I’ve always been enthusiastic about giving a presentation to any of my global friends on how to make money in China. I have even figured out how to start this presentation. I will show you pictures of the location of Porter Novelli’s China Office – you should know where your best business partner is in this wonderful money making city. Then I will scroll down the camera and focus on the KFC downstairs. Then I will show you the menu of KFC.
Yes, to make money in China, you should come to have a look at KFC. You can’t imagine what they are offering in China. Apart from chicken and chips, we have rice and rice porridge, we have soybean milk, we have BBQ crabs – In China’s KFC, we have all these Chinese dishes. That’s why we love KFC in China. They know what consumers in China want, and they just dare to make it for us.
This is localization.
Having read my European colleagues Danny and Stefan’s blog posts on engagement into a different culture, I want to hug them for the same insights: Yes, if you want to make local money, localization is the key.
Last night my other European colleague Marta discovered a whole new world on my mobile phone, she was surprised to see the various Chinese social apps here. I told her how successful these social media are in China, and yes, they copied Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, but they also localized and developed. I know how Facebook looks like in Chinese language, and I dare say the billions of users of QQ and Renren will not like it.
Marta was also surprised when I told her we have 50+ groupon styled sites in China. “Groupon came too late,” I told Marta. They are not only late, in a localization context, although they partner with QQ, they are keeping the old American style of promotion, a little bit of fooling around with Chinese consumers. Many of my friends told me they are not going to like it. Sorry, Andrew.
The strength of global brands is that they have a global perspective when doing business. However, they often lack an intercultural sense when making their huge business local in a different market. This is not simply using local celebrities shouting out slogans in their mother tounges; this is about the whole strategy and the tactics applied. Your family joke may not make me laugh.
This is also a big challenge for agencies. On one hand, acquiring both the global sense and a local insight is not an easy job. On the other hand, educating global clients on communications directions is an even tougher job. But this is our responsibility, which we keep trying all the time.
So, money makers in China, what about a visit to our Beijing Office and let’s grab some Chinese snacks from KFC?