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中国色彩,中国品牌
作者:分类:默认分类标签:

(一)

2005年BrandChannel一期中,一个名为Edwin Colyer的作者写了一篇名为“Branding with Chinese

Characters”的文章。文章的大意是认为如果西方品牌采取One size for all 的策略,你的品牌肯定是不

会被中国人接受的,因为我们劳苦大众的中国人已经从一个Labor转化为Consumer了。这篇文章我无意“赞

赏”Colyer先生学识的“渊博”和眼光的“深邃”(这篇文章在80年代发表可能效果更好一点),而我在

这里希望可以谈谈关于Localization和Globalization,以及民族品牌的观点。

记得还有BrandChannel里还有一期是谈Levitt的Globalization的观点,作者认为不应该Globalization,

而应该Localization,因为市场的趋势不会是统一,而是依然保持自己的独特性。

而我认为,采用孔老夫子的一个思想——“中庸”,可以非常“马克思主义地辩证”这个问题。到底采取

哪一个需要根据产品所处的行业、品类以及当地的情况而定。可口可乐全世界统一口味,因为我们从小喝

的就是这个,同时可口可乐是美国文化的一种象征,无论哪里的消费者喝了,都会有一个潜意识,这是美

国的产品。所以,可口可乐可以进行Globalization。而类似于McDonalds’就不一样了,为了迎合不同国

家、不同区域的偏好,口味自然是要变得,因为McDonalds’就是一个餐厅,而和国家没有什么关系。所以

,你不Local一点,就没有人继续买账。

所以,我认为,如果一种产品和一个品牌,是否要进行Globalization,需要考量它的Brand Origin是否被

看重。很多时尚品牌之所以可以获得广泛的认同,是因为它有很好的Brand Origin。而更多时候,产品与

国家是没有太多关系的,Localization肯定是必须的,只是多少的问题。


(二)

然而,这里需要澄清的一点就是,Brand Origin和Brand Spirit的区别。Brand Spirit是我一个概念,是

品牌的一种灵魂,内在的一起种气质。它与Origin(血统)并不一样,它强调了消费者潜意识中可以体会

到的一种感觉。

为什么要说这两个概念呢?因为这就涉及到我想表达的一个观点:中国的品牌应当具有中国的色彩。中国

的色彩不是Made in China,而是应当具有中国人的一种精神。也许你会想起《丑陋的中国人》,也许你会

想到中国依然贫穷落后,中国依然崇洋媚外。但我还是要阿Q一下的。

中国的经济已经开始进行转型了,金融业的开放不仅仅意味着这个行业的兴旺,更意味着中国的中小企业

有了更多的融资渠道,而中国GDP的80%是由这些中小企业所贡献的。资本终于可以进行一个比较大规模的

流动,也就意味着中国的企业的品牌化开始真正的发生了。我们都知道华尔街很牛,但事实上华尔街真正

的效用在于对美国经济的催化作用,而不是塑造了几个大的投行。

而中国的精神是什么呢?我不知道,也不能说,因为会被板砖排死的。但我认为,随着中国经济的逐渐趋

于理性,逐渐趋于正常,未来的几代人中将会产生出一种不可抗拒的力量,也许可以成为China Power吧。

中国力量正是我们中国的品牌所需要承载和表现的。Colyer先生说曾经的中国不喜欢陌生的西方品牌,喜

欢自己的品牌。而我认为这大错特错,中国作为一个落后的经济体,消费者才会产生对洋货的追捧,因为

他们没有自己的文化和信仰。但如今,随着中国新一代和几代的崛起,民族意识和对自有文化的理性态度

,才会让更多的中国人偏爱自己的品牌。从这个意义上说,未来的一代或几代人才可能真正具有一种对民

族品牌的认同感。但这需要中国品牌自身的努力。

除此之外,中国品牌要走出去,同样需要中国的精神。从战略的角度,中国品牌从整体上说是市场的后进

入者。这时就需要差异化。我们很多企业喜欢用低成本和低价格来获得一定的优势。当然这个无可厚非。

但我认为,形成差异化的真正关键在于是否具有中国精神。

无数的案例都涉及到了三星。我也用用吧。三星作为一个韩国品牌,已经成为一种低成本和高质量,也正

是“价值创新”的楷模。事实上,整个韩国企业都在从事这样一个模式的经营。这样,韩国非常可能成为

“创新”的代名词。

中国需要什么呢?

我们期待着…


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Branding with Chinese Characters


Everyone is talking about China, and not just because the country is hosting the next Olympic

Games. Since its entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001, China has been seen in a

new light: not just the world's center of manufacturing, but now a legitimate consumer

market, open for business. Any company with international intentions would be foolish to

ignore the opportunities that China has to offer. 


In fact, says Mark Kennedy, director of marketing and brand consulting in Landor Associates'

Hong Kong office, China has grabbed the West's imagination for decades. “Many companies have

been in China longer than you think; it's just that today things are much easier,” he

remarks. “Around 1995 things were going bananas, and a lot of companies entered at that

point. They looked at the size of the country, saw a billion potential customers, and

couldn't resist entering. A lot of companies are now on their second or third entry, having

messed up the first time round.”  


