China’s consumers are perceived to be some of the most promiscuous in the world when it comes to picking brands. But there are ways to avoid this conundrum, says branding expert Tom Doctoroff at his LinkedIn page, using the Prophet’s Brand Relevance Index (BRI).
China is bimodal. Premium brands, which are usually multinational, command high margins but narrow scale. While mass brands, which are usually domestic, sell at a lower price point, but have broad penetration. The white space in between is vast. By tapping into each of the above golden rules, brands can take advantage of this opportunity to become more relentlessly relevant.
International companies can be more ruthlessly pragmatic by increasing accessibility without degrading cachet. Luxury brands, for example, can leverage sub-brands to expand reach. Armani appeals to different segments through Armani Collezioni, Emporio Armani, Armani Exchange and Armani Jeans without diluting its master brand appeal. Premium brands can target youthful segments by expanding the range of lower out-of-pocket cost items. Gucci retail stores are already accessory meccas, with bags, sunglasses and mobile phone straps moving to the front of the stores.
Local brands should pull themselves up to higher price tiers. They should define a single-minded proposition and brand purpose, then reinforce their commitment to distinctive inspiration and pervasive innovation. Shenzen-based drone brand DJI’s “future of possible” proposition and Starbuck’s “share the love” gifting app are great examples of the former. Baidu’s aggressive foray into artificial intelligence and Dyson vacuum cleaners’ breakthrough designs – wireless, bladeless, colorful – epitomize the latter.
All brands, both local and multinational, should become more customer obsessed. Leading internet insurance brand Da Te Bao’s use of everyday language to simplify buying decisions and Ping’an’s “good doctor” app both signal respect for ordinary people.
In the end, deep insight into the lives of consumers is the key to locking better, more profitable, growth.
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