Rolls-Royce meets with China’s Elite Club


Rolls-Royce is meeting with a group called the Chinese Entrepreneur Club (CEC). The club comprises the elite of the Chinese business community. Here’s the most luxurious auto brand wooing the most affluent Chinese consumers.

  • How will meeting with China’s elite help Rolls-Royce?
  • Is Rolls-Royce trying to sell itself, more than its products?
  • Why is selling an experience just as necessary as selling a product for high-end brands?
  • What are some other ways that luxury marketers can hook the affluent Chinese market?

“In my opinion . . .”

The world has certainly changed in the last half-a-century. The developing world has developed. BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nations and the concept of a “Third World” are out-dated in recent literature and are very Western/Euro-centric perceptions of the world. Yes, the largest growing percentage of the population is poor, but we aren’t talking about people without the major means to acquire these kinds of cars.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is upping its presence among China’s elite through a meeting with the China Entrepreneur Club, a group comprising the most prominent and important businessmen in the market. Combined revenue for the members from last year total approximately $309 billion. The CEC is a group of the most elite Chinese consumers in the business community including entrepreneurs, economists and diplomats. These are the members of the most vigorous representatives in the new Chinese economy and promote corporate social responsibility among Chinese enterprises, according to Rolls-Royce. The 30-member group toured through Britain, which included meetings with British officials and other companies and organizations—former British prime minister Tony Blair, Lord Rothschild, Sir Richard Branson to name a few.

China continues to be an important market for all marketers, including high-end automotive. Given that China was the No. 1 sales market for Rolls-Royce last year, the automaker is likely attempting to maintain this relationship through close, personal contact. Last year, China edged out the United States as the best-selling Rolls-Royce market, with Beijing as the top demographic. Asia-Pacific, in general, grew 47 percent.

I used to work at a Rolls-Royce dealership. I know first hand that no one needs to be sold on a Rolls-Royce. Buying one is a preplanned purchase decision—an acquisition—commissioned by someone who knows fully what a Rolls-Royce is and what it means to be seen on one. However, for the individual doing the actual buying (as opposed to an agent making the acquisition for that person), going through the purchase experience should match the quality, image, and price of the product purchased.

I think that the way the world is going is that products are unique, but commoditized. What really matters is the relationship and the human attributes of the brand—the people that built it.

How good Rolls is at building relationships, demonstrating their expertise, care and attributes is what will sell their cars to China. Obviously, Rolls-Royce wants to get sales, but I think that they ultimately need to cultivate long-term relationships.

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