The Irony of Live Streaming

Did you know that live-streaming content accounts for over a quarter of global viewing time? This means that 23% of the time that people spend watching videos all over the world, is spent watching live-streamed videos.

Live streaming has been around for quite some time, but perhaps the infamous pandemic-mandated worldwide lockdown of 2020 had a lot to do with its emergence as a trendier virtual activity. The live-streaming market, currently at about $1.5 billion, is expected to reach an estimated 3.21 billion by 2027.

With these facts all laid out, what is live streaming and what has it got to do with marketing? To answer the second question: only a lot.

The most definitive words for live streaming are “real-time” and “simultaneously.” Live Streaming is a technology that allows viewers to watch videos as they happen in real-time; with nothing pre-recorded or edited.

A simple way to understand live streaming would be “like watching TV, but with the internet, and all content broadcast live.”

Live streaming connotes rawness – something about granting the audience privy to the most original content that is showcased as it happens, without being interfered with. This typically has a thrilling and magnetic effect on people; which makes it no wonder that live streaming has found a place in the riveting world of marketing.

Live Streaming & Marketing

“Announce and attract” practically sums up the MO of marketing, and brands that have excelled at this realize that audiences are attracted to interactive, engaging content. Live streaming brings it all to the table with the right serving of addictiveness to reel in loyal consumers.

This is why not just regular brands, but even household brands from around the world have indulged in live-streaming marketing. Considering the fascinating perks of well-executed live stream marketing, it’s understandably difficult to be left out of the trend:

  • Real-Time Interaction: Live streaming allows for real-time engagement with audiences, enabling engagements such as commentaries, Qs & As, and real-time customer feedback.
  •  Authenticity: Live streaming feels more authentic and genuine than pre-recorded videos or text-based content, as it gives the audience unfiltered insight into the brand or product being showcased.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Live streaming is a cost-effective way to create and share content, as it requires minimal equipment and resources compared to other forms of marketing such as conventional electronic or print media.
  • Revenue Generation: Live streaming simultaneously records and broadcasts content for viewers to be part of, and this attracts viewer traffic to the platform being used to transmit, thereby generating an added source of revenue for the brand.
  • Reach and Exposure: Live streaming helps brands to reach a wider audience and shoot up exposure, as viewers can share the content with their friends and followers on social media to get conversations going. This helps to establish brand recognition, trust, and authority in the market.
  • Data and Analytics: Live streaming platforms often provide data and analytics features that help brands to track engagement and measure the success of their content.
  • Flexibility: Live streaming can happen anywhere, allowing brands to connect with their audience from their offices or anywhere they deem fit. Another angle to flexibility is that live streaming is compatible with many video content formats such as interviews, behind-the-scenes, product testing, and feature ads.

Undoubtedly, live streaming holds incredible prospects for success once adopted as a marketing strategy. This is why brands, especially famous brands, may ride on their popularity to predict successful live-stream marketing. How hard can it be, right? They have the recognition and resources it takes to pull it off.

Well, here’s the game-changing news: being a famous brand does not guarantee live-streaming success.

The rest of the blog will show you why it is erroneous to assume the opposite, referencing the case of Louis Vuitton and their virtual show-out in China not too long ago.

The Louis Vuitton Case Study

Quite like in many other countries, fashion has been all the rave of China since as far back as the dynastic eras. As a result, the Chinese market has responded favorably to foreign brands like Louis Vuitton.

Famed as the “King of Luxury,” Louis Vuitton originated in 1854, named after the founder who was a French designer and skilled craftsman. The fashion brand did not make an entry into China until 1992, however, Louis Vuitton has kept people either buying or aspiring to buy.

However, along with other luxury brands with mostly physical stores that had to be indefinitely closed, Louis Vuitton was hit hard by the 2020 pandemic lockdown. The silver lining was that the situation sparked a new wave of innovation that led Louis Vuitton to the frontlines of exploring virtual marketing strategies in China – such as live streaming.

At the time, the netizens of China were no strangers to live streaming for entertainment and gaming purposes, and there existed many platforms for audiences to interact on.

Louis Vuitton chose Xiaohongshu to market its summer collection, possibly because around 70% of the platform’s users are women, and “young women between the ages of 18 and 54” are the brand’s target audience.

As the first luxury brand to launch a live stream showcasing its high-end products, Louis Vuitton reportedly racked up over 15,000 viewers within the first hour, which made it soar to the top of the most-watched-in-an-hour live stream list. Engagements also struck up to 33% and the official Louis Vuitton account recorded over 20,000 followers, but the most important boxes of customer satisfaction and sales would remain to be ticked.

For a brand associated with high class and style, expectations were high. However, Louis Vuitton’s first live-streaming attempt was received with more criticism than applause for poor execution in lighting, video background, and the styling choice of the live-stream anchor.

For many, the lack of attention to these details was a gaping contrast to the luxuriant Louis Vuitton brand image – a rather cheap outlook.

Eventually, the anchor, KOL Yvonne Ching, and the guest celebrity who featured in the live stream, Zhong Chuxi, removed posts about the heavily criticized virtual event from their social media pages. Also, the official playback of the live stream vanished from Louis Vuitton’s Xiaohongshu account.

Arguably, the Louis Vuitton experiment was not a complete write-off, as it paved the way for other high-end brands such as Dior and Burberry to appear on the scenes of live streaming as a marketing strategy. However, what could have been a big statement for a prominent brand failed to hit basic marketing marks.

What’s the takeaway?

The Takeaway

Live streaming is a great pathway to introducing a new product to the market, and brand popularity may give your brand some edge – but an edge is not a guarantee for success.

Rather than depend on brand recognition, a more assuring approach to live streaming is ensuring the best quality execution, and the surefire way to achieve the best execution is to bring the best hands on deck.


Because of its unique market nature and cultural inclinations, getting the word around about a foreign brand or product in China is evidently challenging. However, this takes nothing away from the potency of a well-executed visual marketing approach.

It can make a world of difference and attract the right eyes to your brand.

At Smplcty:

We are experts at live streaming and the best execution for technology and lifestyle brands. If you are interested in what we do or want to discuss more about the marketing situation in general, feel free to drop us a message.

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