Chinese consumers demand authenticity. They expect brands to meet their needs and don’t easily forget failed or half-hearted attempts made by foreign companies to engage with them. So, whether you are a global brand or just starting out, it is vital to create a Chinese brand if you are to flourish in what is a highly complex and varied market.
But, with an enormous language barrier, cultural differences and contrasting branding methods to overcome, creating one that thrives can be extremely challenging. Here are seven essential steps to help you towards building your own.
Research your original brand name and logo
Before setting out, it’s important to take the time to research your original brand name – or any prospective new Chinese one – and logo. First you need to establish if your name is being used by another company, as international copyright laws don’t apply in the mainland. Next, you must ensure the English name itself doesn’t have any phonetically similar words in Mandarin, Cantonese or any other regional dialects that carry negative connotations.
Develop a Chinese name
The name you create can be the difference between success and failure. What may be a clever brand or product name in English will almost certainly lose all that value in translation and in many cases can cause serious embarrassment. Therefore, you must ensure you effectively localise your existing brand name, or create a completely new one, that considers the unique linguistic, cultural, religious and political environment of China. To achieve this, employing the knowledge of local experts is by far the best way to ensure you craft it effectively. create a Chinese brand
Creating a visual brand identity
Searching for a specific colour, creating images for the brand, having a unique typography and colour spectrum are just some of the elements that make up the visual identity of a brand. However, colours, numbers and other symbolism can be interpreted very differently. As a result, companies must take care to ensure their visual branding doesn’t work against them. For example, the colour white holds a connection with sickness and death, so it would be a particularly poor choice for a health company. create a Chinese brand
Blend universal similarities
Localising your brand means prioritising the tastes of Chinese consumers. However, despite these differences, all people share common similarities that you can use to your advantage. Love, inspiration, hope, prosperity and friendship are aspirations that universally chime which can be strategically employed. Blending these into your brand will allow prospective customers to better relate to it, while maintaining a consistent global identity.
Position yourself properly
Because you will be catering to a completely different culture it is essential to understand how this can impact your market positioning. Just because your brand has a good market impact in your own region doesn’t mean it will produce similar results in China. Equally the differences between individual provinces can be enormous, so a strategy that is successful in Shanghai may not work in Chengdu. Therefore, you must take the time to understand how your consumers shop and how you can fit into that mix. Learning from your competitor is a good step to take, especially for companies on a tight budget who can’t afford high quality research. By understanding how they do their branding you can ascertain how yours can stand out.
Promote your brand online
The Middle Kingdom is home to the world’s largest online population, with over 700 million users, and creating an online presence in China’s digital ecosystem is essential if you are to promote your brand effectively. The first step is to create a Chinese website, allowing you to build trust and credibility with consumers. Even more crucial is establishing an official social media presence, enabling you to engage directly and better meet public needs. Planning a digital marketing strategy should occur well in advance of market entry so you can hit the ground running. create a Chinese brand
Protect Your Brand
Having gone to all this work developing a new brand you need to take steps to protect it. Your priority should be to register your name and logo as a trademark. Remember, if you are exporting from China you will also need to apply for a second additional form of trademark. To do this, seeking out a reputable firm who can talk you through and register on your behalf will ease the process. Chinese brand
Pursuing the development of a Chinese brand offers a vast opportunity to expand your business but it entails a lot of hard work and expertise in order to make it successful. Click here to find out more about how our Chinese and international consultants can help your business flourish.
create a Chinese brand