The Year of the Snake and International Marketing

Category: Culture, Marketing Translation

Happy New Year! Or, more specifically: 新年快乐 / 新年快樂! For many people around the world, this Sunday was no ordinary Sunday, but rather a celebration of the beginning of a new lunar new year. Known as “Chinese New Year” or the “Spring Festival”, it is celebrated not only in China but also in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. This year is the Year of the Snake, and is one of the biggest travel holidays of the year.

While various customs and traditions abound to help ensure good fortune for the coming year, it is also a time for gift-giving. Big-name retailers are joining in the celebrations with offerings of snake-related items, including high-end luxury items like snakeskin bags and shoes, to snake-themed watches and jewelry.

Burberry, for example, has published new year’s greetings and promoted special items across major Chinese social media outlets, via a dedicated new year gift section on their website. Pottery Barn Kids offers a four-foot long stuffed snake on their site, and even Starbucks has gotten into the spirit with a snake-themed new year’s gift card.

This type of focused marketing is effective and smart. Yes, just like any campaign, its intent is to offer products and services to its customers. But, as “foreign” companies reaching out to a market on the other side of the world from their own, it does so with a good cultural understanding of its customer base. Relating to your customer is important for any market, but especially so when your customer speaks a different language and recognizes different holidays.

If you are looking to really speak to your Asian customers, the lunar New Year is a great time to do so, as these retailers show. Holiday seasons are always major periods for marketing teams, and the same goes for international marketing translations. Your customers will appreciate your recognition of when they celebrate, and why.

How do you feel about international retailers recognizing global holidays? Let us know below.