Managing a brand in New Zealand for any company can be challenging enough with the plethora of social networking, micro blogs and websites all eager to stand, say something and be different – sometimes at your cost. Now take that challenge and multiply it by 100 when dealing with managing your brand in Japan or China.
Get Your Message Right
Ok, this sounds fairly basic but the ‘right message’ in New Zealand may not be the right message in Japan or China. Different cultural values and language mean you need to test everything. Involving native speakers and consumers in your message creation is vital. Translations should be checked and re-checked as a wrong word or phrase can tarnish your brand’s reputation before you start.
Creating Brand Ambassadors
When faced with a new product, Japanese and Chinese consumers will judge it based on a trust factor. If they haven’t heard about it, then what are other people saying? They will look immediately for reviews and are more likely to ask questions. In a country when conformity is the norm, people are less likely to want to stand out from the crowd. Seeding the market with product and getting early reviews is vital. Nurture your early customers, they will be worth gold in your first year.
One to one Communication
Show your customers you care. Meet them on their own home turf. Start a conversation on one of the top online discussion boards like Mixi or Tencent and let them know there are real people that stand behind the brand. Answer questions promptly and professionally and with cultural sensitivity.
At the risk of being very obvious, recent research (by Paul Temboral in his book Advanced Brand Management: Managing Brands in a Changing World) found that customers are more likely to buy from companies that appeared to be: “easy going, modest, helpful, caring, approachable, and interested”.
How does you brand stack up?
For more information on taking your brand to Asia contact me, Alister Gates, at [email protected].