December 19, 2012

Confucianism defines the interactions at all levels of society. It is based on five key relationships (Wu Lum): father / son, husband / wife, brother / younger brother, friend / friend, director / governed. “For the World is in order, we must first put the nation in order. That the Nation is in order, we must first put the family in order. For the family is in order, we must first cultivate our personal life, we must first put our hearts in harmony. “

These words of Confucius contextualise and underpin any analysis of Tom Doctoroff on contemporary Chinese society. The author of What Chinese Want: Culture, Communism, and China’s modern consumer, APAC and Ceo J. Walter Thompson, was in Paris last month.

China is changing but does not fundamentally change

Why is the absolute good stability, order, and the devil absolute chaos? Why Chinese diehards pragmatic, integrity perceive as a luxury, or have a definition of their own, there is nothing immoral, the end justifies the means. Why the Internet is only (R) controlled evolution: a new world indeed, but on probation?

What are the strengths (resource mobilization, incremental progress, absorption of foreign influences and adaptation to the Chinese context) and weaknesses (conformism reign of Shanzhai (fake), pervasive insecurity / corruption) of China?

What do the Chinese (they are torn between ambition and social constraints, projection and protection, want to distinguish themselves and obligation to remain in place: these conflicts arise the best insights from the advertising)? What are the three golden rules of marketing? Many topics discussed at this event (video attached)

“60 ‘Inside What Chinese Want”

What opportunities for brands?

And if Confucius was the best ally of western brands? The Chinese people are probably the most pro-brands in the world. Where identities are suppressed / repressed, and success, a tough road jaloné steps (acceptance, appreciation, admiration, “iconization”), brands have a role in the formation of these and this frantic quest . Some examples:

– The market for Seniors

The Gray market for 50 years and a generation immensely shaken in its authority, the reforms that led to compulsory retirement, removal of children, the historical conflict between collectivism and the assertion of an ego latest . Chinese conflict unique brand that offers play the latent tension between the fear of a new world and excitement for new beginnings / discovering new freedoms (travel, friends …).

New Balance speaks to the “elders” who dream of “new roads and a new life,” while China Mobile exceeds the “Connecting people” and brings generations by opening “lines of love ‘between mothers and daughters

– The “mothers tigresses”

While academic achievement is the key essential to prepare children for a hyper-competitive world, brands can help parents torn between the strict traditional upbringing (by heart, uncritical), and the emergence of a new mode of development / self-discovery, more liberal and less stressful.


Allowing completion AND fun, Pizza Hut offers “Triumph feasts,” Wrigley’s mascot encourages more young people to be “Super Good Kids” who “love to help, discover and create, protect the environment and build team spirit “Smartie’s to” sweeten Their imagination “cookies Danone to disclose” your inner Superman “

– The “Third Lowers»

It is in these cities called “inferior” to gather more than 80% of the Chinese population, which is the highest growth potential. Purchasing power increases by about 10% per year in the cities of 2nd to 4th place. A consumer base less knowledgeable, but no less demanding, different expectations, which require brands to adapt their strategy.

But how to develop a brand strategy coherent and consistent, and retain DNA targeting middle class “mass-market” in latent anxiety for the poorest, who live mostly those “lower third” of the interior, and the middle class richer and optimistic, who still lives in majority today in the 1st third of the coastline? Four strategic imperatives:

“Bigger is better” omni-presence / geographical coverage are indicators of quality, and therefore reinsurance is a formidable weapon retention

Lenovo operators China Mobile and Unicom or TV manufacturers TCL has a strong national penetration, such as Nokia, General Motors or Nesle.

– Quality cheaper, should be a goal. The price alone is not enough.

P & G, Chevrolet or Canon developed (ranges) specific products and / or redefining the standards of quality for a low price

– Management of the portfolio of brands: image construction with premium products, with volume cheaper products

The promise of Rejoice shampoo is “confidence from softness.” Confidence expressed as a catalyst for family harmony in the lower third, with its product Rejoice Oil Free, and as a career accelerator for consumers more sophisticated, with its product Rejoice Soft

– Direct Message: simplicity sells. Being visual rather than verbal. With what it takes to demonstrate the effectiveness in situations of everyday life


Brands can meet the motivations of the middle class mass market by promoting empowerment, success, self-realization: Denizens (Levi’s) encourages young people to have the “courage to fit out, start up,” Gap with ” Let’s Gap together “the called to literally embrace the world, Samsonite and urges the new generation” ready for discovery “to” take on the World.

Despite the economic downturn and uncertainties related to the political situation, “What Chinese Want” is well reflected in the enormous range of possibilities and optimism of the Chinese, that Tom Doctoroff summed up in four words: “The urge to surge” or yearning to move forward.

Laure de Carayon

Article published on DOC NEWS

Images: Tom Doctoroff





PR Newswire