best practice this week: living it out

"What you are is so loud I can't hear what you are saying."

Practice what I preach. Keep all committments.

Why this Blog?

I started this blog for two reasons:

(1) To share my knowledge and experiences as a business consultant (Asia Pacific) & entrepreneur in the marketplace;

(2) Use this blog as an platform to exchange ideas, to learn from others and to further enrich our business experiences & personal development

Monday, March 31, 2008

Brand Loyalty, China? [Part 1]


This topic is of interest to me because, like most of my friends in the industry (we are usually most perplexed, if sales & marketing plans are not going well, and exhilarated when sales & marketing plans go well), I expect brand loyalty to help me sustain and grow my business.

This is a huge topic by itself and you can easily find many articles and discussions on the internet. I don’t intend to write a thesis on it. My writing will primarily reveal some observations I have made regarding the subject, how important it is for me as an entrepreneur and what I can do to achieve it.

Snapshot of Chinese consumers general characteristics

To begin, I have listed some general characteristics I have concluded from past projects and reviewing present literature.

· Diverse market segments across different regions and cities
· Choices are aplenty for Chinese consumers
· Chinese consumers are primarily influenced by media advertising, internet, family and friends
· Brand conscious
· Price-for-value conscious
· Quality and function conscious
· Chinese consumers generally perceive foreign brands to have better quality and status
· Like to associate with products and services that are associated with high or privileged status

#1 First Observation: Check Your Assumptions – the missing equation

I discover that if you peel the onion enough (as a figure of speech), you will discover assumptions and insights on any issue or subject. This is important to me as a business owner because I am daily faced with limited resources and time, and I simply want to make the best use of it. I need insights and clarity to help me achieve economical usage of my resources.

So, what do we understand by brand loyalty? What are our expectations and assumptions?

Brand loyalty is having my customers returning and preferring to purchase my products or services over my competitors. The expectation and assumption is that if I can address the key buying behaviours in my target segment and the 4Ps (place, promotion, price and product), I can usually expect brand loyalty from my customers.
I suggest we check our assumptions because I have observed many successes as there are failures despite companies adequately address key buying behaviours and the 4Ps.

The missing equation, in my observations, is the presence and activities of competitors. The 4Ps and addressing key buying behaviours certainly contribute to the success or failure in my attempt to build brand loyalty. But notice the culprit behind these activities besides me? That’s right, my competitors.

My point is simple; do not assume customers to consistently purchase your products and services even when you have addressed key buying behaviors and the 4Ps, if you have not consider your competition. This is true in China.
Case in point: Cosmetics in China. Chinese women are willing to pay for premium products. However, they are also willing to switch to another premium cosmetic provider if they are giving away generous gifts. Why? Because Chinese women perceived both premium brands to be equally good in addressing their needs since they are in the same category – high-end brands.

Thus, I can be sufficiently and accurately addressing my target segment’s key buying behaviours and the 4Ps but my efforts can be thwarted when one of my competitors pull a stunt like the cosmetic example mentioned.

End of Part 1

1 comment:

sksee82 said...

Greetings Brian,

I think this might be useful for you.