SOURCE: Landor


May 10, 2016 07:00 ET

Western Businesses Need a Profound Rethink on China According to Landor Study

Five Ways U.S. Brands Can Succeed in the Region

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - May 10, 2016) - To thrive in China, Western brands need more than just a presence in the market according to a new study conducted by Landor, the leading global branding and design firm. Brand managers must embrace the nuances of Chinese culture and consider the shifting consumer attitudes in the region.

Landor conducted research with over 4,000 Chinese consumers, running a parallel study with hundreds of millennials across the United States, United Kingdom, and France comparing the attitudes and opinions of Chinese consumers with those of consumers in other countries. The agency gained a glimpse into the specificities of marketing to a Chinese audience and determined the top five things brands need to know to make it in this region.

1. Chinese millennials mark a quantum leap in attitude

In contrast to older generations, Chinese millennials have a more confident and positive view of their country and have a favorable outlook on local products and services. Though Western brands still hold a great deal of relevance for younger consumers, brands cannot rely solely on being Western as their main selling point. These companies must find the right mix of local and global in order to connect with the new Chinese spirit.

2. Chinese millennials differ from their global peers

Chinese millennials see the role of brands very differently than their peers in the United States, United Kingdom, and France. For them, it is more important for brands to be relevant rather than different, standing in stark contrast to the approach many Western brands have adopted. While brands have far more permission to innovate and diversify in China, they need a strong brand story that can apply to many categories in order to find real success.

3. Villages are as important as cities

Brands need to venture beyond China's major cities to take full advantage of the country's booming middle class. While Western brands have traditionally approached China through its upper-tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai, Chinese brands prefer to navigate the country's immense consumer market by moving from the lower-tier cities up. Western brands must go beyond big cities and consider the rest of China's consumer audience.

4. Chinese women are becoming more confident

China's rapid development is producing new opportunities for Chinese women, allowing them to shake off age-old attitudes and achieve greater financial independence and personal freedom. To help multinational companies resonate with audiences in China, Western brands must take advantage of the newfound independence of Chinese women, speaking to them as peers and sisters while acknowledging their passion for the country they call home.

5. The rise of self-expression

A rebellious spirit is emerging in China that Chinese millennials have termed "the brain boom." It refers to anything that is eye-opening-either positively or negatively-and millennials frequently use it in relation to brands that capture their attention. Multinational companies should take advantage of this phenomenon and be unafraid to push boundaries. At the same time, they must also remember the importance of cultural intelligence, ensuring their message is able to resonate without being lost in translation.

About Landor:

A global leader in brand consulting and design, Landor helps clients create agile brands that thrive in today's dynamic, disruptive marketplace. Our work enables top brands-from Barclays to BMW and Tide to Taj-to stand for something while never standing still.

Landor's branding services include strategy and positioning, identity and design, motion graphics, brand architecture, prototyping, innovation, naming and verbal identity, research and analytics, environments and experiences, engagement and activation, and interactive and media design.

Founded by Walter Landor in 1941, Landor pioneered many of the research, design, and consulting methods that are now standard in the branding industry. Today, Landor has 27 offices in 21 countries, working with a broad spectrum of world-famous brands. Clients include Alcoa, Barclays, Bayer, BBC, BMW, BP, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, FedEx, GE, Kraft Heinz, Marriott International, Pernod Ricard, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, Sony, and Taj Group.

Landor is a member of the Young & Rubicam Group within WPP, the world's largest marketing and communications firm. For more information, please visit and follow Landor on Facebook and Twitter.

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