Chinese firms need to improve story-telling overseas in brand building

NEW YORK (Xinhua) – Chinese companies need to improve their story-telling skills to better interact with target consumers and strengthen brand building in overseas markets, a senior global brands researcher has said.

Chinese companies should improve their ability in telling stories about how their products would bring new meanings to local consumers and benefit the latter’s life in the international marketplace, Global Head of BrandZ Doreen Wang a brand equity database managed by brand consultancy Kantar, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

“We highly recommend the Chinese brands to really explore local lifestyles, local insights, and local media habits,” she said. “How to deliver great customer experience and how to generate more bonding with consumers are key.”

“Chinese brands are going global. That is a big trend… We believe in the next 10 to 20 years, that’s going to be a major trend,” Wang noted. “We are seeing this trend is not just in the traditional manufacturer-based brands, but it’s really exciting to see technology and AI-based brands are going global.”

“Just give you an example, the drone brand DJI is actually contributing to 70 per cent of the drone market worldwide,” she added.

Global Head of BrandZ Doreen Wang speaks during the launching event of BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2019 held in New York. – XINHUA

A recent study showed that the brand power – a BrandZ measure of brand equity – of Chinese brands in the global market, expanded by 15 per cent year on year, compared with the five per cent growth last year.

The strongest growth of brand power appeared in mobile gaming, e-commerce and smartphone. Huawei, Lenovo and Alibaba are the top three in the 2019 Top 50 BrandZ Chinese Global Brand Builders ranking released in April.

The study also found that brand power has been rising fastest in Japan, France and Spain. Other countries with massive future import potential for Chinese brands involve the United States (US), Britain, Germany and Australia.

Riding the wave, Chinese firms should realise the importance of using proper communication channels in foreign markets, such as mainstream media, to build up brand recognition, Wang stressed.

She further elaborated that non-digital tools like magazines and outdoor publicity events have worked “extremely well” in countries such as Japan and South Africa.

“So we really need to adapt to the local lifestyles, local insights, and especially local media to communicate our stories,” Wang added, adding Chinese brands would not just enter local markets, but also build distinctive images among local consumers and thus become “highly relevant to their life”.

The senior researcher also pointed out that the overall awareness of Chinese brands abroad is still relatively low in the global brand landscape at present.

“Having your products there in the market does not mean that you have a brand,” Wang said. “You have great products, but nobody knows your brands. You still have to sell maybe only one tenth the price of your Western counterparts.”

“Brand building is not happening overnight. So that’s why we’re seeing Chinese brands, like Alibaba, Tencent, Meituan and Didi; they are all working very hard to build their equity day in and day out,” she added. “There is a long way to go.”