinese customers, while trying to inspire a better life balance for China’s women. In 2011 ELLE launched a marketing project called “RUN as ELLE”. It started from co-operating with Nike – we were trying to recruit women with an interest in sport and particularly in running, to bring them to the San Francisco half marathon. That aroused great interest from other brands and users as well. The Chinese market is seeing more females invest not only in luxury goods but also their personal health, body and lifestyle. And the Chinese government is encouraging major developments in the sport economy right now. So as the trend leader, we transformed RUN as ELLE into an independent product, called ELLEfit. It is a user-driven project that provides events, premium sports lifestyle content and social connections, offering not only media value to both advertisers and consumers but also inspiration for a trendy, sporty lifestyle overall.

So a big element of the project is about building a community. How are you using WeChat to grow that community and engage new audiences?

WeChat is a starting point for ELLEfit as a new and independent project and is playing a very important role for us. WeChat now has more than 0.7 billion active users monthly, which equates to more than half of the Chinese population. It’s an instant messenger application on mobile, which integrates functions like payments, sharing and news updates. So it plays both a media and social role now. Because of this, and given that ELLEfit’s goal is to reach the young generation interested in a trendy, sporty lifestyle, who are active on mobile phones, it’s a very good fit for us. Interestingly, there are some differences between the Chinese market and the western market in terms of sporty lifestyle for women. China’s women for example follow diet and fitness trends under more peer pressure. They require more connections with a group of people who share the same targets. So they care more about the sharing and the social function when it comes to pursuing a sporty lifestyle. This, again, makes WeChat a good fit for that market. 

So you feel the audiences want to be as much part of a group as they want to receive content — to be group members who share into their community as much as just consuming useful and interesting content?

Yes, exactly. That’s why we started with WeChat — to recruit people who really care about sharing and who show an interest in in the lifestyle we promote on WeChat.

How does your WeChat content differ from content on other channels and platforms?

So this year WeChat is core to what we do. We are trying to create different content for different channels, which at the end all links back to WeChat. WeChat is the dominant platform. We will still have content for magazines and we have our ELLEfit channel on ellechina.com. But we will revise or adjust it into more social content for WeChat so that the users can actually interact with us. We have more interaction and instant feedback from users on WeChat, which encourages people to share the content and become more involved.

Do you see the ELLEfit brand expanding further, based on the model you have created in China?

In May I was in the UK for the FIPP London Media Tour (FIPP Tours) and I was talking to our Hearst UK colleagues –they are working on an ELLEfit channel but with the focus on running. And earlier this year I spoke to our ELLE brand team from France and they also have ELLEfit running events. So we were talking about co-operating on an international level, maybe starting with running because it has a bigger audience base. Maybe we will have these international events, initiated by ELLEfit.

Learn more about how ELLEfit uses WeChat as its core platform at FIPP Asia-Pacific in Singapore, taking place 27-28 September. 

Discounted, Early Bird registration for the conference is available until 15 August.

Click here to take advantage of the offer.

Or contact Claire Jones or Natalie Butcher if you are interested in discussing a custom package for a delegation (5+ people) to the conference.

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