So where are we now? While some foreign businesses question China’s status as a reliable business partner, on the other hand, many experts are taking note of a brewing “revenge economy,” one in which Chinese consumers are sitting atop the biggest pool of new savings in history. With money to spend and a spirit of opening up, the stars are aligned for a rebound. Just as before, strategic communication is essential to ride the wave.
For businesses that want to take advantage of this momentum by attracting strategic partnerships with Chinese buyers and investors in the Chinese market, strategic communication is key. So, what makes communication strategic and effective in China? MADJOR, with many years of experience and an extensive track record of strategic communication in China market, puts together 4 pillars to help your brand seize the opportunities under China's reopening with communication strategy.
So, let's talk about presence. If you’re not yet in the China market, establishing some type of presence is undoubtedly the first step. PR and trade shows may be one piece of the puzzle for your enterprise, but your most valuable touchpoints are likely online. China is the biggest online community in the world and digital habits are uniquely advanced and efficient here. Even email is too slow for many Chinese professionals, with 70% of Chinese users relying on WeChat for work over email to communicate with clients, suppliers, and colleagues, and read professional information.
It’s also important to note that translating your website will not be enough. Having a presence on Chinese platforms is essential to proving your legitimacy as a partner to Chinese companies. This also means registering with official accounts on Chinese platforms with your business license to tell your potential collaborators you’re the real deal. And note, official account registration on social media platforms in China is not like a blue checkmark on American social media. It’s a systemized process that’s essential to gaining trust from your network.
How do you prioritize which touchpoints you invest in? It depends on your industry, your brand, and your business objectives. But doing so, with purpose, is essential.
So, your brand is now present in China. Maybe you set up a Chinese website with an SEO strategy on Baidu, you registered your official WeChat account, and you even have a video channel on Douyin. But how do you make yourself relevant to China? Many brands entering and expanding in the China market haven’t identified a positioning or conveyed a message that truly resonates in China. Instead, they come off like a foreign outsider and fail to break through in a meaningful way. Instead, it’s essential to identify your overlap—find a dimension of your brand and develop it as a meaningful symbol in China. Other key components to establishing relevance are of course communicating natively and referencing culturally relevant events in China.
So many brands that nail it when it comes to establishing a presence and relevance in China fail by showing disrespect in some way. Remember that in China, there’s much more integration between the government and businesses. If your goal is to do business with a major Chinese company, it’s likely that the government will be involved in some fashion. While brands in the West may get canceled by politically active consumers, the same can happen in China, with the backing of the government itself. A seemingly innocuous but politically sensitive move can kill your brand in China. This is one reason why respect has made it on our list of keys to strategic communication in China.
But respect is a two-sided coin. While a politically sensitive gesture can be the end for a brand in China, showing love for China can be a chance to win. Ever heard of Guochao? Guochao refers to the wave of nationalism that has swept over Chinese culture with a revived understanding of and pride in ‘Made in China.’ Whether your brand deliberately references and takes part in the trend, it’s important context to acknowledge that Guochao is a defining part of the zeitgeist in China today. Companies can show off partnerships with Chinese Companies, Celebrate Chinese holidays, and reference China’s beautifully rich history to show respect and be on-trend in the process.
The last essential part of strategic communication in China has to do with representing your country. As mentioned before, business and the government are uniquely intertwined in China. With this important context, remember that international business in China can even represent your home country’s synergy with China, especially for B2B. In this context, it can be strategic to take advantage of any diplomatic synergy between your home country and China. For many countries, there’s a lot to work with in this regard. In addition, it can be strategic to position your industry as a strength or specialty of your country and introduce your culture to China. When done well, these types of endeavors unlock doors in China and lay the foundation for successful win-win business with China.
-The timing is right to amp up your strategic communication in the China market. Whether you’re enhancing your brand, launching in China, or looking to attract B2B partners and investors, MADJOR is your perfect partner for formulating a winning strategy and crafting the right messages in the right places to attract the right people. For more intel on strategic communication in the China market, be sure to follow MADJOR on LinkedIn and WeChat. Don’t be shy to reach out and drop us a message.