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Customer Experience – 5 singularities of CX in China

In western countries, customer experience became a main preoccupation to many businesses. It has been the center of extensive research and it is now less and less mystical. But is a good experience in a western country as good of an experience in China? 

In the United States for example, some of the greatest CX strategies have been studied, secrets have been shared and a good experience is now a standard if not a must-have. But do we know how customer experience is perceived in different cultures? China, a central hub for digital growth, has its own digital ecosystem and has proven how innovative it could be. Therefore, let’s see what differentiate a great customer experience in western countries from one in China. 

Famous successful customer experiences in western cultures 

  1. Disney and its magical moments 
  2. Amazon and its prime delivery 
  3. Starbucks and its ultra personalised experience 
  4. Ikea and its immersive stores
  5. Netflix and its pain-point-free navigation
  6. Airbnb and its unique and local experiences 
  7. Revolve and its adaptive buying processes
  8. Spotify and its Wrapped campaign

advertising on a wall with a black message saying "we like you too" with a smiley

The conclusion is that western countries love personalisation and emotions. To leave a pleasant feeling to your customers, you must make them as individuals and recognise their unique needs and constraints.

Brands that take a stance for the integration and acceptance of all communities are more and more valued. The acknowledgement of differences and respect of singularities and individual needs is what leads the CX trends nowadays.

But how about customers in China ? Is the main component of a good customer experience personalisation? 

Key customer experience elements in China

Even though it will not hurt an interaction, personalisation and emotions are not the number one criteria that will drive a great experience. In general, here are things to have in mind when design experiences for Chinese customers. 


  1. An innovative integration of digital processes within the experience

    While in other countries it is common to avoid the use of technologies, Chinese customers tend to prefer online experiences.  Indeed, mobile payment is the favorite payment mean and social commerce is a widespread buying experience.  And the more originality you will show with your use of technologies, the more attention you will capture.

  2. Prestigious and luxurious are go-to adjectives

    Social status and appearances are greatly valued in China. Thus, experiences that are proof of a high disposable income or social status will surely arouse Chinese customers’ interest.

  3. Reviews are your communication strategy

    Whether in one side of the planet or the other, reviews make the difference. However, reviews in China seem to rule even more. Negative reviews will put your brand at the end of the list.

  4. An entertaining buying process

    In a lot of countries, the buying part of an experience is usually the least appreciated. On the contrary, Chinese customers usually prefer this stage of the whole experience. Buying is considered as an activity. So focus the development of the experience around this step of the journey.

  5. A reference to the Chinese culture is a great plus, when well done!

    Chinese play on words, references to ongoing news or viral content, mentions of past history are valued. Introducing one of those element in your story-telling, packaging or communication strategy will certainly seduce Chinese citizens. However the manipulation of culture elements is delicate and hazardous. Numerous are the brands who misused Chinese cultural references and payed the price of their faux-pas.

a woman is standing in front of a transparent screen with Chinese bleue characters in a dark room

Disclaimer: This article is a discussion on current marketing trends. The mentioned elements are not facts but interpretations based on brands practices.


Steffi Noel, How the Chinese customer experience differs from the US, July, 2019

Kirsten Burkard, The Top 10 Best Customer Experiences (and What You Can Learn From Them), 2018

CRM Digital Business Marketing Mobile Music

Wrapped, 10 things to learn from Spotify’s campaign

Customer Experience. If you attended marketing classes or conferences within the past two years, the odds are that you heard of it… A lot. As detailed in a fellow student’s article, CX is becoming a real key to success. Marketing is evolving and we are now talking more about “selling experiences” than selling a product or a service. And if someone got it right, it’s Spotify with its Wrapped Campaign. 


Spotify Wrapped – Remember your year in Music

The campaign started in 2015 by the name of “Your Year in Music” and became “Wrapped” in 2017. Each December, every user receives a retrospective of their year based on the data Spotify gathered on their music consumption. 

Among other features, subscribers receive their top 5 most listened artists, songs, albums or the amount of time they spent listening music this year. The “Story of Your 2020” tells fun facts about their favorite songs and artists, milestones of their music consumption like the first time they listened to their top 1 song and so on. 


Thanks to that very smart use of the data it collects over the years, Spotify took over social media for the 5th year in December. I bet those who don’t have Spotify wish they had such a personalised experience. 

So how did Spotify managed to develop this successful campaign? Here are the 10 things we lean from Spotify Wrapped.   


Spotify Wrapped cards header 2020


1. A Storytelling where the main character is your customer

We all had that moment when that one music plays and we’re taken back to the times we used to listen to it. It’s a flashback that reminds you of hysterical laughters, adventures, trips, relationships, cries or family moments. 

“Music is the soundtrack of your life” – Dick Clark 

Music is a personal reminder of life, and Spotify bet on that for the base of its storytelling. Since 2015, your year is the story and you’re the main character. 

Amazon has always been the reference example in terms of customer-centric approach. However, Spotify did a great job at reinventing the customer-oriented logic with its campaign. 

