In an exclusive interview with WARC, Song Dan, assistant and general manager of the brand department of Red Star Macalline Group, discussed how to use the platform attributes of Red Star Macalline to create the blunt power of the back-end brand under their "brand cone" model, and then Coupled with category-driven, continuous content construction and other methods, it will prepare for the early traffic flow for B-end brand owners, and finally pass the sales conversion in the overall closed loop through the "cone tip".
WARC: Red Star Macalline is the leading brand in the domestic home furnishing industry. We found that it is actually different from some international brands entering China. Could you first introduce Red Star Macalline in this big market environment? What's the difference?
Song Dan: The operating model of Red Star Macalline is as a platform. It co-prospers and coexists with tens of thousands of brands and merchants on the platform. The relationship between the two parties is very close, and many sales and marketing activities are carried out together. Let's face consumers together. For low-frequency purchase categories such as home furnishing, it is not cost-effective for merchants to make specific brand content and marketing investment by themselves. Therefore, the brand investment link should be done by platform operators, which is also a basis for the formation of brand promotion and marketing concepts in the home furnishing industry.
The model of Red Star Macalline cannot be copied abroad, and the model of international brands such as IKEA cannot be copied by others. IKEA is an invoicing model, and everything is IKEA brand. These two different operating models directly determine that the two brands will not form competition, but the advantage of the two brands' preference for opening stores together is that consumers can visit both stores in one go.
The model of Red Star Macalline is overall support and empowerment. For example, in the field of commercial real estate, and even electrical appliances shopping malls, brand owners only lease a space, but home furnishing shopping malls are more than that.
Red Star Macalline obtains a considerable part of consumer traffic through its own platform. In our "brand cone" model, the last point, that is, the promotion of the final sales, falls on each brand owner.
Red Star Macalline does a lot of things to promote brand manufacturers to sell goods. The core of the home furnishing industry, to some extent, is that the leading platform of the channel guides the brand, marketing, and flow generation and transmission direction of the entire industry. When we talk about co-prosperity and symbiosis or an ecology, it is not an adjective, it is actually done.
WARC: Can this brand cone be understood as a downed marketing funnel? How to understand the use of "blunt force" and "sharpness" to describe the top and bottom of the funnel respectively?
Song Dan: Just like when we make a hole in the wall when we decorate our home, a nail cone goes in. The tip of the cone is sharpness, which represents marketing transformation, and the back part of the cone is blunt force, which can be understood as the core of culture. The transformation from this cultural core to the previous part is like an awl.
The marketing funnel is a gradual process, reflecting the process in which traffic is cut and selected from large to small.
In the brand cone, blunt force represents the "cultural connotation" of the brand, including the brand's proposition, emotional appeal and symbolic meaning. The penetrating power and the possibility of instant response to the market are aimed at the final sales, traffic operation, and traffic conversion.
Therefore, the brand cone reflects the brand equity and brand influence system organized by the thickness of brand culture and the sharpness of brand communication, and is an organic whole composed of blunt force and sharpness.
Red Star Macalline has done a lot of content in building the brand and marketing structure. To achieve a communication between the cultural core and the minds of consumers is to use a very large blunt force to transmit it to the tip of the cone to form transformation. , and actually guide all kinds of traffic to manufacturers, and finally sell the goods, not just to form a brand concept, but to attract consumers.
The home furnishing industry is not like fast-moving consumer goods. It is enough to establish a brand and then sell your own products. It is a platform. After it has established a blunt brand to attract various brands, it must use various methods to attract consumers. Come to the mall.
But in our audience, consumers are only the outermost part of the closed loop. The sales figures on the Red Star Macalline report do not come directly from consumers’ purchases, but from one brand manufacturer after another on the B-end. Therefore, we want brand manufacturers to feel at ease and willing to open stores on our platform, and to allow more and different new shopping malls to open. This means that many of our strategies not only attract and communicate with consumers, but also attract and communicate with B-end dealers and manufacturers.
WARC: How does the brand cone model accurately distribute traffic to various brand owners, and help Red Star Macalline influence the conversion rate of the C-end through them?
Song Dan: First of all, we will directly contact C-end users, complete all communication and attraction methods on C-end, and then import these traffic to B-end brand manufacturers.
For example, the M+ high-end design competition we do is combined with the Dunhuang IP. Through this IP, we can influence well-known big-name designers, and then through well-known designers, we can influence small and medium-sized designers distributed across the country. Designers are the first step in home improvement consumption. Well, after this activity has done a good job of blunt force and cultural connotation, it will affect our specific shopping malls, and the traffic of these shopping malls has been improved due to this activity.
