Marketing in China is no easy task. Even for well-known international brands, with the continuous increase of marketing channels in China, entering the market requires constant attention.
What should foreign companies pay special attention to before launching a Chinese marketing plan?
When all companies have the same goals, how can they stand out in the fierce competition?
While maintaining the identity of foreign brands, how can companies truly interact and establish connections with local consumers?
With all these issues in mind, let us conduct a series of case studies while further discussions to understand how foreign companies play a role in China's marketing success or failure game.
1. Misunderstanding of Chinese traditional culture
When it comes to marketing in China, the first and most essential thing you need to do is ensure that you correctly convey your information to your target consumers.
We all know the importance of this. Unfortunately, however, almost all foreign marketers forget to understand cultural differences to solve this seemingly simple task completely.
This can happen even for big brands that are clearly not new to the Chinese market and have the resources to properly conduct research and plan their marketing activities.
2. Cannot translate campaign messages correctly
Many people think that translating from their native language to Chinese is as easy as most other languages. However, try to talk to someone trying to learn Mandarin, and they will tell you how difficult it is to translate directly!
In this case, it is essential to have native Chinese speakers. Many examples show that a company's poor translation can have disastrous consequences for the company's reputation. In addition, Chinese is a very contextual and contextual language, so it may be difficult for translation software to translate Chinese correctly.
Chinese is also constantly developing as a language, and many Internet vocabularies will continue to be produced. One technique we have always found effective is to find translations relevant to your target audience to ensure that they use the correct language and phrases to correctly attract your audience. Advertising copy is an essential part of marketing, not content that the brand can present at will.
3. Misuse of old Chinese stereotypes
When trying to use unique products or advertising campaigns to attract the Chinese market, please make sure you don't simply pile up dragons, phoenixes, red lanterns, blue and white porcelain, and other Chinese cultural patterns. This is just like cowboy hats, burgers, and apple pie that target Americans in advertising for many Chinese.
Indeed, these may be the most easily recognizable Chinese cultural elements in other parts of the world, but this does not mean that they are now helpful in communicating with Chinese consumers. If you want to create a marketing product for Chinese consumers, please consider the unique tastes of your audience, not just rely on these ancient themes!
4. A well-thought-out advertising campaign involves sensitive issues
Touching taboo topics is definitely a mistake that any brand should not make when marketing in China. Nevertheless, such errors still appear in the Chinese marketing strategies of many Western companies.
5. Acknowledge China's position on territorial integrity
Another detail you need to keep in mind about China's marketing strategy is the indisputable topic of territorial integrity.
Last year, Delta Air Lines, Qantas, and Zara had to update their websites because they listed Hong Kong and Taiwan as separate countries from China. Marriott's website in China was also shut down after classifying Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau as different countries.
Suppose China is an important market for your business. In that case, you will do your best to avoid any political problems because the strong opposition caused by such incidents may cause irreparable losses to your brand.
The final point of marketing to Chinese consumers
Although foreign companies have taken all these wrong measures when marketing in China, it is not difficult for Chinese consumers to sell to them in the right way.
No matter how you plan to formulate your marketing strategies in China, if you want to make them attractive in China, two things are essential:
- Have a profound understanding of local culture
- appropriately incorporate into Chinese culture and deliver the information you want.