Going Deeper Than the Buzz: Letting the World Fall in Love with JiangXiaoBai
Corporate Branding Team
Just weeks ago, JiangXiaoBai, in collaboration with Tmall, made a splash at the world’s most renowned wine exhibition Vinexpo 2019 held in Bordeaux, France. Adapting a cool and refreshed manner not usually associated with Chinese traditional wine, JiangXiaoBai officially brought traditional Kaoliang liquor to the international scene.
China’s wine culture can be traced back to long ago, and traditional Kaoliang liquor (or Baijiu) flows in the blood of any true Chinese. But as west wine started to enter the market, Chinese millennials are opting for more variety, explaining the recent spike in the consumption of cocktails, red and white wine and beer. Chinese Baijiu’s strong taste, as well as its positioning, no longer meet the demand of millennials and Gen Zs. In their eyes, Chinese Baijiu only exists in the scene of banquets and business settings and is more suited for the older generation.
JiangXiaoBai, however, is committed to break this stereotype and has boldly set its eyes on the modern young Chinese as the brand’s target consumer group.
JiangXiaoBai’s booth at Vinexpo 2019. Note the rebellious graffiti-styled visual with traditional poetry imprinted on the backdrop.
Towards the end of 2012, with the enactment of laws related to the prohibition of over expenditure on official receptions, the sales of Baijiu saw a slump. Despite the bleak business environment, JiangXiaoBai successfully rejuvenated Chinese Baijiu and the long-standing perception that drinking Baijiu is only for the older generation through its innovative packaging and marketing communication. According to recent reports, JiangXiaoBai’s sales in 2018 has reached over 20 billion RMB.
Using the 4 Facets of Brand Positioning, let’s dive into how JiangXiaoBai successfully challenged the status quo of the industry.
Truth: Honoring Tradition, Innovating the Future
JiangXiaoBai originated from Chongqing, China. The region’s unique geographical location and weather conditions has nourished Chongqing’s long-standing wine culture. In terms of product design and brand positioning, however, JiangXiaoBai has been able to reinterpret tradition and come up with new and interesting ways to market itself. Based on the taste and preferences of the young modern consumer, the brand is making bold attempts in many aspects. In terms of taste, JiangXiaoBai feels lighter with a hint sweetness compared to the traditional Baijiu. The miniature bottle design with vivid quotes plastered on the bottle made by the cute mascot JiangXiaoBai, and the affordable price point has allowed the brand to capture a large following and loyal fanbase.
Vision: Bold Attempts, Subverted Expectations
Wine is quintessential to Chinese culture. If the younger generation of China fails to appreciate the beauty of Baijiu, then a huge piece of the country’s history would be lost. The challenge, and the appropriate question to ask, is whether tradition can be integrated into the modern context without losing its cultural significance. From its conception, JiangXiaoBai has been attempting to find the best way out of this compromise.
As an advocate for Baijiu, and the preservation of Chinese tradition at large, the brand is dedicated to reintroduce the practice to the new generation of Chinese youngsters through the reinvention of its taste and image. The brand also aims to bring a simple and care-free attitude while still honoring the past by integrating tradition into modern life. JiangXiaoBai’s booth design at Vinexpo this year – a graffiti of traditional poetry imprinted on the visual background - is the perfect embodiment of this dance of tradition and modern. The brand has opened the door to a new world by tailoring its brand image with the young consumer in mind.
Universe: The Embodiment of Emotion, Leisure and Entertainment
As part of China’s distinctive food culture, there are many subtle etiquette and rules attached to dining. In particular, it has a unique “wine table” culture. The act of drinking Baijiu has its quirky technicalities – seating arrangement around the table are predefined, starting from the main host, sub-host followed by the main guest and sub-guests.
The pace of city life is jarring. As the stress sets in, it’s hard not to feel lonely and lost. But this goes directly against the younger generation’s desire to be freed of restraint and yearning for freedom. JiangXiaoBai realizes the existence of this internal conflict in many young consumers, and molded the brand’s image after this sentiment. JiangXiaoBai’s vibrant messagins and slogans about spreading positivity and relieving stress is ingrained into its marketing communication – a direct attempt to address the emotional pain points of the modern young consumer.
By positioning itself as the go-to-choice of alcohol in social gatherings and get-togethers, the brand found a space to assimilate itself into universe of entertainment and leisure defined by the young generation of China. On weekend nights after a long work week, friends gather together for hotpot, enjoy good food accompanied with small cups of Baijiu. As the small group of close friends laugh and talk over food and wine, the worries and daily stress of being an adult momentarily melt away. In this sense, this universe created by JiangXiaoBai serves as a temporary escape and emotional vent for young working professionals.
Personality: Artfully Simple, Youthfully Cool
“JiangXiaoBai. Male. Handsome. The day he was born is his birthday. Expiration date: forever. Function: Instill Confidence. Personality: Artful. Advantages: Easy to carry. Disadvantage: Too charming; can instantly charm any girl. Or guy.” This quote, from JiangXiaoBai’s official slogan, personifies the brand and perfectly captures the characteristics of the brand’s personality. It is unapologetic and honest, and not the slightest bit pretentious. In many ways, this is who many young consumers want to be, or at least carry the same care-free attitude towards their own lives. This emotionally resonant brand personality is one of the reasons why JiangXiaoBai became popular among those born after the 80s and 90s.
Remain True to Yourself and You Will Succeed
Traditional Baijiu needs to be passed on. But to do so, it can’t stick to the old ways. JiangXiaoBai’s willingness to reinterpret tradition and the placement of the consumer’s needs above all has made it into the new star of the Chinese liquor industry.
Even until today, I’ve learned that the most important thing is to stay true to yourself, persist in the long-term and remain confident in your own judgement about the future.
Faced with the numerous competitors, both old and new, JiangXiaoBai has succeeded in remaining true to its origin while bringing modernity to a traditionally dull product. The unrelenting commitment to no only create a high-quality product, but to continuously invest in the construction of its brand image has resulted in loyalty to the brand among the youth of China. JiangXiaoBai has not only cemented its place in China, but is now ready to bring the brand into the international arena, allowing the world to have a taste of Chinese Baijiu.