Brands work best when they combine design and manufacturing superiority, functional excellence, superb service delivery with emotional attachment and an attractive and unique personality.”
CEO of Brand Finance
where brands can flourish, copyright and intellectual property can be protected, and counterfeit brands are strictly prohibited, she adds.
Temporal, who is also a visiting professor at Peking University’s HSBC Business School in Shenzhen, says: “Every nation has an identity, and if that identity is very positive, then this will help companies coming out of China into the world market because it is a country-of-origin effect, and if they do well, then this spins back to the national brand.
“This is what happened with countries such as Germany. They are known for reliability, quality and engineering, and therefore if all the brands that come out from Germany, particularly in automobiles, are fine, people are quite happy,” he says.
For a long time, China’s economic growth has been heavily dependent on low-cost manufacturing rather than marketing and branding, and research and development. R&D, however, creates intellectual property and trademarks, patents and copyrights, making it difficult for competitors to imitate.
Similarly, marketing activities create brands and loyal customers, which produce differential advantages for the country, Wang says. “All major advanced countries have both innovation capabilities and strong brands.”
In a 2015 Best Global Brands report by Interbrand, eight in 10 of the world’s 100 most valuable brands were from the US, with Apple ranking first with $170.27 billion, followed by Google, Coca-Cola, Microsoft and IBM. Only two Chinese brands were listed in the top 100, Huawei ($4.95 billion) at 88, and Lenovo ($4.11 billion) at 100.
Temporal explains that the secret recipe for these valuable global brands is the ability to emotionally connect with consumers, and most Chinese brands do not have the knowledge and skills so ably demonstrated by Western companies in this aspect of brand building.