06 Apr Six Steps to Chinese product launches in the West
China is too often viewed as simply a mass producer of goods sold under varying brand names. Light on design, heavy on manufacturing. But, the past few years has seen a shift from the “made in China” stereotype towards a “created in China” ethos that stands for cutting-edge innovation and design, underpinned by quality production.
With this in mind, Chinese brands need to work twice as hard to prove their worth. This is where Honey comes in. We help Chinese companies to launch, grow and globalise their products and services in the West. With a particular focus on the USA and Europe, we help brands to showcase their technologies.
We are blown away by the products we’ve tested during the past few years and can vouch for their technical ingenuity, beautiful design, and impressive capabilities.
Here are just some of the elements Honey takes into account when it launches a Chinese product or service in the West.
Get the messaging right
Clearly, what sells in one region may not work in another. Priorities, lifestyle, and taste are different across the world. So, it’s crucial that market research identifies which USPs to focus on. We use proprietary social media research tools in conjunction with desk research from e.g. Kantar, and product sampling to get face to face feedback.
Website, website, website
Chinese companies don’t often see a website as important as our Western clients. It’s essential that a professional, English language website is available way ahead of the launch. First impressions really matter to ensure initial trust.
Product must be ready
We have come across many companies that want to take the leap to sell to the West without a fully functioning product. All products must be consumer ready, which means the product, as well as the packaging and any support, such as an app, must be ready in the right language. Most journalists will not review until beyond beta.
Carefully planned social and PR strategy
Once the country specific USPs have been identified, the content writer should craft a killer press release. High res images, RRP and where to buy info are essential. Sounds basic? You’d be surprised how many clients don’t have this information for launch day. Adapt releases for local markets and target only relevant journalists, despite the temptation to blanket bomb everyone.
We’ve noticed very different tactics in China to gain followers and engage on social. Some clients (not all) promote their products with a glamorous female assistant. While there is nothing wrong with this approach, it is rather hoary and outdated for Western tastes. Things like this should be addressed so that the right content is promoted to particular audiences.
This is not a necessary step in the process, but one many Chinese companies take. Crowdfunding not only raises capital and taps up customers, it also enhances the company’s profile within Western media. It warms-up journalists, influencers and potential customers ahead of an official launch.
Preconceptions of China as synonymous with poor quality is an outdated view as there are some awesome companies out there. Just look at DJI, Huawei, Haier or Cheetah Mobile’s world beating portfolio of apps to get a flavour for innovation, style and reliability.