Awareness of Chinese brands in international markets has declined over the past three years. The “Brand Power” of leading Chinese brands is up 15% year-on-year, compared with 5% growth last year. “Brand Power” is rising fastest in Japan, France, and Spain, representing emerging hubs of growth, according to the BrandZ™ Top 50 Chinese Brand Builders 2019 report.
More should be done to ensure they thrive in an increasingly cutthroat global market which presents not only significant growth opportunities but also unprecedented levels of competition.
Awareness of Chinese brands in international markets has declined over the past three years. Brands that can differentiate themselves from the competition and be more salient – staying front-of-mind for consumers – are more powerful.
The report selected these seven developed markets from different geographic regions: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Australia, and Japan.
It also selected a mix of 12 established and internet-driven categories in which Chinese brands are active overseas: consumer electronics, home appliances, airlines, cars, smart devices, mobile gaming, e-commerce, online fast fashion, payment networks, oil & gas, banks, and content apps.
Three ingredients comprise Brand Power:
- Meaningful (meeting functional and emotional needs in relevant ways);
- Different (being distinctive or trend-setting); and
- Salient (coming easily to mind in a buying situation).
Meaningful and Different scores of each brand were computed based on Google Survey answers. Each brand’s Salience was computed based on the survey answers and the brand’s search index in Google and YouTube.
The 2019 study covers 12 categories reflecting the breadth of business sectors in which Chinese brands are going, and growing, overseas.
Consumer electronics and mobile gaming account for almost half the Brand Power of the full Top 50 (34% and 14% of total Brand Power respectively), with home appliances and e-commerce the next biggest contributors contributing 11% and 10%.
Online fashion has seen the largest rise in Brand Power, with Sheln and Zaful fuelling the growth of 57%. Home appliances grew by 39%, e-commerce 30%, smart devices 20%, both banks/payment networks and consumer electronics by 17%, and mobile gaming by 11%. Cars fell 5%.
Top-five takeaways for Chinese brands:
● Have “brand-centric” ambitions
Products and services can come and go, but a strong brand that stands for something meaningful, beyond what a business actually makes and sells, can last many lifetimes.
A strong brand with a powerful purpose is what gives business permission in consumers’ minds to move into new products, services, and sectors – and to try new business models. It all hangs on the brand. There’s a compelling correlation between strong brands, valuable brands, and financially successful businesses.
Make insights-driven decisions in determining your route to market
Linking first-party data with market insights, trends data, and behavioral data can help brands identify where the strongest areas of opportunity lie in their sector – and specifically for Chinese brands in their category.
At its broadest level, this means helping guide a brand’s decision on whether to launch first in market A or market B, but it goes far beyond this. Data can also identify precisely what consumers really need, and therefore where the opportunity lies for brands.
Draw on the best local talent to identify the best local insights
To draw the most useful learnings from rich data streams requires insights to be seen through the lens of experts in local business and consumer culture. And who better to provide that expertise than people with experience in each target market?
Some of the most successful Chinese global brands spend many months – and significant resources – embedding their Chinese staff with local companies and experts to gain a deep understanding of what works locally. They also hire senior people from leading local brands who know how things are done.
This approach is reminiscent of many Western multinationals’ entry into China in the 1990s; those who tried to roll out a Western model largely failed, while those who worked with Chinese staff to understand the nuances of the local market were able to ensure they had a locally relevant proposition.
Create compelling, high-quality content; draw on the power of influential people
Storytelling is an essential part of driving brand awareness, helping brands make meaningful and memorable connections with consumers, and building loyalty. It can also be used to deliver on short-term objectives, such as promoting the features of a new product and converting browsers to buyers.
Video storytelling has long been a powerful way to build a brand; now brands can use online video to reach greater numbers of people in new and creative ways. The ability to target audiences also gives them the opportunity to present content that’s tailored to resonate with specific groups of people – and even individuals.
Consumers place immense trust in the recommendations of people they feel having their best interests at heart. While friends and family used to be the first port of call for advice on products and services, the sense of intimacy created by online media means that online influencers such as video bloggers now also feel like friends and are sought-after sources of wisdom.
For brands, the opportunity to join forces with influencers who share their values – and who are passionate about the subjects they talk about – is incredibly powerful. As well as giving them another way to influence a purchase decision, online influencers enable brands to open up conversations with consumers rather than simply send out messages.
Full Ranking of The BrandZ Top 50 Chinese Overseas Brand Builders 2019
This post was originally published on Kantar.com.