We read with interest a recent article in Marketing Week outlining ‘5 lessons for brands looking east to China’. This is a subject close to our heart, of course, and one on which we have written extensively in the past. With China still a vitally important country for many Western organisations – among them a number of our clients – we thought this article might be of interest to you today. Taken from an event co-hosted by WPP Group and UK Trade & Investment, below are five considerations for Western brands with an eye on China’s potential:
1: Appreciate the value of branding
China is “under-branded and under-advertised”, but appreciation of brand building appears to be growing. Brands that invest in this area can prosper amongst China’s burgeoning middle classes, and the top CEOs of Chinese businesses are beginning to recognise that “brand building is the future”.
2: Think not what China can do for your business, but what you can do for China
China has established a series of ambitions for its own economy; these include being less reliant on exporting, and increasing domestic consumption. Many Chinese businesses are, therefore, looking for ways to move up the value chain. With this in mind, British brands that can demonstrate how they can help drive this shift in China’s economy, and help businesses move up the value chain, will do well.
3: Trust and meaningful differentiation
China has something of a reputation for counterfeit products, meaning brands that can offer reassurance and deliver on their promises will rapidly gain the trust of Chinese consumers. The ability for brands to build up trust in China is likely to be a differentiating and “deciding factor” for brands’ success in coming years.
4: Explore the hinterlands
China’s top tier cities have obvious appeal for international brands but they are not where the current growth is. Brands that are looking to do business in China should look beyond these saturated markets to the tier two (and tier three) cities of China. These are the areas where government is prioritising growth.
5: Understand consumer psyche and appreciate cultural differences
China is a unique country, and understanding its history and its culture is “fundamental” for Western businesses to successfully engage with its consumers. Brands must embrace the practices in China rather than attempting to force new approaches.
• Please click here to see some of our papers and articles on entering China (and other international markets).
• You can read the Marketing Week article in full here.