The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is the biggest crisis in China since late January. People are talking about it exclusively, excessively, only about this topic and nothing else. The Chinese characters for ‘crisis’ are ‘危 (wei) 机 (ji)’, meaning ‘danger and opportunity’.
Whether you are a B2B business (an ingredient manufacturer) or a B2C business (a branded finished product or a retailer), it’s never too late to look into immunity claims of your products/ingredients in China market.
If you are already manufacturing or trading products with immune-boosting properties:
It is crucial to make evidence-based claims and focus on long-term immune enhancement. Good immunity is an important factor to fend against pathogens in general.
Focus on your product’s immune-enhancing properties as your key message.
This message must be supported by vigorous science, which means published guidelines, expert consensus and research papers. Human studies are better than animal trials, followed by experiments in cells.
Ask scientific support colleagues in your team to critically review the papers, instead of just listing your references at the end. Highlight important figures and facts which support your key marketing message. Ask an external expert for help if you don’t have an in-house scientific affairs team.
Similarly, for WeChat articles, make immunity enhancement a prominent feature of your product. Here is a good example on probiotics and immunity from the B2C company H&H Group (link in Chinese); and another example of various ingredients and immunity from the B2B company Sirio (link in Chinese).
DON’T make any connection with the coronavirus, as it is not supported by science. It will be considered a false statement and will only backfire.
A negative example is a traditional Chinese medicine ShuangHuangLian Oral Solution. Boldly claiming it could prevent the virus, this ‘magical’ drug was sold out in shops in two hours. But within a day, it was debunked as being unscientific. The brand image was heavily damaged instead.
Some nutrients may have evidence helping to treat COVID-19 under strict clinical supervision. But it is very different from consumer self-care. Our recommendation, from marketing claims’ perspective, is to focus on broad immune modulation of your products in the general public.
DISCLAIMER: This article is AMC’s observation and opinion. We are not liable for any consequences incurred as a result of or relating to the use of this content.
Acurit Medical Communications Pty Ltd provides bilingual Chinese medical writing services for the pharmaceutical and health industries. We esp. focus on English Chinese literature reviews on nutrition and pharmaceuticals to support marketing claims, regulatory and R&D.
Post last updated: 27 May 2020