Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, China, Chinese Culture, Comment, Culture, Insight, Marketing
I love this country.
It has it’s quirks, but doesn’t everywhere?
In terms of the industry I work in, it’s a place that has a bunch of unique challenges.
One of them is that the ad business is still relatively new here while another is that commercially, the rules of marketing are quite different to those in the West.
That doesn’t mean it’s wrong, just different.
Now if I was to explain what these differences were in very simplistic terms, I would say that the reason so much communication is either straight to the point is …
+ Make sure you get everything you can today. Tomorrow can wait till tomorrow.
+ Stick with what has worked in the past. Different means inviting risk to the outcome.
+ The execution is the idea.
+ Spoon feed your message to the audience. Leave nothing to chance or interpretation.
+ Doing what the boss wants or expects ensures job security.
As I said, I am being very generalistic and not everyone has followed this path … but the fact of the matter is this approach has paid huge dividends for many companies throughout the country, however I still believe the key reason for this is down to 2 things:
1. China’s rapid economic growth meant people were looking for places and ways to spend.
2. The ad industry looked to fill their pockets, rather than educate for the future.
Given the countries economy is slowing down [albeit at a rate most Western nations would kill for] it will be interesting to see how this manifests itself in terms of marketing, communication and consumer behaviour.
Will brands start to look longer term rather than short?
Will companies start to look for ways for leading rather than following?
Will marketers want to interact with their audience rather than just speak at them?
Will more of society choose brands based on values rather than perceived status?
Will the shift from ‘what you have’ to ‘how you live’ permeate the whole of the country?
I honestly don’t know – especially as there are many parts of China still experiencing rapid changes to their standard of living – but what I am pretty sure of is something will happen because contrary to popular belief, there is no one who understands the value and perception of brands like the Chinese and if there is less money to go round, they’ll make sure they spend it on the things that have sustainable value, not just superficial status.
Which means we could be entering an exciting time in China’s marketing evolution.
Or just more of the same.
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