Brands key in global suc­cess

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICA - By LIAN ZI in San Francisco zil­ian@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

More than half of young con­sumers in the US would like to buy Chi­nese prod­ucts, if they only knew what they were.

The Univer­sity of San Francisco’s Cen­ter for Asia Pa­cific Stud­ies pre­sented a sem­i­nar en­ti­tled as Ad­ver­tis­ing and Mar­ket­ing in China: Chi­ne­seWestern Cul­tural En­coun­ters on Thurs­day and Fri­day.

“It is nec­es­sary for us to fa­cil­i­tate this in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary con­ver­sa­tion among univer­sity pro­fes­sors and con­tem­po­rary pro­fes­sion­als to fig­ure out mar­ket­ing and ad­ver­tis­ing so­lu­tions for Western prod­ucts in China and Chi­nese prod­ucts in the West,” said Stan­ley Kwong, a pro­fes­sor at the univer­sity.

Although prod­ucts made in China have been sold in the US and other Western coun­tries for a while, aware­ness of Chi­nese brands in over­seas mar­kets is still low, said Kwong.

A survey con­ducted among more than 2,000 con­sumers found that 51 per­cent of young US buy­ers said they would like to pur­chase Chi­nese prod­ucts, said Kwong.

Un­der­stand­ing lo­cal cul­tures and con­sumers’ needs is im­por­tant for Chi­nese com­pa­nies to brand them­selves in the global mar­ket, said Kwong. Adopt­ing an ap­pro­pri­ate English name with good as­so­ci­a­tions is an es­sen­tial mar­ket­ing strat­egy for a Chi­nese brand go­ing global.

His­tor­i­cally, ad­ver­tis­ing was banned in China from 1949 to 1979, said Wei Bing, vi­cepres­i­dent of Global Ini­tia­tive at the Bay Area Coun­cil. “When the open door pol­icy was adopted, Coca Cola was the first Western brand in China,” she said.

Among the Chi­nese com­pa­nies go­ing global over the last few years, a hand­ful of brands such as Haier, Ts­ing­Tao, Huawei and Len­ovo have been suc­cess­ful, said Wei.

Chi­nese com­pa­nies face chal­lenges in the West as the la­bel “Made in China” is still not well re­ceived and of­ten as­so­ci­ated with cheap, lowqual­ity prod­ucts, she said.

“To solve this, Chi­nese com­pa­nies must shift from be­ing prod­uct-driven to be­ing brand-driven, and that means a cor­po­rate brand as well as prod­uct brands,” said Wei.

They should cul­tur­ally re-brand their prod­ucts into an in­ter­na­tional mar­ket to ap­peal to global con­sumers while re­tain­ing their Chi­nese iden­tity, ac­cord­ing to Wei, who re­gards so­cial me­dia as one of the lead­ing brand­ing cam­paign driv­ers in re­cent years for Chi­nese com­pa­nies go­ing global.

At the same time, Western brands want to raise their pro­files in the China mar­ket and so­cial me­dia. Global mag­a­zines such as Elle, Vogue and Cos­mopoli­tan are re­garded as some of the most ef­fi­cient ways to reach Chi­nese con­sumers and trans­mit their val­ues to serve the in­ter­est of global brand­ing, ac­cord­ing to Kather­ine Frith, a pro­fes­sor at South­ern Illi­nois Univer­sity.

As the Chi­nese econ­omy has con­tin­ued to grow over the past years, global brands’ de­mand for ad­ver­tis­ing space in women’s mag­a­zines has in­creased, said Frith.

“In fact, the ed­i­tor of Vogue in China notes that her mag­a­zine has more ad­ver­tis­ing than it has room for in a nor­mal monthly edi­tion and ed­i­tors of Cos­mopoli­tan in China started split­ting the monthly is­sue into two mag­a­zines be­cause it was too thick to print,” she said.

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