Gucci Resort 2017

After crunching the data of social media mentions, likes, reads and other engagement measures of luxury, fashion and beauty brands by “key opinion leaders” in China, R3 Worldwide and Bomoda ranked Gucci as the top brand.

The 400 KOLs researched in the report included fashion influencers and celebrity bloggers on WeChat and Weibo. Global analytics firm Bomoda said the researchers selected the 25 luxury brands to be studied. The company described it as a “representative pool of those we have observed making the most significant efforts in China in the past two quarters.” The criteria included luxury brands that were actively working with KOLs.

Behind Gucci was Dior at number two and Louis Vuitton at number three. Givenchy was ranked fourth and Chanel took the number-five spot.

The report, “China Luxury, Beauty and Fashion Insights — Q3 2016,” “looked at mentions, reports, likes, reads, sentiment, purchase intent and total engagement — to form an overall picture of the strongest brands and the strongest opinion leaders,” the authors of the report noted.

Some of the notable KOLs studied for the report included TV celebrities Huo Jian Hua and Lin Xin Ru, which the researchers described as a “super couple” who were married earlier this summer at the Bulgari Resort in Bali. The couple made the announcement of their marriage on Weibo. The researchers said the “wedding, featuring such brands as Bulgari and Salvatore Ferragamo, was the dominant topic overall for the month [of July when they married].”

On Weibo, the top associated brands mentioned include Bulgari, Dior, Lancôme and Estée Lauder. On WeChat, the top brands mentioned were Bulgari, Tiffany and Estée Lauder.

Another celebrity blogger studied in the report was film and TV actor Xu Weizhou. On Weibo, the top mentioned brands were H&M, Louis Vuitton and Dior. On WeChat, the brands were H&M, Louis Vuitton and Stella McCartney.

Kendall Jenner was also in the top KOLs studied. On Weibo, the top brands were Givenchy, Estée Lauder and Louis Vuitton. On WeChat, they were Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Dior. The researchers said Jenner’s “street style is favored by Chinese female Millennials to a greater degree than any current Western personality. This wave aligned her closely on Weibo and WeChat with ‘now’ trends such as slip dresses, crop tops, activewear and slippers.”

Regarding the impact and actual influence of KOLs, the researchers said “naysayers claim that KOLs are overhyped and overpaid, merely attracting eyeballs and not sales. While we agree that there is some validity to this position, we also believe KOLs are — and will continue to be — an integral component to the Chinese consumer journey.”

The research authors said many of the KOLs are “indeed inefficient, but this is more a matter of misaligned and mismanaged expectations than a lack of relevance. For every one celebrity who commands large sums to promote a brand’s products but fails to generate the expected results, there is an unheralded and unpaid fashion blogger generating the necessary engagement and positive sentiment to affect sales.”