Next, from the point of view of dealers, whether the shopping mall can capture the traffic and realize the conversion by introducing designer resources, depends on the dealer’s ability to undertake, the cooperation plan with the designer, the influence of the brand, etc. Wait. Therefore, there is no such thing as traffic distribution, but in "participation", the level and ability of traffic operation.
Designers in the event may also form cooperation with shopping malls, and then do a lot of detailed landing activities and promotions at this level. On the one hand, this can lead to bringing orders, and many related orders are brought into our shopping malls, and the shopping malls will do a lot of things to fully import different categories to different merchants. On the other hand, consumers will also see the interaction and communication between Red Star Macalline and C-end users through these activities, forming the perception that "Red Star Macalline designs for Dunhuang, and the designer must be very good".
WARC: When doing the M+ high-end interior design competition, why did you choose Dunhuang instead of other IPs, such as the Forbidden City, after all, the Forbidden City used to represent a residence?
Song Dan: Dunhuang reminds all Chinese people of classic traditional culture. It is a high-level artistic taste and presentation. This is not inconsistent with the "beauty of harmony" in our home culture. It also echoes at one point. Dunhuang's strong sense of culture and artistic status are highly compatible with Red Star Macalline's emphasis on art, pursuit of culture, and advocacy of taste. This means that the internal logic can be opened up, and the audience will also feel that our brand and activities are very tasteful and tonality deep in their hearts.
The Forbidden City is a very good classic IP, but it is also very standardized. We prefer to make customized content that suits us.
Dunhuang is relatively less commercialized. When we review the work we have done in Dunhuang in the past few years, we do not use it as a direct mutual empowerment with Red Star Macalline.
From the perspective of blunt force construction, these works are cultural public welfare acts, and then passed on to designers and then to specific consumers. We didn't use Dunhuang to name a specific product, as long as it can really affect the designer circle through it, that's enough.
WARC: Why does Red Star Macalline continue to accumulate assets in blunt force by creating IPs such as Family Day, Luban Festival, Dutiful Son Day, and Bosom Friends Day?
Song Dan: The traditional Loving Family Day, as well as the newly added Filial Son Day and Bosom Friends Day this year, were initiated by Mr. Che Jianxin, President of Red Star Macalline. These belong to the emotional direction, are direct communication with consumers, and are constant parts.
For example, the Love Family Day, which has been spread for more than ten years, everyone is full of longing for home when decorating their home; the Day of Filial Son, and the concept of filial piety, further extend the theme of loving family; , we invite Professor Liu Qing from East China Normal University as a spokesperson. He studies the role of ideas in human life and can combine young people with rich culture.
These are invariable things, and any company that wants to make a brand may use these methods.
Luban Festival is also an unchanging IP. The communication and content construction we do every year, while commemorating Lu Ban, set the cultural connotation of home furnishing on the attributes of this industry.
If a brand activity is only carried out for one year, it is an activity; if it is carried out for two or three years, it may be a marketing event; only if it persists for more than five years, can the brand name, image, symbol and connotation be called IP . The essence of IP is "intellectual property rights". To make a brand symbol into intellectual property rights must require long-term persistence and accumulation.
WARC: So how is the sharpness coordinated, especially under the so-called fragmented circle-based + interest-oriented trend?
Song Dan: Everyone is saying that consumers' hobbies and needs are changing, and they are becoming more and more subdivided. For our industry, no matter how it is subdivided, consumers are faced with a huge project when decorating. At this time, consumers have no need for subdivision or dusting, but are full of thoughts on how to quickly understand home decoration, design and pan-art, but also to promote projects and make many careful decisions. communicate. In this realm, there is no impulse buying.
Then, in such a decision-making group, there are major marketing opportunities. Red Star Macalline has also fully considered these, and it is most important to provide consumers with convenient service entry points so that consumers can better communicate in a complex environment.
In the past, consumers may have to visit five different shopping malls, but now they can obtain a large amount of more transparent information through the combination of online and offline. We value this very much. Marketing and branding methods are more focused on these aspects to guide and help consumers, including Red Star Macalline’s themed pavilions by category, such as sleeping pavilions. No matter how the needs of consumers change, they cannot be avoided. Mattresses, then you can go to the special sleep-themed pavilion to choose all the bedding in one go during the home decoration process.
