WHY IS LOCALIZATION SO IMPORTANT FOR BRANDS ENTERING CHINA?
WHAT IS LOCALIZATION?
Localization is a service used to adapt a product, page, or app to a specific market. A localization strategy addresses customer behavior, purchasing habits, and general cultural differences in each country in which it operates.
When a company enters a foreign market, it becomes difficult to offer buyers in a specific country a customer experience that feels comfortable and familiar. Therefore, defining country-by-country location approaches ensures that foreign customers benefit from the similar quality experience they would get from using a local company.
LOCALIZATION KEY TO SUCCESS IN CHINA
Marketing localization is one of, if not the key components for making a company successful in China. When entering the Chinese market digitally it is important to fully grasp the unique dynamics of the localization process.
China is the largest luxury goods market. In particular, luxury brands cannot be successful without it in today’s commercial environment. Each market perceives luxury goods differently and this is especially true of Chinese luxury consumers.
The Chinese market is very interesting for many companies that want to go global. But while this huge market presents huge commercial opportunities, entry into China poses its own unique set of localization challenges. These challenges can only be overcome through a carefully strategic plan.
WHY BRANDS NEED TO LOCALIZE-UNDERSTAND THE LOCAL CULTURE
Localization is necessary for international businesses, by implementing a good localization strategy your business will be in a better position to meet customer needs effectively, avoiding the likely pitfalls as a result of cross-cultural marketing.
Localization implies knowledge of the language, habits, preferences, cultural and social norms of the target market, and even their prevailing taboos. This can be incredibly important in guiding your marketing strategy and informing you of what exactly not to include in your campaigns.
AVOID RUINING YOUR REPUTATION IN CHINA
Small businesses usually make the mistake of thinking that a quality translation is sufficient in an international business strategy. Although it is a launching pad, it is not enough to become truly competitive, not to mention success on the international scene.
Localization is important for both big brands and unknown luxury brands. It is easy to think that luxury brands are not sensitive to localization errors. In fact, many of them are wrong with horrible consequences on their brand’s reputation. A well-known example is Dolce & Gabbana’s video ad showing a Chinese model eating pizza, spaghetti, and cannoli with chopsticks.
WHAT CAN BRANDS DO TO SUCCESSFULLY LOCALIZE IN CHINA
Here are some best practices and tips for getting started with localization strategy in China:
- CHINESE ECOMMERCE PLATFORMS
Chinese consumers are more likely to research and validate the credibility of a brand, which usually results in purchasing a higher-priced product. It’s an extremely important concept to grasp because China is extremely comfortable purchasing high quality products across digital devices.
Chinese consumers are big on online shopping. In fact, the country hosts the biggest annual online shopping event known as Singles Day or Double 11 that brings in more revenue than the U.S.’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
In China, online shopping is extremely common through big-name platforms such as Alibaba, Taobao, T-Mall, kaola, JD.com, Xiaohongshu.
- TMALL LUXURY PAVILLION
A place on Tmall dedicated to Luxury Brand. It works in collaboration with other Alibaba platforms Juhuasuan.
- LOCALIZED WEBSITE
Creating a Chinese version of your company’s website should be one of the first steps in your localization marketing strategy. A website tailored to the Chinese consumer will offer credibility to your brand as consumers search for products on Baidu or e-commerce platforms.
- TARGETING YOUR AUDIENCE
It takes much more effort to launch a Chinese website than to create a clone of your original site. It’s more than just a translation, so it’s important to start with a clear localization strategy. Chinese consumers are very different from their western counterparts and your website must prove it to be successful on the market.
For example, in the luxury industry, Chinese consumers have different attitudes towards luxury goods compared to western consumers. Luxury goods are a way for them to connect with the latest trends and network with other people of similar tastes.
This means that they are more willing to try more niche and obscure brands than familiar brands. The main attraction is not the brand or the price, but rather the opportunity to be “up to date” and to be “cool”. This trend is a big disturbing factor for many of the great luxury brands that relied on prestige and exclusivity for their products.
- LANGUAGE & TRANSLATION
The language of your website may differ depending on your brand’s target audience, but it should be in simplified Chinese for mainland China.
If you want to ensure that your brand message stays intact and prevent unnecessary brand damage, invest in our team with marketing and localization knowledge that can effectively convey your brand message to the local audience.
- DESIGN & CONTENT
A Chinese website has a very different look and tone than Western websites. Chinese consumers are looking for a site with a lot of information, as opposed to the simple layout of western websites. The design and content must be updated and consistent. This is one of the most effective ways to attract your target audience and build brand loyalty.
- TRACKING YOUR WEBSITE
To get a better understanding of how your product or marketing campaigns are going, it is essential to keep track of your website and consumer entry points. Baidu Tongji and Baidu Zhanzhang are Chinese alternatives to Google Analytics, they offer similar free web analysis and reporting tools.
- SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
It is important to familiarize yourself with the main social media platforms in China and understand how brands use them to market their business. The main opinion leaders (KOLs) also play an important role in social media marketing for the promotion of the brand. Here are some of the main platforms that you would like to use for your marketing localization.
WeChat has grown to become the most popular social and mobile app in China where it has over 1.1 billion registered accounts. This social media platform allows users to send text and voice messages to each other as well as play video games, watch videos, shop, and pay via mobile payments. WeChat mini programs that essentially operate like a separate mobile app, except that they function within WeChat. WeChat offers a completely seamless, mobile-first consumer experience where brands can increase awareness and loyalty.
Sina Weibo (新浪微博) is a Chinese microblogging website like Twitter. Launched by Sina Corporation on 14 August 2009, it is one of the biggest social media platforms in China, with over 445 million monthly active users.
It is where celebrities, brands share their thoughts and feelings, it is the best source of news and gossip.
People post something and others can comment or repost. The posts include images, texts, articles, videos via Miaopai, live streaming via Yizhibo and external links on e-commerce platforms to buy products such as Taobao and Jumei.
In April 2020, Weibo has also decided to dive into the world of social commerce and launched its Weibo Store. The Weibo window gives you the function of direct sales through the collaboration of e-commerce sites such as Taobao and Tmall through links. This could be a huge opportunity for brands.
Meipai is one of the most popular video messaging apps in China. Allows users to create 60-second videos, import photos and add effects. Users can also share their videos directly on Weibo and WeChat. Meipai is favored by many celebrities and it would be a good idea to team up with KOL while using this platform. It is an excellent platform for brands that want to rely on visual marketing to promote their product.
The Little Red Book app, known locally as Xiaohongshu, is an app intended for women between the ages of 18 and 35 to share shopping tips and product reviews. In 2014, the platform launched its cross-border e-commerce platform called RED store in response to the high demand for foreign luxury goods. This app allows Chinese consumers to purchase products from abroad directly from the app. RED has many partnerships with international brands, which makes it much easier for customers to receive authentic experiences.
- QUALITY CONTENT MARKETING
Content marketing is at the heart of the most successful digital marketing campaigns. Behind every successful brand is a mountain of valuable and relevant content that really connects with the target audience.
You should make sure that you choose the right channel for content distribution and the most appropriate and effective social media platform to establish a stable and effective relationship with your target audience.
Contact us and we will discuss a solution for your brand to enter and succeed in the Chinese market.