1) Don’t just replicate - what worked at home, won’t work in China
After it became the first foreign fast food company to set up business in China in 1987, KFC has since become the largest restaurant chain and one of the most powerful non-Chinese brands in the country. Unlike its closely guarded secret recipes, one of the main ingredients in the company’s successful market entry into the world’s second largest economy is well known – localization!
In fact, failure to refine the global strategy as needed to meet local China market needs is one of the major reasons why global brands fail in China.
2) Invest in consumer immersions – there’s no better way to understand the people who engage with your brand
Spending the time to do deep consumer immersions is the only way to uncover attitudes and perceptions and reveal insights into consumers’ lives, habits and preferences. Through consumer immersions, you get to capture a slice of people’s daily lives first hand. By observing and accompanying them, in their homes, in their work places, in various social settings, you find out what really makes them tick.
3) Engage the right partners on the ground
China not only has great physical diversity, being one of the top 5 countries in the world in terms of land mass, but as a country with at least seven distinct, mutually intelligible dialect groups, of which Mandarin is one, it also has massive cultural diversity. This means that a “one-size-fits-all” approach to any China market entry is doomed to fail.
You simply cannot design the right approach from your overseas head office. You need people who are attuned to local conditions and who have knowledge of cultural and environmental factors that influence purchasing decisions. With their help, you can gain an in-depth, fully researched understanding of Chinese consumer behavior and adapt your marketing mix to suit local differences.