Projects about categories are what the current home furnishing industry is focusing on. As long as consumers come in and complete sales on any product in a certain category, it is all right. As a brand manufacturer, as long as the traffic is attracted here, it doesn't really care whether the final transaction is its own product or not. When everyone is doing category activities together, there is no need for such detailed personalization, because consumers can maintain a relatively long-term relationship with all merchants and Red Star Macalline after entering the system of Red Star Macalline.
High-end, tasteful, and cultural connotations are the core keywords of our brand. To maintain the high-end and tasteful cognition of Red Star Macalline in the hearts of the public, it is necessary to focus on the two dimensions of the consumer end and the home furnishing industry ecology. All reflect the role of Red Star Macalline in the entire industry, so many of the communication, propositions and activities we do are not only for ourselves, but also for the entire home ecology. Only by standing at the height of the whole industry can we always become the "highest-end" and trustworthy.
WARC: Red Star Macalline created the concept of "super traffic field". How do you understand the omni-channel, full-cycle, and full-scenario user operation and conversion work under this concept, especially the full-link consumption of membership value you mentioned?
Song Dan: The so-called super traffic field refers to a set of systematic methodology from traffic acquisition to traffic operation and realization. It is hoped that through it, consumers can be found and acquired more efficiently in the home improvement retail industry, and the whole scene, the whole chain Ways to transform consumers in our field.
The whole scene refers to the demand group in various consumption scenarios. Our target consumers exist in three types of scenarios: new house decoration, secondary decoration or partial renovation, and furniture renewal. New house decoration involves the longest consumption link, involving many categories.
Full link refers to a consumer's consumption process of all categories from 0 to 100 in the process of home decoration.
We hope that we can meet the needs of consumers in all scenarios on the whole link, and hope that consumers will continue to complete all purchases in our malls.
This is the purpose of our full-cycle membership consumption. Although home improvement is heavy and low-frequency consumption, the consumption chain is very long, the consumption cycle is also long, and there are many types of consumption.
WARC: The home furnishing industry is an industry highly related to real estate and epidemic prevention policies. To a certain extent, under the trend of rebounding consumption after the epidemic and the decoupling of the home improvement industry from real estate, Red Star Macalline is actually living very well and has been expanding. One of the predictions of the industry is that in the future, there will be a new trend of "real estate as a supplementary, service-oriented", but what cannot be ignored is the external economic downturn environment. How will Red Star Macalline go through the cycle?
Song Dan: Retail sales will definitely be affected by the epidemic, but the basic demand of the home furnishing industry is still strong. After the real estate market entered the stock market, the consumer demand for the renovation of the original house began to grow, and we had to provide more detailed services. Now that the industry is making great efforts to tap the stock market, our strategy proposes "emphasis on operations", and operations are unprecedentedly important in our strategy.
In the past, we talked about the need to expand our territory, and put all kinds of heavy operation methods into our nearly 500 shopping malls, and put them into what we should do at this stage.
On the C side, we have good emotional communication with consumers and introduce traffic through various activities, but we need to pull it out in a very detailed way, and we need to discover newer consumer needs. For example, there were no large quantities of electrical appliances in the Red Star Macalline store, and people went to Gome, Suning and other places to buy major appliances, but now we have all of them here, and made high-end electrical appliances Red Star Macalline's first One category, core category.
This is to change according to changes in consumers. In the past, buying electrical appliances may be a single product, and it is expensive. Now if consumers want to devote all their efforts to remodeling a modern and upgraded kitchen, they may go to the high-end electrical appliance shop of Red Star Macalline and install it in one go.
In the past, Red Star Macalline gave consumers the impression that it was a home furnishing brand. Many of the established brands were more famous and had higher market value than Red Star Macalline. But after we subdivide the high-end electrical appliances hall, when well-known brands enter, they will regard Red Star Macalline as their first channel.
WARC: How can these big brands settle in the high-end electrical appliances hall?
Song Dan: At present, basically all the big electrical appliances brands at home and abroad have entered our high-end electrical appliances hall. Our cooperation is a rental model, not a sales commission model. After renting our venue, the sales volume will belong to the brand manufacturer.
In addition, we will also customize a large number of marketing activities for these brands. During this process, consumers' minds are slowly permeating, and they will understand that Red Star Macalline's high-end electrical appliances hall is a comprehensive one-stop shopping venue.
