The importance of Chinese name in brand localization

International brands have to adapt to Chinese consumers in order to be more appealing and receptive to their brand. Brands need get trust in such competitive market. Chinese name is part of brand localization strategy.

What is localization?

  • Localization is about finding the parts that need to be changed to make the targeted audience receptive to the brand, rather than trying to change everything.
  • In order to appeal to the individual consumer, the brand needs to appeal to the specific characteristics of their target customer.
  • Localization is more than just translation. It does include the Chinese name topic, the brand design, the packaging, the key points of communication, the key visuals…Chinese name is part of a localization strategy for a brand in China.
  • Localization is even more important now. Have you ever heard about Guochao, the integration of traditional Chinese culture in brand’ marketing.

Key purchase drivers in China

  • It is vital to understand Chinese consumers to define and execute a marketing plan for China which has a unique set of purchase drivers.
  • According to a KPMG report published in 2020 after Covid, Chinese people are mostly concerned with value for money when deciding to purchase goods or services. The second influencing factor is the ease of purchase, closely followed by the trust in the brand.

The importance of a Chinese name

  • Chinese consumers are usually more reassured about long lasting, famous brands. Branding is key in China. If you are a new comer in China market in sectors such as life style, fashion, beauty, luxurious products…, it is then better to have a Chinese name. Chinese name is part of brand localization strategy.
  • Having a Chinese name is the first step of your localization strategy together with protecting your IP.
  • It will show that you care about the Chinese consumers and that you have a long term strategy in China.
  • The purpose of having a Chinese name is to be appealing to Chinese consumers and also to increase your brand awareness.
  • The name of a brand is an essential element, it is the first image you give to your future customer. But, it also allows you to ensure the transmission of your values, in any culture. A good translation can give a boost to your brand as soon as it enters the market.

How to find the right Chinese name for your brand

  • A pronounciation translation is the most commonly practiced, and the simplest. But, it can have no meaning or be contrary to the values of the company. It is therefore better to think differently. And do not forget that a Chinese name should be unique and not similar to an exiting brand
    • A good exemple is CocaCola
    • A bad exemple is “Best Buy , as their Chinese name (百思买 ) means Think hundred times before buying. Best Buy has failed in Chin
  • It is also possible to opt for a “translation by meaning”, to set aside the pronunciations, and more favor the character of the brand, to reflect the brand’s attributes and values.
    • A good exemple is the commercial and supermarket company Carrefour with Chinese name ‘家乐福’ (with meaning of Home Happiness Fortunate)

  • Another good exemple is BMW  which is translated 宝马, (with meaning: Precious Horse) . This refers to the frames of the heros of legendes, characterized by their rapidness, their  elegance and their heroic spirit. It is really a mix of both western culture with the automobile with the horse power but also with Chinese culture with horse considered as the symbol of freedom and speed

Some other exemples of brand names in Chinese

The translation, localization or adaptation of brand names for the Chinese, or any foreign, market is an intriguing part of globalization. It’s crucially important….and if you get it wrong…it can be devastating

Being unique is really key for a brand in China

  • When dealing with your localization strategy and your brand name, you must make sure that your name is unique to distinguish yourself from the competition.
  • A unique name is important for the following reasons:
    • Your brand needs to be kept in the mind of your customers, and be associated with your products and services
    • With a good Chinese name, it will help you to create a good story line for your brand and develop the proper awareness
    • A meaningful Chinese name will impact the Chinese consumers in their subconscious, creating stimulation and desire to buy your products
    • And of course, unique name is important for any SEO strategy and generate traffic to your shops