New Year’s is a time of celebration. A time when people put aside their differences and rejoice, cheering on the onset of a new year. The year-end also often symbolises new hope, where people work towards building a better version of themselves. Jonathan Lockwood Huie said it best, “Celebrate endings-for they precede new beginnings.”
While the majority of the world follows the western calendar and celebrates New Year’s on the 1st of January, many cultures across the globe celebrate the same holiday on different days. This year, China, Vietnam, and Korea celebrate their New Year’s on the 1st of February! While the Vietnamese call their New Year’s Tết, the Koreans and the Chinese call their New Year the Lunar New Year. In Korea, it is also known as Seollal.
The festivities and celebrations across all three cultures do certainly have their similarities. The holiday is celebrated for around two weeks leading up to the event. For the Chinese one of the most common customs during this time is to put up red decorations to symbolise good luck, prosperity, and joy. It’s also customary to receive visits from family members who will be greeted with tea or other refreshments while they bring their greeting cards.
The lunar New Year is also a time of remembrance, where everyone gathers to honour those who have passed away. The Chinese believe that their ancestors can be reincarnated into animals or even objects and this day gives them the chance to remember these important people in their lives. In fact, they will prepare an extra course at dinner so it is always enough for their ancestors to eat.
In Vietnam, the New Year is celebrated by including welcoming or “kicking out” the old
or unlucky year, visiting family graves, additional offerings to ancestors at their gravesites,
praying for health and long life, eating vegetarian food, visiting friends and relatives during the
New Year’s Day festival. It’s a whole week of celebration and feasting called Tết (pronounced Tea). The Vietnamese population is 90% Buddhist by conviction so it was only natural that the festival celebrates both western New Year with firecrackers, lanterns, and candies as well as traditional Buddhist New Year with offerings to their ancestors.
Korean New Year’s Day is a time for families to gather together and celebrate with special foods. The main dish that Koreans eat during this holiday is Juk or porridge made from red beans and rice. A soup made with chicken and ginseng is also popular as well as a variety of side dishes and kimchi (fermented vegetables). Most families will purchase many different kinds of kimchi to enjoy on New Year’s Day.
The most important food that Koreans eat during the New Year is tteokguk. This dish consists of rice cake slices, beef, and a soup made with beef broth, dumplings, and other ingredients such as vegetables or fish cakes. Tteokguk is eaten because it symbolizes harmony and togetherness for families. Koreans also eat kongnamul guk (soybean sprout soup) on New Year’s Day to bring health and longevity to their family members without any illnesses throughout the year.
Brands can take advantage of these several month-long festivities, starting from Christmas and the Western New Year to the various New Year’s celebrated by these countries. Each country has its own culture that should be taken into account when formulating marketing strategies.
As a brand, you can be extra savvy during this holiday season and take advantage of the upcoming Tet holidays by launching a special campaign that is aimed at Vietnam. This will not only help you get your message in front of Vietnamese consumers, but it also helps gain trust and brand awareness among new customers who may become loyal to your company when they come back for business later on down the line.
Make sure to include a Vietnamese language version of your campaign and utilize influencers with massive followings in Vietnam as well. This will give you the ability to get more eyes on this special holiday-themed promotion, which can help increase sales during such an important time for retailers both online and off.
Brands can also adopt and change their strategies while dealing with customers in the Chinese market. Chinese New Year presents the annual opportunity to engage with a large market that’s always eager to try something new, especially when it comes to food. It can be easy for brands and businesses in China because Chinese people have developed an increased spending power over the years, which means they are more likely than ever before willing to spend money on things such as jewelry or beautiful new clothes.
The Chinese New Year is one of the biggest holiday seasons in China, so it’s a great time to start planning your marketing strategy and take advantage of this increase in spending power.
Similarly in Korea, brands can engage their customers by planning ahead and reaching out to them on social media by using apps such as Facebook and Instagram. Brands can start by creating posts about the holiday on both of these platforms before it’s here so that you can build up some initial buzz around your company and its products with current Korean restaurant clients, distributors you work with or potential new customers who may not have heard of you yet. Then use this time to create videos in English with captions or subtitles that highlight your products to promote on these platforms as well. There are also many videos that can be shared by restaurants or distributors featuring your products in them, so make sure you download those and post them online as well.
There are other opportunities for promoting Korean New Year’s Day besides social media channels, including blogs where you can share recipes using soybean sprouts or tteokguk for example. You could also do press releases about the holiday and its traditions if there is a local paper that would be interested in publishing the information.
Some common tips that brands can use to capitalise and make the most of this holiday, regardless of which country they are focusing on are-
- Be festive- New Year is all about being happy and celebrating with loved ones, so put up some red decorations to generate a good atmosphere for your consumers. It’s also important that your packaging has an element of celebration because people like seeing bright colours when they’re opening their presents or buying things in general. This will help attract and increase your customer base.
- Make sure that all of your brand’s social media accounts are set up, have content ready for posting, as well as take advantage of the holiday’s high mobile usage by making sure your content is optimised for it.
- Send out “Happy New Year” gifts and other complimentary items to your most engaged followers via social media. This will help you create a personal connection with these influencers, which can lead them to promote their products for free when the time comes around later on down the line.
- Taking advantage of local celebrities and working in tandem with them to promote your brand is a great way to boost the authenticity of your products. Social media influencers and influencers in general command a high level of authority and respect among the general public. Especially in countries like Korea, where the K-pop industry is a billion-dollar industry and the celebrities are looked upon. People hang on their every word, so offering sponsorships or other offers and promoting it through them will go a long way to help the brand and attract a larger customer base.
- Use relevant keywords and themes while promoting new products during these times. Some themes that can be used are family or togetherness as the New Year’s across all these countries focuses on celebrating with loved ones and family. Using sentimental themes is also a great way to get in touch with your specific target market.
New Year’s is a time for spreading joy and happiness. Understanding how your customers interact and understanding their purchasing patterns can help companies sell and promote their products better. Plus, it’s also an excellent way to reach out to potential customers who may not know about you yet so don’t miss out on this opportunity by planning ahead now. A little preparation will go a long way to help your company succeed in the New Year and beyond.