There was an article in the New York Times by Michael Wines, and the headline was ‘Picking Brand Names in China is a Business Itself’. Here is a quote from that article, “BEIJING — After a hard day’s labor, your average upscale Beijinger likes nothing more than to shuck his dress shoes for a pair of Enduring and Persevering, rev up his Precious Horse and head to the pub for a tall, frosty glass of Happiness Power. Or, if he’s a teetotaler, a bottle of Tasty Fun.
To Westerners, that’s Nike, BMW, Heineken and Coca-Cola, respectively. And those who wish to snicker should feel free: the companies behind these names are laughing too — all the way to the bank.”
To our western ears, the Chinese brand names sound ridiculous. Herein lies the problem. I know for a fact that our brand names make no sense to the Chinese. A Chinese company must be careful not to infuse their own ideas of naming or branding onto their US product line unless they are very familiar with the culture and expectations.
Another thing to consider is the fact that in the U.S. we often use a wide variety of fonts to express the uniqueness of our brand name. Just look back at the different fonts used by Google, Coca-Cola etc. The color and font are an integral part of the brand identity. The name IS the logo. In China, there is one font. Therefore, the symbol or icon becomes the sole distinguishing mark.
This is the reason Chinese companies will often insist that the logo for their US brand be a symbol, when, in fact, they are hurting their brands chances of success with this misunderstanding of how branding and logos work in the US. However, if they were building a Chinese brand, to sell in China, this would make perfect sense.
At inQbrands we specialize in developing brands for the U.S. consumer. We are the one company you can turn to for brand naming and logos, product development, marketing, trend research and sales.