Thursday, August 28, 2008
The quest for the absolute best also goes for marketing. In our European home base, one of our most popular services is helping companies identify their unique selling proposition and positioning, and to help them differentiate themselves from their competition. Basic marketing strategy, right? Segment, target, position. Be unique.
Not right. Offering to help a Chinese brand differentiate itself will never work. Chinese don’t want to be different, even if it is in a relevant and sustainable way, tailored to a specific target audience. This target audience in turn also doesn’t want a different product or service, tailored to its needs.
Chinese want the best. Simply the best. And if this means copying a great idea, only to make it even better, so be it. As one China-connoisseur once put it, there is no merit to be gained by being innovative.
This helps explain why all premium brands, be it Kohler toilet seats, Garmin navigation devices or Pepsi cola, swear by testimonials for their advertising. Do we see any originality here? Any great consumer insights? Any right-on positioning? No. All we see is repetition of the same great idea, letting a famous person tell the world how good your product is. But who’s asking for originality anyway?
Catherine Crevels works for the Belgian marketing consulting firm The House of Marketing out of its Shanghai office.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
B&T Today carries the story of The Daily Telegraph hitting back at British tabloid The Sun’s attempt to poke fun at
24 hours later and The Daily Telegraph responded with its own take on the gold medal standings. The article says a truck has been driving around
Great stuff!! Too bad
Friday, August 22, 2008
Be it leading executives of world-class brands, expensive reports by international research agencies, or small-time entrepreneurs venturing out into the world’s biggest developing market, they all seem to agree on one thing:
With a middle class growing by double digits annually, millions of spend-happy consumers trying out anything new at any price, a youth culture increasingly built on brands, and a growing need to project personal achievement through material assets,
Our consulting company came to
Because marketing is the next big thing, right? After being the world’s factory for decades,
So the cake is huge, but how to get a piece of it?
The very first thing I read in different books in preparation to coming to
On top of the business-related challenges in redefining your added value towards Chinese companies, are the everyday interpersonal challenges of cross cultural communication. On the surface, modern Chinese life seems very similar to what we know in the West. Under the surface however, the differences are huge. I’ve experienced that the Chinese have another perspective of time, timing and deadlines. A deadline is set and worked towards, but if it becomes clear that the deadline will not be met, it is simply delayed, hence losing all its intrinsic purpose. I’ve also learned that the Chinese are very process oriented as opposed to task- or result-driven. It is the way something is done, the way people interact that is important, not the result that is or must be achieved. The Chinese have a greater appreciation than me for power distance: the boss can never be wrong, can never not know something, and must always be pleased, even if this is impossible. Straightforward reporting and honest feedback become rare luxuries in this context.
It’s clear that there’s no guaranteed recipe for success. The hundreds of self-help books on how to become a millionaire overnight only slightly overshadow the number of titles written around how to be successful in
For my colleagues and me, every day sheds new light on the mystery of success in