KFC has officially announced a collaboration with Tencent’s QQ, ostensibly with the aim of connecting with China’s youth consumers – which are known locally as the post-90s.
Recently, Resonance China produced a CSBR report focussed on how KFC had successfully connected with local netizens through a fresh digital ecosystem. In a further step to entrench their youth credentials, KFC will collaborate with Tencent’s QQ (an earlier version of WeChat with a younger audience) to introduce co-brand product bundles, co-brand stores and co-brand emojis.
ACTUALLY, THIS IS QUITE HUGE, READ ON
Firstly – KFC will offer family ‘hangout’ packs with QQ cards, that family member can then use on the QQ social platform to purchase VIP services and membership.
Secondly, KFC will decorate 5000 stores with QQ themes and imagery – imitating in real life, the communities netizens enjoy online – creating a “QQ KFC WORLD”. According to a spokesperson for QQ, these co-brand store will combine “dining, socialisation and entertainment”. Also the two brands will create online stores together.
Thirdly, the fast-food brand and social network will create their own emojis – emoticons used for online conversations. Imagine this – “I like you, like I like (drumsticks)” or “I totally ‘potato and gravy’ that”!
This co-brand is as fresh as french fries, but here’s our view
KFC has bravely marked the brand’s intention to engage as a category leader for Chinese youth – the post 90s.
KFC is looking to leverage QQ’s user base of 860 million whose most active users are below the age of 25 – a cool medium owned by youth, unlike Tencent (which has a broad demographic) and Weibo (which has a older, more post-80s). Also attractive, is the fact that QQ, despite being a longer-standing platform, has maintained its profile of creating communities based on shared interests/hobbies and providing unique games.
In this environment, KFC can express a new level of spontaneity and freshness, not possible on other platforms. The community focus of QQ is arguably in line with KFC’s traditional focus on friendship and family.
However, this is a potential flaw in the plan. KFC, that has just recovered from food and quality scandals, may find QQ diminishes, to an extent, their role as a category leader. That is, their communication of trust is in part about community, but at another level is about professionalism and expertise. These qualities (reassurances) are an essential part of communicating ‘safe fast food’ in China – arguably this message is more difficult to communicate through a co-brand with a social network focussed on fun and casual chatting.
So, watch this space, certainly looking forward to those emojis and the co-brands stores.
I will write a fuller analysis of this ‘China’s co-brand of the year (so far)’ next week – keep it locked to SBW.