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  • Samantha Simard

A Look At Weixin’s Cognition-Based Branding

When you consider social media marketing from the perspective of individual and cognitive factors, one thing becomes clear extremely quickly: in order to execute a successful social media campaign or product, you must know your audiences. If you can’t connect with your audiences on a personal level in today’s crowded social media landscape, you’re going to get left behind. A fantastic example of thorough audience research and execution is Weixin.


Image credit: Wix.com


What is Weixin?


Weixin (pronounced “way-shin”) is a popular Chinese social networking app similar to WhatsApp in the United States or Line in Japan. Like those apps, Weixin allows users to send messages and share news and pictures using their smartphones. First introduced in 2011, Weixin has more than 300 million active users across China and other regions. Its parent company, Tencent, is worth $100 billion.


How Did Weixin Learn About Its Users?


Weixin has only enjoyed as much success as it has because it takes the time to fully understand the desires of its audience. The platform is targeted toward young, urban smartphone owners and boasts that it’s an “all-in-one” app. You can do everything on Weixin, from sending a picture to a friend to hailing a cab on the street, and that makes it very appealing to busy young people. If they can get everything they need out of one app, why would they ever bother using the others?


On top of that, Weixin is easy to use and keeps a stable audience flow by making third-party information inherently easy to access. If you want to record a message, all you have to do is hold down one button and talk, saving the trouble of typing Chinese characters. Want to open your own online store? Weixin can help you do that too, with only a few clicks. This type of interfacing makes users feel self-sufficient, and therefore they’re less likely to go somewhere else to fulfill their needs.


The app has also continued to introduce new functions and campaigns to satisfy the needs of its audience. For example, in January 2014, Weixin introduced a “Qiang Hongbao” or “Red Envelope” campaign in honor of the Chinese New Year. This campaign allowed users to fill a virtual envelope with cash and distribute it randomly to a group of recipients set up by a user. This was an exciting campaign for audiences that encouraged them to spend more time and money on the app.


Another function introduced in 2014 was “Didi Taxi”, a cab reservation system that spans 350,000 taxi drivers in more than 30 Chinese cities. This service allows Weixin users to reserve a cab within Weixin’s payment system, satisfying a niche need of its users while also training them to pay for things via Weixin. Teaching its users how to spend money within its hit app is great for parent company Tencent in the long run.


The Bottom Line


It’s clear from Weixin’s case study that making your social media product a part of your target audiences’ everyday routine turns it into a habit that’s hard for them to quit. Additionally, targeting mobile users will make your app or campaign almost impossible to escape no matter where your audiences are. These two factors are critical for initiating a behavior change in your audience, which can be anything from influencing a purchasing decision to enacting positive social change.


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