Luxe.Co Annual Forum 2019 | How do brands embrace the young generation – Dialogue with Hongchao Chen, CEO of Peacebird

May 15,2019

Fashion, is a universal language, that resonates everywhere in the world. The fashion industry is one of the largest "sunrise industries" in China, generating unlimited opportunities for entrepreneurship, innovation and investment.

“Luxe.Co Global Fashion Innovation and Investment Forum 2019” was successfully held on April 12, 2019 in Beijing. Front-line industry leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, managers and designers gathered together to discuss the challenges and future trends in fashion innovative entrepreneurship and investment in China and across the globe. Various real-life case studies were presented from multi-angles, outlining the development path of fashion brands’ creation, progress and evolution.

Chinese fashion apparel brand “Peacebird” has been a great representative among Chinese fashion brands, in embracing the young generation and transforming to a “young” brand.

Peacebird has held music festivals, pop-up stores and cross-over collaboration in order attract young consumers. The brand spared no effort to understand the youth culture and conduct content marketing. “Peacebird Youth” was launched as the brand value. In the international market, Peacebird has presented two fashion shows at New York Fashion Week to showcase China's fashion attitude. In the China market, Peacebird applies omni-channel to meet the experiencing consumption needs of young people and practices marketing innovation.

At present, the Peacebird Group has a total of seven core brands: main fashion brand Peacebird WOMEN and Peacebird MEN, junior brand LED'IN (乐町), kidswear brands Mini Peace and Petit Avril (贝甜), street fashion brand Material Girl, fashion lifestyle brand Peacebird LIVIN’ (太平鸟巢). The group uses a variety of styles to encompass the diverse needs of young consumers.

Hongchao Chen (陈红朝), CEO of Peacebird and Alicia Yu (余燕), Founder of Luxe.Co and President of Orange Bay University, held an in-depth dialogue at Luxe.Co’s forum. They shared their practices and insights on Chinese fashion brands’ rejuvenation and marketing innovation, talent cultivation and brand matrix.

 Fashion is a constant cycle between accepting tradition and breaking tradition

Yu: What impresses you the most in the growth of Peacebird?

Chen: From my perspective, everything needs to be treated seriously and completed carefully.

Yu: Who is the Peacebird?

Chen: When we go forward, we are actually exploring. Fashion is a constant circle between accepting tradition and breaking tradition. You need to inherit good stuff and break some stuff.

People always ask "Who am I?". But it is more important to discover what we are good at and passionate about, and communicate with the external environment and our consumers. This is pleasing process of exploring, “breaking” and “creating”.

Being professional and cooperative; Resonate with young people

Yu: Fashion is a fun industry. I just came back from Shanghai Fashion Week. I have seen the creative art installation of Peacebird everywhere, including catwalks and cross-over collaboration. What is your consideration behind these innovative marketing initiatives?

Chen: I have a simple understanding. The biggest change in this era is that information is spreading faster and faster through the Internet.

In the past 20 years, I had not seen such rapid changes. Each field has changed faster.  For each field, we must be more and more professional. Only by being professional, we can react agilely to changes. When people are professional in their new and subdivided fields, they need to cooperate to make progress.

It is same for brands. Peacebird is very professional in the field of apparel. But we need to resonate with more young and energetic creators. We have cooperated with Pepsi and Coca-Cola. We found that we are the same. We all need to communicate with young people and resonate with them, no matter which industry we are in. We can corporate together into one alliance and communicate with young people. Another example is our cooperation with Sesame Street and Phoenix Bicycle. These elements are in line with the language of this era.

If more and more "young brands" interact and resonate, there will be more fun happenings. Over the past few years, we have gradually found that this direction is correct. More young consumers will be interested in us.

Yu: Do you usually communicate with Peacebird’s customers?

Chen: Instead of “communicate”, we rather use “understand” them. If we understand their needs, we could retain them.

"Horizon" is more important than "knowledge"; Cultivating spirits of "growth" and "altruism"

Yu: "People" is actually an important factor in pushing the platform forward. What are your practices and experiences in Peacebird’s talent and team building?

Chen: For the development of a brand, there are two aspects. One is the choices, and the other is what kind of people behind the "brand" to make choices. I think the company need to support the team to grow, in the direction of collective development. This is the foundation for every company.

Peacebird has been constantly improving such “foundation” for many years. As the team grows bigger, your team's “foundation” becomes more and more important. If there is a problem in team training or team cohesion, or if the team's ideas are not in line with the direction of the brand development, the foundation will be unstable, and the company may not be able to withstand it. This is always the basic issue that Peacebird pays attention to – supporting the growth of the company, the team, the brand and consumers.

I think that "horizon" is more important than "knowledge". There are many young colleagues in our company. They have learned a lot from college. But by working in the company, they expand their horizon. When young people have horizon, it is more important to cultivate their "growth spirit". The cultivation of the spirit of pursuit is more important than horizon and knowledge.

What is even harder is to cultivate "altruism". We have high degree of professional subdivision, which requires a high degree of collaboration in order to accomplish one thing together. Therefore, the cultivation of the spirit of "altruism and kindness" is also very important for the team. The talent cultivation process includes knowledge, horizon, spiritual perseverance and then altruism and kindness. When everyone grows together on this track, they can form a corresponding environment and atmosphere.

Yu: The apparel industry is full of details, which requires a high degree of collaboration. Every step must be well performed. It is indeed a challenging industry.

Chen: It is also a fun industry.

Yu: In the China market, there are many designers returning from overseas studies. Many of them have just left schools, or have one or two years of working experience. Many designers build their own brands right away. Some are successful, some fail. In general, they grow from their experiences. You have worked with many designers. What do you think?

Chen: It’s common that fresh graduates have their own dreams and goals. This era needs young people who have dreams and can realize it. I am happy to see that. When you have a dream to pursue, it’s easy to get frustrated. But you will grow faster. I met some excellent young people in our company. They experienced entrepreneurship before, and these experiences made them stronger.

Always focus on "youth and fashion"; Multi-brand strategy to meet segmented needs

Yu: Peacebird is building its own brand matrix. Is the strategy expected to be achieved through cooperation, mergers and acquisitions, or incubation?

Chen: We have no limits on these choices, because we find that the market will be more and more subdivided, and there will be more and more different consumer groups. A brand can't satisfy their needs; therefore, we will turn to multiple brands.

In the process, we will always focus on the general direction of "youth and fashion". At the same time, we are open. We hope to try different directions to satisfy our customers either from internal or external parties.

Yu: Can you share with us the development plan for Peacebird in the next few years?

Chen: Our goal is very clear. Peacebird’s mission is to let our customers have fun in fashion. Therefore, our vision for the next five years is that we hope to have the opportunity to become the leader of Chinese fashion brands. We also hope that in the next five years, our brand will resonate with more young people.

We are working hard to constantly challenge ourselves. Innovation and breakthroughs are very difficult. But it’s necessary to make progress and continue exploring. We will actively maintain this kind of fun and youthful attitude in the next five years. In the current environment, a lot of interesting things are happening. We will always have curiosity and explore, because this is our growth opportunity.


Photos from Luxe.Co

Chinese Reporter | Ying Sun

English Editor | Aviva Li

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