Hans Fuchs, managing director of the German consultancy Chinabrand, agrees that the West has

had a long liaison dangerous with the People's Republic. “During the first period the

approach was to build up production and manufacturing—labor in China was cheap. Now that

initial period is done and most global companies have production in China. Now they want part

of the Chinese market too.” 


Suddenly the Chinese are transformed from laborers to consumers—and companies are only just

discovering how to market to them. Can branding win the hearts of these fiercely price-driven

people? 


“There are some specific problems that anyone looking to win some Chinese market share must

know,” says Fuchs. “First, most Western brands are too expensive for the average Chinese

consumer.” Most consumer brands in the West are geared toward (and priced for) people with

annual incomes of around US$ 20,000, Fuchs says. In China, an annual income of US$ 3,000 is

good. “Even in Shanghai, the richest city in China, most of the Western shops are empty, the

shops of Chinese brands are crowded.” 


The Chinese are fiercely patriotic, too. Says Fuchs, “They want to buy Chinese goods. Except

in the categories where the brand's appeal is specifically its Western origin, then Chinese

products tend to [only] win on both price and provenance grounds.” 


It is simply naïve to believe that you can move a product into China with a Western price

point, and perform well. And if you simply move in with your standard, one-size-fits-all

branding then failure is almost inevitable. Experience shows that many Western brands do not

cross the cultural divides. 


The language barrier is the first obstacle to overcome. Western languages codify words in

written script whereas each Chinese character represents a word. So any brand moving into

China has to decide how it will be rendered in Chinese—both phonetically and visually. 


According to Bing Ho and Hal Fiske of Baker & McKenzie, about half of the foreign brands used

in Chinese-speaking jurisdictions are translated phonetically, half conceptually. Phonetic

transliterations include Louis Vuitton ("lu yi wei den”) and Nokia ("nuo ji ya"). Shell and

Nestlé, meanwhile, have opted for literal translations of their names: "bei ke" (a shell) and

“que chao" (a swallow's nest) respectively. 


 The best renderings, however, are those that marry the two approaches together, and Coca-

Cola's choice of “ke kou ke le"is perhaps one of the best examples. In the early days

shopkeepers would use any characters that gave a close phonetic approximation to “Coca-Cola.

” Thus resulting in an oft-told story of Coke’s early translation problems. Today, the

consistent use of “ke kou ke le" ensures that (in Mandarin at least), consumers understand

Coke to “permit the mouth to rejoice.” 


Big brands like Coca-Cola have to choose their Chinese name with care. “Five years ago, so

long as the name sounded OK, it didn't matter that much,” says Mark Kennedy. “Now you have

to have a name that works visually, phonetically, and means something too.” 


But a name is only the beginning. Marketing and advertising is equally tricky in the Chinese

market. You may have a thoroughly researched brand strategy for Western markets, you may know

your positioning and your key messages, but there is no guarantee that any of it will work in

China. 


“In terms of messages, some Western brands make the mistake of addressing personal or

individualistic things in their promotions,” notes Fuchs. “But the Chinese think in terms

of community. They look at group issues; they see themselves as members of a group. 


“Chinese society is a relationship society. The Chinese are not so easy with big bang

advertising. They listen to recommendations, and emotional appeals. They are phenomenal

readers and talkers and branding works well using word of mouth. Brands therefore must tell a

story and have a strong identity and history.” 


Basically, a global brand strategy must be tweaked and adjusted for China. If your target

market in the West is the 25-year-old college graduate, there's no reason to think that a 25

-year-old graduate in Shanghai would be at all similar. Furthermore, a graduate from Shanghai

may have a very different view on life from a graduate in one of China’s smaller inland

cities. 


“People have little understanding of what China is,” says Mark Kennedy. “They think

Shanghai equals China, but this is far from the case. China is a huge landmass. Beyond

Shanghai, Beijing and the developing east coast, cities have limited infrastructure—this is

still an emerging market.” 


Most companies launch in eastern coastal towns (usually Shanghai), hoping for some sort of

halo effect. They use the cities as a showcase, and as these markets become saturated the

idea is to move to secondary and tertiary cities. What they do not allow for is the vast

contrast in language, culture, tastes and attitudes between the different regions of the

country.


“There is no such thing as a Chinese consumer,” Kennedy warns. “Proper research is

paramount.” 


Fuchs echoes this call. “This is where people have gone wrong in the past. Market research

is very underdeveloped in China—you just don't have the facts, figures and consumer

insights. And most of the official facts and figures are inaccurate so you cannot trust

published data. You've got to do lots of original research.” 


The end result of the branding exercise (the look and feel) may not resemble the brand in

other countries, but how you get there should not change. The fact that the market is

developing is no excuse for shortcuts.


It is important that companies quickly learn to get their branding right, for competition is

increasing fast. Choice is exploding and the brand will quickly become the main

differentiator. Joseph Wang of Ogilvy & Mather in Beijing puts it thus: “China is like a

child that has had no toys,” he says, “then suddenly the world's biggest Toys R Us opens up

round the corner. There's a tendency to overdose at the moment, but they are learning fast.

The consumer is becoming more demanding and brands must be able to meet their desires.”   

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