Gotham character Jeremiah Valeska screaming I want to be the star of the show on season 5


2. The use of collected data to enhance ultra-personalisation 

Spotify not only put its customers in the spotlight as a group. It created a stage for every single one of them. If there is one thing that people love to read about, it’s themselves, and the brand knows it. So, instead of showcasing the “Top 10 artists in your country”, Wrapped focuses on rankings like “Your top 10 artists” with personal data. 

Good luck for developing a campaign more personalised than this one! 

Spotify's 2018 Wrapped banner

3. A strong relationship between the brand and the customer 

So the Wrapped campaign is about reliving your year in Music. However, the underlying message Spotify tries to communicate is that, all of those moments, you lived them with the brand. You’ve been happy, sad, stressed, relaxed, and Spotify was by your side to provide you with the music you needed. The brand creates tailored playlists based on your story. It analyses your data to show you that it understands what you’ve been through and never left you alone.
Wrapped creates a strong emotional connection with the customers and shows that the brand “just gets them”. 


Shitt's Creek character David saying to Stevie I think you're my best friend with a face mask on and a robe


4. A free personal branding tool

The story “Your top 5 songs” tells is a personalised and unique story. And, as people like to read about themselves, they also like to talk about themselves. Thanks to Spotify Wrapped, users can share self-centred content without seeming self-centred. After discovering their personal statistics, the customers can decide if it fits their personality and use it as a fun and informal personal overview. This kind of data is something people love to communicate. 


White guy with a beard and crazy hair saying that's me in a sarcastic way


5. A mobile-friendly ready-to-share content 

Not only is Wrapped a good content to share, but it is also meant to be. For the first year, the campaign has been designed for mobile phones and optimised for social media. Spotify directly invites its user to post their customised card on their social accounts and make it possible in just a few clicks. The story of your year can be told across channels with colourful visuals. Furthermore, the content does not need any modification, you can post it as it gets to you. 


6. Boost User Generated Content (UGC)

A personalised data card that you can share in just a few clicks could only have one impact. And that impact is a huge amount of UGC, that golden goal of any marketing strategy nowadays. Coupled with challenging phrases like “will you be brave enough to share your listening history”, those ready-to share cards invaded all of our feeds. I am sure we all discovered the musical identity of at least tens of people on social media. Spotify Wrapped cards ended up on Instagram stories, Twitter accounts, Facebook posts and Snapchat status, the dream of any brand. 

user generated content illustration


7. Recruit thousands of influencers that you …. don’t pay

It’s fair to say that the campaign goes somehow viral every December. Spotify avoids spending a lot on diffusion of the campaign because it relies on its customers to share it for the brand. Wrapped brings value to its users, fun data that amuses them, so they genuinely share it. Simple, easy, efficient, and (somehow) free! 


8. A FOMO phenomenon to attract new users 

And after so many “Your 2020 Wrapped” on social media, what feeling does it generate for those who don’t use Spotify? Yes… that terrible FOMO vibe, the famous “Fear Of Missing Out”. Who wouldn’t want to get this data card about themselves? It sure would be nice to have a sum up of your musical activity of the year. Even non Spotify users find this campaign very engaging and would want to be a part of this movement. People like to be part of something and join trends, and Wrapped did a great job at taking advantage of it. 




9. Create a community, generate connections 

A good way to amplify the effect of a user generated content campaign is to unite the users with a community. First, music is a common interest for a lot of people (without getting into genres preferences), so a safe thing to share. Also, music is all about emotions. Indeed, people can relate to those who have the same taste, or feel like they get to know others better by discovering their music consumption. Finally, people get emotionally attached to the data. Indeed, Spotify defines you as a “super fan” of a particular artist, invites you to tag your favorite singer and so on. 




10. Reiterate the campaign to make it an event 

Wrapped started in 2015. Keeping the same concept of a retrospective, it evolves over the years and comes back with new features and improvements. At the same time, people talk about it and share it, increasing its notoriety. In 2020, the campaign offered new insights about users’ music consumption, a feature for podcasters and even in-app quizzes. 


Conclusion on Spotify’s Wrapped campaign

The brand learned from its users over the years to deliver a more-than-ever personalised experience in 2020. UGC, storytelling, community management and engagement resulted in millions of new users on the platform and a strong social proof.

Some will discuss the problems lying under the collection of such tremendous amounts of data. However, the campaign is a great marking example in terms of its use of digital levers.

On the other hand, the brand is not the only one to undertake remarkable marketing initiatives. Read more about our Top 3 of the best digital campaigns for perfume.

Chandler and Joey clapping their hands on the couch of the Central Perk Cafe


Sources, User-generated content: What your brand can learn from Spotify, Spotify vous fait revivre votre année musicale avec une rétrospective alléchante, Spotify Rolls Out New ‘Wrapped’ Campaign To Help Users Remember Their Decade Of Music

Brandon Zhang –, How Spotify Nets Millions of Hits With Their Annual “Wrapped” Campaign, 7 of the Best Social Media Campaigns (And What You Can Learn From Them), The genius of Spotify Wrapped, the only marketing campaign I add to my calendar