Is Chinese branding ready for a great leap forward?

Chinese branding lags far behind Chinese manufacturing.

Chinese businesses seem temporarily content to be the world’s manufacturer. That means the $6 item purchased in the US delivers to them only one dollar out of the six, far less than it delivers to the brand holders. But they will adapt, and the impact on Chinese GNP will be profound.

Yes, Lenovo is a solid and growing Chinese brand, but it’s the exception. Consider three firms who hope to gain a foothold in American and European markets: TCL, ZTE, and BYD. (Notice a pattern?)

Chinese branding lags. Most brands invisible in the U.S.

Chinese branding is invisible in the U.S.

If we were to ask you what they make, you’d likely draw a blank. If we told you they make televisions, cell phones, and hybrid cars, respectively, you might express mild curiosity.  But if we asked you again tomorrow – you’d probably go blank again, trying to place those anonymous un-memorable brands. The lesson?

We suggest company naming should never be done by company owners. It requires skill sets not found in their basic business. Please read The Curse of the Three-Initial Company Name.

We welcome your comments.

Comments 2

  1. Is it time to personalize the Chinese brands? I’m thinking of what the Japanese consumer brands did when they were breaking into our market: Datsun/Nissan had Mr. K., Sony ran ads about their quirky researchers, Subarus were cute…

    All the Chinese brands are kind of faceless, corporate, evoking big scary manufacturing facilities instead of, e.g., quirky Japanese laboratories. So let’s get some adorable spokespeople, completely made up if necessary.

    I happen to thin that’s a job for PR, vs advertising, but what do I know?…

  2. I think you’re on the right track. In American perceptions, Chinese industry is massively impersonal and monolithic. A bit of wit, as in self-deprecating humor, would be an unexpected delight, and quite disarming.

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