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Actions for building greater brand value


1.     Gain insight

China’s economy continues to expand rapidly following the big bang of opening up. But 35 years later, new forces are shaping the expansion. For the government, growing the economy is not just about speed, but also responsibility. For consumers, purchasing is not just about acquiring more stuff, but also about building a better life. And for brands, added complication requires greater insight.


2.     Be market-driven

Over the past five years, market driven brands—rather than State Owned Enterprises (SOEs)—produced most of the value growth in the BrandZÔ China Top 100. That development is not reason to convert from one ownership model to another. However, it is encouragement for all brands to act as if they are market-driven by gaining consumer insight, developing relevant and differentiated products, and getting the word out effectively.


3.     Fulfill the dream

Key aspects of the Chinese Dream correspond closely with the fundamental brand purpose of making people’s lives better. In China, that means helping create a more equitable society, and narrowing the gap between rising expectations and access to the affordable products and services that represent a better life.


4.     Innovate

Innovation had been the exception among Chinese brands. Not anymore. Innovative Chinese brands are found across categories, but especially in technology and retail (e-commerce). Innovation leads to Difference, a component of Brand Power, a BrandZÔ measurement of brand equity, the predisposition that influences a consumer to choose one brand over another. Brands viewed as Different are more likely to command a price premium.


5.     Earn a premium

Price is important, but Chinese consumers today are shifting to a new phase. Having already acquired a lot of stuff, many consumers are willing to pay more for extra quality or uniqueness—whether purchasing a car, a new refrigerator, or a container of yogurt.


6.     Go deeper

Only about 10 percent of China’s population lives on the coast, which means that a billion people live in lower tier inland locations. In many cases, the local economies are growing faster than the national GDP. But it is not just about the numbers. As purchasing power rises for these consumers, they are becoming more interested in brand and less price sensitive.


7.     Go Global

Most Chinese brands still are not well known outside of China. Awareness is increasing, however. More people are searching for Chinese brands online, according to research by BrandZÔ and Google. Additionally, consumer perceptions of Chinese brands are improving, at least among younger people.


8.     Mix media

Chinese consumers, across generations, spend a lot of time on their mobile devices. But they watch other screens, too, including traditional TV and out-of-home media. As brand choice increases, loyalty weakens, and it becomes important to reach consumers at every important moment. Being present on multiple screens pays off. Brand value increased twice as fast for BrandZÔ China Top 100 brands that continuously invested in multiple screens.


9.     Update communications

To effectively impact today’s consumer, especially young people, it is important to communicate about brand know-how and uniqueness, and to express market leadership with a new vocabulary that recognizes the importance of social responsibility.


10. Get Creative

Even when the media mix is on target and the message is well crafted, making a lasting impression requires impactful and memorable advertising. The trifecta of the right mix, message, and memorable communication accelerates brand value growth.