How to Boost Your Company’s Consumer Appeal in China
With the world’s second-largest economy and a population of over 1.5 billion, China represents a consumer market that companies and investors are scrambling to take advantage of. What is the best way to market yourself and your brand to the average Chinese consumer? China has a vastly different culture from most western societies, and standard advertising techniques that work in the US may fall flat when it comes to the Chinese mindset. If you’re seeking to expand your company into China’s fertile market, follow these tips for boosting your brand, and you can’t lose.
Deliver in terms of value. While the Chinese are very brand-conscious—45% of the population equate a higher price with higher quality—they are also extremely pragmatic in their financial decisions, which are motivated primarily by value and not loyalty to a particular brand. So if you really want to win them over, be sure that quality at an economical price is irrevocably linked to your brand name.
Develop an appealing aesthetic. A functioning product or service is still the top priority for the Chinese consumer, but as tastes become more complex, there has been an increasing demand for products with sensually pleasing characteristics. For example, consumers take more stock in a visually beautiful or interesting package design or logo.
Don’t push them to spend more than they can afford. It will be a wasted effort. While consumers worldwide tend to trade off purchases in certain categories as their financial means change, American consumers often buy with credit, thus spending more than they can afford. To the Chinese, financial stability is paramount, and while they may upgrade what brands they buy, they will never do it without careful consideration.
Cultivate your online presence. The new Chinese consumer is internet-savvy and always willing to do that extra bit of research to make sure they’re getting the best deal. They rely heavily on online reviews of products and companies, as well as word of mouth, for basing their decisions. While television ads remain the most widespread form of spreading brand awareness, alternative methods of marketing are becoming more influential, such as advertising via text message.
Anticipate the luxury tastes of the new middle class. The presence of a large, economically healthy middle class is a relatively new phenomenon, and conspicuous consumption has become a way for Chinese families to showcase how well-off they are. Due to their massive buying power, many brands are now marketing towards the middle as well as the upper class. Linking your brand with a display of wealth and opulence is a surefire way to label yourself as high-end to Chinese society.
The business demographics of China are certainly complex and ever in motion. Taking into account the upcoming trends in the Chinese population—the elderly population is due to spike by 2020, due to China’s one-child policy, and women are taking advantage of a new financial and career-driven independence—the Chinese market is a diverse and exciting place to take your company. Prepare yourself for the challenges of doing business in Mandarin Chinese by taking our free language placement test and send us an inquiry to start working with us as soon as possible!