Strategic keywords marketing has become essential for brands to bolster their visibility and appeal on social media. Nonetheless, a measured and thoughtful approach is imperative when selecting marketing buzzwords. The modern consumer is discerning, often responding negatively to over-marketing, misleading advertisements, or buzzwords that conflict with their values.
In this article, we delve into 3 trending yet potentially contentious marketing buzzwords. We explore their contextual meanings within Chinese social media, assess the controversies they might trigger, and offer insights into effective content marketing strategies.
DOPAMINE DRESSING 多巴胺穿搭
Dopamine Dressing is a bold and lively fashion statement that breaks free from the usual rules about colors. This style loves bright and vibrant colors and uses dynamic accessories like hairpins, hats, necklaces, and backpacks to put together eye-catching outfits.
▲ Image via @白昼小熊 (Xiaohongshu)
Her dressing style has set the summer fashion trend on social media in China
This trend echoes through various corners of social media, bringing back memories of Taiwanese idol drama where Yang Chenglin wearing Christmas tree-inspired clothes on "Miss No Good (不良笑花)".
▲ Image via @Miss No Good (不良笑花)
A Taiwanese idol drama from 2008, where the leading role's dressing style seems like she's wearing all the colors of a Christmas tree
It also taps into nostalgia for the colorful avatars from the early 2000s QQ shows, which connects with Gen-Z's memories for the early internet days.
▲ GIF via @QQ Show (Tencent QQ)
In the millennium, Tencent QQ launched a virtual avatar dressing system, enabling users to customize their online image
During Pride Month, the use of rainbow colors resonates with the LGBTQ+ community, bringing acceptance and spreading positivity.
▲ Image via @Cosmopolitan
During Pride Month, people dress in vibrant colors, akin to the style known as "dopamine dressing"
This summer, dopamine dressing has taken over social media, creating a lot of excitement for colorful products. The hashtag "dopamine dressing" on Xiaohongshu has reached 330 million views.
This trend is easy for regular people to get into. By wearing colorful clothes, and accessories, or doing creative nail art, anyone can become a hit on social media and get the approval of their friends. This trend has even helped people feel better about their appearance, giving them an easier way to feel good about themselves compared to things like surgery or weight loss.
Challenge: Subculture Reaction
But as Dopamine Dressing becomes more and more popular, it's unintentionally causing some pushback from subculture lovers. The term "dopamine girls" groups everyone together and takes away their individuality, making them feel like they're blending in and not standing out.
▲ Image via @粉色史莱姆星人 (Xiaohongshu)
The subculture enthusiast dislikes how marketers turned their colorful fashion choices into a mainstream trend
For those who love expressing themselves uniquely, jumping onto a trend that everyone's doing feels out of place. They want to see lots of different fashion styles on social media and don't want just one trend to take over. They prefer to be called "subculture girls", showing their dedication to protecting their own way of looking from the influence of the mainstream.
DOUBLE V TIPS: Respect Individuality
To connect with people who love subcultures, brands need to be careful about how they use the term "dopamine dressing." They shouldn't force labels on people and should understand the difference between each culture circles. Brands can encourage diversity and individuality, making a space where people feel appreciated and heard, not just like they're part of a big group.
ALLURING INNOCENT STYLE 纯欲风
The "alluring innocent style" is a captivating fashion trend that's getting a lot of attention. It's being popularized by influencer @井川里予 through her videos on Douyin.
▲ GIF via @井川里予 (Douyin)
Her style perfectly aligns with the East Asian male's idea of "attractive"
This trend mixes innocence and sensuality in a clever way. The style is all about having captivating yet modest eyes, and using a delicate rosy blush on areas like the nose, shoulders, and collarbone. This mix of vulnerability and showing a bit of skin connects with cultural ideas of what makes women attractive in East Asian cultures. Influencers are sharing tutorials to help people copy this appealing look, and it's gotten over 1.81 billion views on Xiaohongshu.
