How to make your brand relevant in China

Over 100 people attended the China Social Media Branding Session at NZTE in WellingtonToday I was part of an intense, 2-hour session on Chinese social media hosted by NZCTA and NZTE, focused on managing your brand through Chinese social media.

There was a wealth of experience and insight on display. It was also really encouraging to see a big turnout of over 100 people. Strong interest in this subject! 

My 5 (or so) minute session was about how to stay true to your roots, while being relevant to your audience. (click for full size image)

How to make your NZ Brand relevant in China


A few other points I made:

  • As white people (and I’m generalising about caucasian New Zealanders above) we are used to thinking of ourselves (English-speaking, Eurocentric) as the default, and everyone else as different. If we look at the numbers, we are the minority. Time to become more self-aware.
  • The bullet points on the left are how NZ brands present to other English-speaking cultures. Particularly the value of individualism is highly valued in western society. 
  • There’s an interesting thing going on between individualism and collectivism. It’s becoming increasingly attractive to an Asian audience, while westerners are becoming more attracted to a more collective way of thinking. 
  • Egalitarianism is (supposedly) a big part of kiwi culture, in a positive way (fairness) and in a negative way (tall poppy syndrome). It conflicts with the Asian attitude which says you want to be more successful than the other guy, because there’s more competition. How to resolve this conflict? … don’t abandon NZ’s egalitarian system, but emphasise the meritocratic aspect of it. That is, unlike in Europe, you make your own class here. 
  • We talked about cute before. China (and also perhaps India) have an almost unlimited capacity for sentimentality, while we really have an aversion to it in NZ. Perhaps we need to soften up a bit. We can embrace raw sophistication without being emotionally dry. 
  • Unique and niche, and therefore high value, is the only choice NZ has, unless we get really good at licencing our IP to bigger countries like China and South American nations. For now, the main attention is on our physical products, and our extremely small size forces us into being niche and high end. As a nation, let’s become great at creating world-beating IP. 

Were you there? Did you want to be there? I’d LOVE to have your comments or questions below. 

Also, don’t forget to join the LinkedIn group for more discussion. 

3 thoughts on “How to make your brand relevant in China

  • James

    Good graphic and summary. I’m not from NZ but seems hard to “We can embrace raw sophistication without being emotionally dry.” I like the idea of using continuous expression to integrate and promote brands. Cheers.

    • Simon

      Thanks for the comment James! Yes, sophisticated, raw and cute is a challenge to fit together… !

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