China 2016: INSIGHTS | CULTURAL STRATEGY
by PANOS DIMITROPOULOS
MOVING FROM MASS CONFORMITY TOWARDS INDIVIDUAL DISTINCTIVENESS
Director of Cultural Strategy
For many years the two anchors in Chinese people’s lives (Confucianism and Communism) have promoted conformity as the desired, safe way of going about life. However, as the macro socio-economic conditions change, values and aspirations are starting to shift. People are becoming more exposed to Western views on individualism and the desire to express a distinct identity from parents and peers.
Today’s China is buzzing with progressive ideas – imported, home grown or both, increasingly revolving around the idea of self. Aspirations are no longer bound to the conformity of one’s role within the group, but are evolving toward a more personal and empowering horizon. As a result, we are seeing more lateral thinking practised and individual expressions encouraged – from acts of creativity to small disruptions of rules.
This growing shift towards individualism can be a powerful tool for more emergent and premium brands that want to connect with consumers. Indeed, some brands are already tapping into this phenomenon across all areas of communication including packaging, events, digital and advertising. For example in above the line communications the trend is to focus on a person’s story and aspirations with visual compositions centred around him/her, documentary style cinematography and copy that uses words like “I”, “me”, “my dream”, and so forth. Ultimately we are now discovering tailor-made products and services that allow individuals to express themselves in a more personal, customized way that showcases their true inner emotions and desires.