The biggest misconception facing western organizations looking to develop their brands in the China market is that they must adapt their value proposition and messaging for the Chinese. The truth, as proven by WPIC's many successful branding KPIs, is that Chinese consumers are global consumers. It is not culturally sensitive but patronizing -and wrong- to assume that Chinese culture imparts an inability to appreciate a western brand unless accompanied by ancient-Chinese-culture-appropriate positioning. In fact, in most cases it is detrimental to a western brand to appear too localized. Today's Chinese culture is consumer culture, just as it is in the West. Like us, the Chinese define themselves by their consumption. Thus the national disinclination to most Chinese brands, at an unfair disadvantage due to Western competitors' head start. Western brands have an automatic perceptive advantage in China's market, online or otherwise. Maximizing that advantage through adept conveyance of unique value proposition is a key challenge, as is amplifying the messaging of that value efficiently, so that it reaches targeted eyes.Read More »
Brand equity, as we used to know it, has plummeted in China as much as in the West. The Information Age enables consumers to compare products and services quickly and objectively, leaving little need to rely on a brand’s reputation. Therefore, branding is no longer an exercise in telling stories, or “telling” anything else, for that matter. Rather, it is an exercise in showing consumers value by engaging them along every phase of the sales journey.
The Internet has created both this new model of branding, as well as the means by which to implement it. Digital marketing channels are growing integrated, so that performance marketing, social media, content marketing, and their variations can be rapidly deployed to work together in creating a new, vibrant brand experience for Chinese consumers.
WPIC has developed a vetted process that gears western brands for quick, sustainable, revenue-generating traction in the China market. We believe in exploiting Chinese consumers’ perceived high quality and authenticity of western products and services, by providing them an on-brand experience customized for China’s unique Internet ecosystem. WPIC has capabilities for all aspects of such China brand development in its wheelhouse – technical, creative, and commercial. Your brand journey will be planned and executed with comprehensive measurement at all phases, for unrivaled adaptability, leading to most efficient market penetration.
Get in touch now to discuss launching or revitalizing your brand in China with WPIC, and qualify for a free ten hours of customized consultation.
A Canadian real estate marketing company wanted to establish a brand to attract Chinese overseas investors, and match them with Canadian agents and developers. The brand needed to convey luxury, reliability, and expertise. Furthermore, the brand needed to be launched across a broad yet targeted section of the Chinese Internet, in order to gain relatively rapid traction and recognition.
- Development of brand kit: logo, palette, fonts, Mandarin copy guidelines
- Creation of brand media assets: videos, press releases, photo sets, introductory articles
- Development of a branded website, hosted in China, integrated for form fill and database building
- Digital PR plan, including steps for conversion and tracking
- Creation of Mandarin physical promotion assets: business cards, brochures, and displays
The marketing company was able to show Chinese engagement metrics, in the form of conversions, emails, and online reach, to secure over $250,000 worth of property advertising on the Chinese site within three months of launch.
Western companies who feel branding in the China market involves Sinofication, educating the market about its offering, and hitting Chinese cultural touchpoints have been misguided.
A recent BrandZ survey of China's 50 most valuable brands found western companies dominating number one and the top ten in almost all consumer categories, from fast food to electronics.
The reasons fall under two categorie. First is the massive lead western brands have in developing stories, brands, and brand equity. Second is the endemic mistrust Chinese have for domestic brands. The latter may or may not be justified, but frequent food scandals, and China's global reputation as the source of cheap imitation products have left all Chinese brands fighting out of the corner, deservedly or not.
The proliferation of Starbucks, the NBA, imported red wine, and other global consumer niches in China has occurred at a rate far beyond the ability for any westerners to have 'educated the market' as to their benefits. The Chinese know the West far better than the reverse case is true, out of a monolithic will to evolve into global, savvy consumers. All the while, pundits have admonished that only Chinese experts can hope to effectively gain brand equity and market share, despite the utter failure of any Chinese organizations to either anticipate consumer trends or develop rival brands. Xiaomi and other software-based offerings are the esteemed exception.
But for now and the foreseeable future, Chinese are choosing western brands whenever possible. They make that choice based on the same motivations and touch points as western consumers, a desire to express themselves, display status, and other social signifiers. This means that the first and final branding mandate of the western organization in China is to communicate its UVP authentically and transparently, and to make sure the story around its UVP can be found online at the center of the conversation around the relevant industry.Read More »