Challenge: Gender Dynamics
But under the trend's surface, there's a complicated interaction between gender dynamics. When you mix innocence and sensuality, it brings up questions about treating people like objects and being true to oneself. The journey of @井川里予, from innocence to more adult themes, shows how careful influencers have to be. This change led to criticism and accusations of using the idea of "freedom of dress" to promote sexual content.
▲ Image via @井川里予 (Weibo)
Her photos sparked controversy online, as supporters defended her freedom of dress, while critics accused her of using it to promote sexual content in alluring-style pictures
This situation shows the tension between unrealistic ideas of beauty and empowering women. Making women look childlike feeds into unequal treatment and can lead to unwanted attention. Some people see dressing in the alluring innocent style as an expression of freedom of dress and female empowerment, while others view it as conforming to the male-gaze stereotype of attractiveness. It's a complicated balance – a blurry line between empowerment and stereotyping women.
▲ Image via @富贵儿爱花钱 (Xiaohongshu)
An influencer criticizes "alluring innocent style": Lipstick on finger joints creates a vulnerable image, and pregnant women posing in revealing clothes exposes its misuse for promoting illegal content
DOUBLE V TIPS: Empowering Women
Brands that prioritize corporate social responsibility need to be careful when they use the keyword "alluring innocent style" in marketing. They should focus on supporting women's empowerment in a real way, not just showing it on the surface. Instead of just pretending, brands should stand up for women having their own choices and not sticking to stereotypes. By helping women truly grow and be themselves, brands can give them a place to be who they are, without worrying about what society expects from them.
LAID-BACK STYLE 松弛感
The idea of the "laid-back style" has become really popular, showing up in different areas and representing a relaxed way of thinking. A story shared by blogger @黑猫白袜子 about dealing with problems in a calm way got people talking about how to handle conflicts better.
▲ Image via @黑猫白袜子 (Weibo)
This user shared a story about a family she met on a plane. They had a travel mishap because of an expired document, but they handled it calmly
Brands related to home & living, technology, beauty, fashion, and wellness have smoothly included the "laid-back style" in their messages to connect with consumers. This trend's popularity is highlighted by its impressive 290 million views on Xiaohongshu, often accompanied by hashtags like #femalewisdom and #selfimprovement.
Real Relaxation or Illusion of Marketing?
However, the way the "laid-back style" is marketed needs careful thought. In a world full of catchy sayings, the idea of "effortless charm" comes with challenges.
▲ Image via @Elaine潮流分享 (Xiaohongshu)
Effortless charm is often linked to celebrities, rarely seen in impoverished communities
It's often presented as part of "female wisdom" and "self-improvement," but the real things that make this style work – having time flexibility, strong relationships, financial stability, and low stress – aren't talked about much. The image presented can hide the true process that's needed for real relaxation.
DOUBLE V TIPS: Real Experience Matters
In a society where there's a lot of pressure, wanting a "laid-back style" is a real desire. Brands can take a proactive step by sharing real stories from people who have found a balance. They can ask users to talk about their own journeys toward finding peace. By highlighting these real experiences and admitting the challenges that come with it, brands can create stronger connections. This builds trust and connects with people more deeply than just showing a superficial image ever could.
In the dynamic realm of Chinese social media, platforms like Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book), Bilibili, Douyin (Chinese TikTok), and WeChat have become vital channels for consumer engagement, making strategic keyword marketing essential for enhancing brand visibility and appeal. However, the selection of marketing buzzwords requires prudence to avoid consumer skepticism. Exploring trending buzzwords unveils both excitement and controversy.
These trends showcase the delicate balance brands must strike between trendiness and authenticity, individuality and diversity, and aspiration and inclusivity. By respecting individual preferences and cultivating genuine connections, brands can navigate this landscape successfully, earning consumer trust and loyalty amidst the evolving social media landscape in China.
Contact Double V Consulting for a tailored China content marketing strategy!