WARC: In response to the current stratification of home furnishing consumers, Red Star Macalline has laid out three types of stores: benchmark shopping malls, No. 1 stores, and supreme malls, and accelerated the creation of ten-category theme pavilions such as smart appliances, international imports, and soft furnishings. This makes brand building more complicated and diverse to a certain extent. Is it a challenge for the brand department?
Song Dan: The purpose of different store formats is to target different consumers, different city levels, and the division of different shopping malls at the level of physical attributes such as brand structure, hardware facilities, and market location. For example, Supreme Mall is set up in first- and second-tier cities, and the malls are full of imported brands and domestic first-tier brands; Yihaodian is a mall with a larger volume and more complete categories in first- and second-tier cities. Different stores can enjoy the brand bonus brought by the Red Star Macalline brand.
Theme pavilions are more aimed at the B-end, because we will form different strong categories in different shopping malls during the operation process, which will form different attractions for dealers and brand factories. In addition, the theme pavilion makes the shopping malls form obvious blocks, minimizes the value difference between good locations and bad locations, attracts consumers with categories, and minimizes the difference in customer acquisition capabilities between brands, so that Brands develop more evenly.
WARC: Under the upsurge of "sustainable development", rational consumption makes customers more willing to choose responsible companies. Does Red Star Macalline have any unique practices in this regard? From a marketing perspective, what do you think brands can do to encourage users to take a sustainable path? Is there a balance between higher prices and environmental responsibility?
Song Dan: In our industry, the first point is environmental protection. And this environmental protection has two meanings, one is energy saving and emission reduction, and the other is health. People are willing to pay added value on this, because the health of the body is very important.
In Red Star Macalline, there is an important practice of "green leadership" for many years. That is to say, the products entering our shopping malls must first meet the national standards, and then we will authorize some of the merchants as "green leading enterprises". These enterprises cooperate with CQC (China Quality Certification Center) by Red Star Macalline Enterprises that meet this higher standard after regular random inspection of products by the State Administration for Market Regulation. I also especially suggest that when consumers come to Red Star Macalline to shop, they should pay more attention to whether the merchants have the "green leader" logo. They have all gone through more stringent tests in terms of environmental protection.
Consumers may have different subdivisions in terms of personalized aesthetics, but in terms of health, there are no differences among people all over the world, so green environmental protection is a core point. Red Star Macalline has also invested a lot of energy in doing it, and it is operated by The department and CQC cooperate to promote it, rather than the brand department. In other words, we are not just showing off to consumers, but we are actually cooperating with the National Resource Center as a project and implementing it in shopping malls.
As soon as the epidemic broke out in 2020, we immediately implemented measures such as rent reduction and support for merchants, but I personally feel that no matter whether we do public welfare donations, or when it comes to Dunhuang IP, when it comes to our art, humanities and mental construction, all of these will be discussed. , If something goes wrong with environmental protection, everything is meaningless.
WARC: At present, many ODM and OEM manufacturers have strong brand capabilities, and have successively made branding and supply-side enhancements. However, at the same time, the demand for complete decoration in the market is decreasing. Taken together, will the competition in the home furnishing industry become more intense? How do you think the furniture industry will change in the next 5-10 years?
Song Dan: Manufacturing brands such as OEM and OEM are on the rise, and they even try to grow a category. But no matter what you do in the home furnishing industry, there is no way to make a scale with just one product.
Going back to the biggest pain point of consumers, it is actually efficient, convenient, and high-quality services. In terms of high quality, environmental protection and artistry must be taken into account, and a series of problems must be solved for consumers. On the one hand, the proportion of self-owned houses is increasing, and the proportion of stock is increasing. Consumers may have more personalized and specific needs. We can meet these, and we will cooperate with more designs in the future to work with our teachers and have them set up studios in our malls.
On the other hand, Red Star Macalline's online and offline integration and home improvement integration also serve for changes. Consumers can not only come to the mall, but also buy through online channels such as live broadcasts. Home decoration integration means that consumers not only buy a single product, but directly connect with the home decoration company in the mall for a home decoration system. For us, the entrance is always here. For consumers, they can come to me when they buy anything; for brand manufacturers, Red Star Macalline is their first channel, and this logic has not changed until now.
WARC: Compared with previous years, will there be any changes in marketing investment in 2023?
Song Dan: Our overall state is a state of attacking and rushing forward. The cold winter or the epidemic has no obvious impact on us in a general direction. The first big promotion in 2023 is already in preparation.