Today, the world is getting to know China through its brands. You would be able to name a few – Huawei, Alibaba, Xiaomi – although you are not so sure if you pronounce their names correctly. Associated with these names are Chinese products and Chinese innovations that continue to grow as the most disruptive power to the global market, redefining the meaning of “Made in China.”
“Made in China” no longer just stands for supplying the world with factory goods. It increasingly implies a different perspective on how a product can solve a problem, create new consumer demands and unlock new opportunities.
However, this change is challenged by reputational issues imposed on Chinese brands by political tensions and trade conflicts. That is why it is more urgent than ever for the brands to build better understanding and trust with its publics – consumers, business partners, regulators, governments and employees – relationships that help them withstand and rebound from crisis and adversity.
A balance of the performance of the product and the purpose of the brand allows the brand and product to cut through. “Chinese brands often use their muscle to create awareness when a new product launches.” Says Simon Shaw, H+K Global Chief Creative Strategy + Innovation Officer, “The trouble is you forget it very quickly because they’re only talking about a product, not the brand, so they’re not building long-term love or loyalty. They’re using their financial muscle to buy media space, but not necessarily telling a story that will resonate in the longer term.”
Last week in Beijing, Simon joined top Chinese brands to discuss how to build their going global strategy at BrandZ’s 2019 Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands launch event. He introduced H+K’s systematic approach to enable brands to clearly communicate with the “multiple publics,” paving the way for success in global markets. The three pillars that make up the “Going Global” strategy are:
World changing. Reframe the brand through the lens of its contribution to world. Brands need to be able to articulate and demonstrate its ‘purpose’ – what is the brand’s contract with society; what their innovations enable – in order to define its place in the world.
World partners. Earn an understanding with the public. Engage with others – influencers, media, brand partnerships – and have others tell your stories for you. Don’t do it alone. Be part of the conversation. It must be an earned first approach to drive authenticity and credibility.
World footprint. Give your publics a “touch point” outside of China – this can be digital or physical. It is about your publics experiencing your brand to make it “feel real.”
All delivered through your World Voice – communicating in a consistent way on the global stage.
At H+K, we have brought together a group of specialist consultants from across our network to work with Chinese brands to deliver against this strategy. Collectively they are known as “The Shanghai Addition.”
The specialist consultants of “The Shanghai Addition” combine the wisdom and experience of our network gained through working with clients like Huawei, Envision and Wanda and use that insight to accelerate the ambitions and success of other Chinese clients. We build bespoke teams to address our clients’ challenges. Today, it is helping leading Chinese companies develop the right communication strategies to connect them with new audiences around the world and deliver success on the global stage.