More and more foreign companies and international businesses start to look on the Chinese marketing potential since the population here is growing as incredibly fast as it’s income. Additionally to still lack of the high quality products and services it makes local market extremely opened for the new comers. However, even such well-known Western brands as Coca Cola, AirBnB, Max Factor, Costa, Gap, Uber and many others had problems building the relationships with the mysterious Asian customers. One of the reasons for failure is a bad first impression or simply not trusting the new product/company. Branding and e-reputation is the key for success.
Here are some tips how to build a good business e-reputation among potential clients and partners in China:
Be visible and easy reached
One of the first things that Chinese customers will do to check the new brand is searching the information online. Avoiding Google and the other western services they will go directly to Baidu (Chinese searching engine). This presides over 75% of the search engine market. The other two giants that bring additional 25% are Sogou and So.com . They are expecting that right after they type the name of your company there it will show up the official website based on .cn . The visitors need to make sure that your brand was officially accepted by the government to be in China.
Be Chinese- oriented
It happens quite often that the brand is already quite popular in Western countries but almost no one knows it in China. Obviously, you’ll have to use their language to reach the customers, translate a lot of information (even the brand’s name) using Chinese writing system. And it’s the first thing to be careful with. E.g. when Coca Cola first appeared in China in 1927, it was advertised as “Ke Ke Ken La”, which is translated as “Tadpoles gnawing at wax” – that problem was that nobody could understand what it meant. Then the company switched it into “可口可乐 Ke Kou Ke Le”, meaning “Tasty and pleasant”, revealed itself and has become the most successful example of Chinese rebranding of international companies.
Additionally to translation and choosing the right language representation for your business, you should be visible in specifically Chinese social media. You can forget about Google, Utube, FaceBook, Istagram and some other Western platforms. Because of the “Great Firewall” police that Chinese government is doing, most of your “outside of China” services couldn’t even be visible for your Chinese potential clients and partners. You need to make a deep research and choose the most suitable Chinese platforms specifically for your business to represent it in the new aria.
There are some Top-10 Chinese social media with a short description: https://www.marketingtochina.com/main-actors-chinas-social-media-landscape/
- WeChat: all-in-on Social Media in China
- Baidu Tieba: A Search Engine Forum
- Toudou Youku: Youtube of China
- Sina Weibo: Twitter of China
- Tencent QQ: Popular Instant Messaging App
- Meituan – Dianping: The Chinese Versions of Yelp
- Douban: Lifestyle Discussion Platform
- Zhihu: The Quora of China
- Meipai: Chinese Instagram for Video
- Momo: Tinder of China
Just don’t waste your time and focus on specific social media, depending on what kind of business you do and what kind of results want to reach. It’s better to choose 2-3 additionally to your official website than spraying your attention and investments to many different ones.
Provide positive feedback
Right after checking all of the official websites and information your potential clients will start opening all of the biggest forums where they can find some real customers’ feedback about the product or service that you provide. Chinese forums could be very different depends on the topic (e.g. in education the best forums are: Baidu Tieba, Zhozhui and QQ). It’s highly recommended to take care what kind of information is there because, unlikely in Western countries forums are actually dying, in China this is still one of the most influential channels. The Chinese customers often prefer to follow the KOL (Key Opinion Leaders) or social set of mind. If majority likes you it’s in a way easier to attract the new customers. However, if you constantly receive there a bad feedback about your product it will be very hard to recover your reputation.
Show successful cases
Chinese used to see to be tired of naked advertisement and showing off. So, even after reading a lot about each specific company, finding a lot of information and feedback from the other people, they still need the evidence that you really know their needs and can prove it. Posting some foreigners’ pictures could help to attract them but show that you successfully in China with Chinese clients. E.g. if your business is about helping the Chinese recent graduates to get a higher degree abroad, publish some real stories and class in pictures of them in all of your official accounts. In China most of the time beautiful story should go along the business, make an advantage of this.
Create high-quality content
One of the main reasons why Chinese prefer Western brands is strong belief that foreigner companies can provide a better quality suppliers. If not quality or personalization, there’s no point for them to choose your or any other overseas supplier. Actually, the price isn’t the problem for most of the potential clients but they should know exactly what they’re paying for and why they should choose specifically your brand. It’s extremely important that every single web-page, article and picture should be very clear, visible and in a good quality. This is what makes the first impression and arouse their interest to know more and finally choose exactly your offer among all of the other competitors.
Actually, re-branding and changing the current bad impression could cost you in a way more than the actual branding. Take care about positive feedback and e-reputation from the real beginning. The right branding strategy could pay off for itself very soon after you start.
MARKETING AGENCY IN CHINA
If you have any questions or need any help with representing your brand in China, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re a marketing agency focusing specifically on digital in China. Save your time and money from the first day.
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