China is the largest consumer market and the second largest economy in the world. But to enter the market and make investment in this country sensible, you must first understand Chinese consumers, that buy goods for reasons very different from their western counterpart. They choose them on the basis of credibility and authenticity. That’s why the brands that impress with their messaging and branding businesses are the only ones that are successful.
International mentality does not thrive in China as people are very connected to their roots and traditions. They want brands to speak their language (literally) if they want to do business with them. And since the Chinese consumer group includes a thriving middle class with excellent buying potential, companies that want to work in this market will have to respond to this demand: localize their brand.
What do we mean by localize to locate your brand? Let’s start with a fundamental aspect:
The name of the brand in Chinese
Living in a collectivist society, Chinese consumers tend to value the opinions of friends and families when making decisions. Therefore, brand recognition is extremely important because it allows people to easily talk about you and fuel word of mouth.
The name of your brand in Chinese is the first impression that the consumer will have of you, this alone seems to us a good reason to commit to choosing the right name in Chinese.
Let’s see 6 characteristics that your brand name in Chinese should have:
- Reflect brand attributes: does not necessarily have to be a direct or phonetic translation of the original name;
- Choose characters with positive meanings. The emphasis on auspiciousness, good luck, happiness, power and status is very important in Chinese culture;
- Be descriptive, easy to remember and convey a specific feeling;
- Be visually and acoustically appealing;
- To convey the history of the brand and its essence;
- Be in line with China’s intellectual property regulations.
Choosing the correct name in Chinese is very complex. Some names may sound beautiful in Mandarin, but they may sound weird or even offensive in other regional dialects, which can hurt your branding strategy.
An example of excellent brand naming in China is Carrefour. Carrefour’s Chinese name “家乐福” is pronounced “Jia Le Fu” and the three Chinese characters combined mean “bring happiness and joy home “, reflecting a positive image as a food retailer.
The localization of content does not only come from the name, but from all the content you produce to be seen in China (websites, brochures, social media). Rely on experienced professionals to navigate these difficult waters.
Understanding cultural differences
We finally have an appropriate name, but our work of building a good brand reputation in China has only just begun. As mentioned above, the Chinese market is very different from the typical Western market. For example, in China, people prefer to opt for genuine products even if it means paying a higher price.
Furthermore, as mentioned, Chinese consumers believe in making collective purchasing decisions rather than individual choices. Their purchases are influenced by their social circles, which is why it’s so important for brands to target a collective rather than an individual.
Finally, it is imperative to maintain a positive reputation more than anything else in China. Of course, a good image is important for doing business in any country, but it is quite crucial in China as people actively prefer their brands to be associated with good PR.
Make your brand visible
The world has gotten smaller after globalization, but China still appears to be a closed book. Most Western sites and communications platforms are not visible and it is therefore necessary to use Chinese channels to have visibility.
China has more than 1 billion million active social media users and one of the most thriving e-commerce markets in the world. Chinese consumers, especially Millennials and Gen Z, tend to do research on social media before purchasing a product, for this reason his it is very important to be present on a social level and above all to have a good digital reputation.
Collaboration with influencers is particularly effective when the goal is brand awareness, brand reputation and visibility.
Having a good name and content translated into your language is useless if they are not visible to the public . The power of social media in China is not always clear in the West, but we can safely say that not being present on Chinese social media has the same (negative) impact as not having a website in the West.
If you want to accelerate the success of your brand on the Chinese market and have a branding strategy tailor-made for you, contact us!