Adapting your brand for China is often talked about and for good reason. For China’s unique and diverse market, a solid strategy is required for a chance at success in one of the world’s most competitive markets. Long gone are the days when a brand could enter China and take off due to fact that it was foreign; today a China-specific strategy is needed. Chinese consumer preferences can shift on a dime and understanding what Chinese like about your products, destination or service is vital to understanding how you can better meet the needs of Chinese consumers.
What is often overlooked is how Chinese perceive your brand in its home country. With 109 million Chinese travelling abroad in 2014 – 350% more than in 2005 – they are seeing more of the world and in turn more brands at their place of origin. Take luxury goods, where 25% of all luxury purchases made globally are by Chinese consumers, 60% of which are made outside of Mainland China. Even as interests shift from the traditional shopping to more experience-based activities, shopping is still an important part of Chinese travellers’ trip. How a brand is perceived by Chinese tourists abroad plays an important role in your brand’s strategy in Mainland China and at home.
Understanding the customer journey is vital for purchasing a product or service at home or abroad. With 84% of Chinese travellers sharing the good and bad on social media before, during and after they travel, not only the travellers themselves can see the brand in its home country, but their network of friends and family. This spread of tourists and information creates the need for a smarter strategy including a China-country of origin-world strategy tailored towards Chinese consumers.
Chinese consumers will learn about the true origin and perception of the brand both in and out of China and it is important that the disconnect between the product or service in its homeland and in China are minimal. When Chinese see and experience your brand in its homeland, it is a great way to drive your brand forward both at home and in China. For example, when Chinese travellers have a great experience in your hotel in California, they will be more likely to stay in your hotel in China or Australia. When they get great service from Mandarin speakers at your makeup counter in London, they will expect the same great experience in China.
Understanding the unique, fast changing needs of Chinese consumers, and the perception of your brand in and out of China will assist in getting your strategy right. In addition, tracking trends and perceptions to improving your strategy will give your brand the best chance to stay ahead of the rest. China Skinny can help with initial strategy, current happenings in the market and more. Get in touch today.