Preparing a Client Consumer Safari in Shanghai – it’s what we do!


Exciting times, as the Resonance SMART team gears up for one of our special Consumer Safari tours in Shanghai.  Our Consumer Safaris are specially designed client immersions, designed for international teams to understand their China challenge ‘in full context’.

Sometimes to get a ‘head start’ on your China marketing you need something ‘out-of-the-box’.  Our responsibility is to identify local insight in natural and intuitive way.  Our most direct way to do this – and coincidently, our favourite – is a SMART Consumer Safari.

Over many years, I have had the privilege of designing client immersions in China and around the world.  Including Shanghai, Chengdu, Kunming, Jinan in China; and in Moscow, Paris, Dubai, Bangalore, Tokyo and Melbourne internationally.   While this sounds exciting, it is arguably one of the most challenging activities to organise and implement as a researcher.

The purpose of a SMART Client Consumer Safari

The value of a Client Consumer Safari is to view your marketing/branding challenge from the day-to-day perspective of your target consumers – you must ‘walk a mile in their shoes’, to truly know them.

So we go to the places and environments that shape their day-to-day, engage with influences that are shaping their decisions, and finding intuitive ways to understand where the category is going next.

Do give you example of the experiences we consider and why –

  • we took a fragrance brand team to some of the ‘stinkiest’ parts of the city, so they could understand the full cultural context of ‘smelling good’
  • we organised a sensory-deprivation chamber session for music based client, juxtaposed with visits to places ‘full of noise’ – so they could understand psychologically understand the role of music in a contemporary Chinese cities
  • we took a insurance brand team on a roller coaster, so they could think about ‘risk’ in a new and inspiring way

The guiding logic is to create profound and realistic experiences that will provide stronger unity between local and international teams, combined with inspiration that will create creative and innovative responses to challenges and opportunities in China.

But, it needs to be expertly planned and organised

As opposed to ‘tourism’, this is immersion with a clear focus and objective.

Clients are given specific cultural exercises to complete as part for their immersion, their observations are then collated, and used as stimulus to create on of our, somewhat intense, Localization Workshops – where we turn observations and raw responses into brand action.

Apart from providing a clear context for immersion, logistic planning of the client’s journey through the city is also essential to success.  This weekend, I walked through over  ‘the course’ of this week’s upcoming safari, many times to ensure all considerations have been considered.

In this context, clients are able to more ‘fully immerse’ and gain full value form their experience.  An example of this is a haircare client we took around Shanghai, the most vital observation came in a local store, where a thatched broom provided a new way to talk about hair damage to Chinese consumers.

Sometimes you have to lose yourself to the local context – that is our objective with Consumer Safari.  Something our clients are delighted we ‘sold’ them on.

So, as always, the SMART team is primed and ready for our next Safari on Wednesday.

About Author

Jerry Clode

Jerry Clode is Head of Digital & Social Insight at Resonance. He leads Resonance SMART, providing leading-edge research, strategy and naming for brands in China using bespoke methodologies. Jerry also produces Resonance's popular China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly publication covering modern marketing methods of the world's top brands.

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