In the last decade, China has experienced a captivating transformation in consumer behavior, marked by the widespread adoption of a nationalistic branding phenomenon called Guochao.
So, what’s Guochao? This word translates to “national trend” and to numerous individuals, this movement symbolizes a renaissance of Chinese culture.
What’s Guochao and how did this trend start
The Guochao trend emerged as a result of the recognition among the younger generations in China that their nation harbored the capacity to emerge as a frontrunner in innovation. The ascension of China’s economic prowess is accompanied by a corresponding increase in cultural influence and the assertion of cultural identity.
China’s ascent as an economic juggernaut instigated a burgeoning sense of national pride and confidence among its populace. This change in outlook laid the groundwork for the Guochao trend, as consumers actively sought products and brands that resonated with their Chinese identity. Capitalizing on this shift, domestic brands seized the opportunity by infusing traditional Chinese elements, symbols, and designs into their products and marketing endeavors.
Therefore, a pronounced preference for domestically-produced goods emerged among Chinese consumers, prompting a departure from Western brands. Chinese online celebrities or influencers, colloquially known as “wanghong”, played a pivotal role in championing Guochao brands through various social media platforms and live streaming channels. They adeptly captured the attention of Chinese consumers, fostering a heightened sense of patriotism and national solidarity.
How Western brands are adapting to Guochao
In recent times, certain Western brands have encountered challenges and a decline in popularity, as Chinese consumers have shifted their preferences toward domestic alternatives. Notably, fast food giants like KFC and McDonald’s have witnessed a drop in sales, with Chinese consumers opting for local brands that celebrate Chinese culture and traditions. Additionally, the famous American brand Coca-Cola faced competition from Chinese beverage companies offering products infused with Chinese herbal elements or regional flavors, catering to consumers’ patriotic sentiments.
Despite Western brands still demonstrating robust growth in the Chinese market, they have encountered more formidable domestic competition. Consequently, they have been compelled to adapt their strategies, infuse Chinese elements into their products and marketing, and actively engage with the Guochao trend to either regain or maintain relevance among Chinese consumers.
The key for these brands lies in comprehending and responding to shifting preferences while striking a delicate balance between their international identity and local cultural context.
What’s Guochao and how companies can leverage it
This trend extends beyond luxury brands; in reality, Guochao brands are frequently linked with offering value for money.
A company’s success in capturing the attention and loyalty of Chinese consumers hinges on its ability to harmonize its international heritage with Chinese sensibilities. The desire for Western products persists, but brands must now prioritize localized products and strategies tailored to the Chinese market. The days of relying solely on Western products and marketing techniques are behind us.
In an era of heightened global interconnectedness, brands operating in China must navigate national policies and cultural sensitivities. Striking a delicate balance between leveraging Chinese patriotism and embracing internationalism is paramount.
Brands need to demonstrate genuine commitment to understanding and respecting local customs, traditions, and values. While incorporating Chinese elements into marketing campaigns can be impactful, it should be approached thoughtfully to avoid cultural appropriation or insensitivity.
Collaborating with Chinese influencers and celebrities remains a potent tool in achieving this balance. By engaging these Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), brands can leverage their reach while aligning their messaging with national policies.
Long Advisory digital marketing agency in China
Long Advisory supports American and European companies in China through digital marketing. In fact, our experience has led us to believe that today, the best and most convenient approach to making your brand well-known in China is through a digital approach. Furthermore, thanks to our know-how, we know how to make your brand known to potential Chinese consumers. With the effective coordination of Long Advisory, your company will see a new rise in the largest market in the world: China.
Long Advisory is a digital marketing agency specializing in developing digital marketing solutions tailored for the Chinese market.
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