Interviewing entrepreneurs in China: How to create successful personal branding in China

Daxue Consulting interviewed Ashley Galina Dudarenok, an Amazon best-selling author and the founder of Alarice and ChoZan, to understand the current Chinese social media landscape, the challenges of doing business in China and learn the best content strategy for thought leadership and personal branding in China.

Ashley Galina Dudarenok, a Chinese market expert, serial entrepreneur in China, Amazon best-selling author, and famous keynote speaker

After graduating from Chongqing University in the center of mainland China, Ashley Galina relocated to Hong Kong and worked as a PR manager at DT Digital, before embarking on her entrepreneurship in China.

With her deep understanding of the Chinese market, Ashley started her own digital marketing agency Alarice and an online training platform ChoZan to help oversees corporations realize their marketing goals in China.

In 2018, Ashley became a best-selling author on Amazon by publishing two books that provided insights and guidelines on the digital and social media landscape in China.

personal branding in China
[Ashley Galina delivering a TedX talk about female entrepreneurship in China]

Ashley Galina is also a renowned keynote speaker and a successful thought leader in China on LinkedIn. Her own talk channel ‘Ashley Talk’ is popular on YouTube as well.

ChoZan: Building an internal team that understands the Chinese social media landscape

In 2011, Ashley founded Alarice, a digital marketing agency primarily serving international corporations in China. After realizing what their real needs are, she then established ChoZan, a training and resources platform that helps clients develop their internal team tailored to the Chinese social media landscape.

Chinese social media landscape and marketing strategy resources
[Chinese social media landscape and marketing strategy resources]

“We realize that people are always interested in running effective campaigns because China is very expansive and they don’t want to waste money,” said Ashley, “They want to grow their own internal experts that are able to have a meaningful intellectual discussion with the agency.”

ChoZan provides in-depth Chinese market, consumers, and social media training workshops for corporations and organizations. It is also known for its unique content strategy for thought leadership in China by helping corporations building their CRM and loyalty programs.

How to create successful personal branding in China across multiple social platforms

Two years ago, Ashley started to build her own reputation as a trusted thought leader in China by sharing valuable reports on social media platforms. With more and more people engaging with her on LinkedIn, she succeeded to establish a strong, global personal brand in China and decided to move forward by creating in-depth videos on YouTube.

For her, personal branding in China on social platforms is not just about curating content for an audience, but more about establishing trust with them. “People are looking for someone they trust, not just for random others.”

Among all the platforms, Ashley believes that LinkedIn is the best one to grow connection and build a strong personal brand in China. “LinkedIn is a platform that provides opportunities for direct and free reach. To reach a specific audience, LinkedIn is the right platform to do that.” To learn more about how to use LinkedIn to grow a personal connection, listen to Ashley Galina’s interview here.

Becoming an Amazon best-selling author: content strategy for thought leadership in China

In 2018, Ashley published two books on Amazon, and both of them became a hit. For Ashley, publishing her own books is all about creating an attractive content strategy for thought leadership.

“If you plan to do business in China long term, you need to start doing thought leadership,” said Ashley.

To compile her thoughts into written words, Ashley took online training sessions with a professional publishing coach, Akash Karia. Both of her books provided useful insights into the social media landscape in China and ranked best-selling on Amazon.

Ashley also shares with us her content strategy for thought leadership in China. First, understand what your audience wants to get from you. Second, create a plan for a major content and keep the rest flexible. Third, make a public announcement and commit to it.

Understanding the Chinese social media landscape is the biggest challenge of doing business in China

In China, social media is the identity of international brands and corporations. “You are what you publish,” said Ashley.

However, the rest of the world still holds huge misconceptions about the social media landscape in China. In order to dispel this myth, Ashley and her team would build a tailored social CRM system for the brand to connect with their customers. “The challenge here is really becoming a part of the global community,” said Ashley.

But even to an expert like Ashley, the disconnection between offline shops and online platforms in China is still a problem unresolved. “[The platforms] don’t want to integrate and share their data. It is a challenge of doing business in China, but I believe there will be some solutions.”

Another advice Ashley has for international brands under the current Chinese social media landscape is that the corporation needs to update its information database at least once a year to catch up with the fast pace of China. For example, because China has entered into the age of ‘retailtainment’ and everything is about the experience, the rising social platform Douyin or Xiaohongshu becomes an effective marketing tool for brands to drive their sales. To learn more about how to leverage Douyin in the social media landscape in China, listen to China paradigm episodes.


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