national products popular
their high-profile fellow athletes, there were Chinese fighting
on another front at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
were promoting Chinese brands.
you didn't notice, but Wang Weiqun, editor of the Beijing-based
trade journal Successful Marketing will tell you, the footware
for the US and Spanish basketballers was furnished by Li Ning,
a mainland sportsware manufacturer named after its founder, China's
accomplished gymnastics champion who won three gold medals at
the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984.
was the sponsor of the Chinese basketball team.
Li-Ning was just one of the Chinese brands learning to compete
with overseas rivals and brands by taking advantage of the Athens
that marketers have turned the country into the largest advertising
market in Asia, they are ready to take Chinese brands from the
domestic market onto the global market.
Li-Ning certainly deserved a medal for its luck in supporting
players who remained in the focus of television cameras and in
sports news headlines for a long time.
of the bitter lessons that many other Chinese marketers learned
from Athens was that sportsmen and women who were expected to
win gold medals there didn't.
they suffered losses in advertising money in hiring or endorsing
those players. Expensive television commercials that those companies
shot in advance never got to be shown after the players they featured
lost their way.
was like betting on the wrong horse. But it was not surprising
as the most competitive sports event in the world was full of
course, building brands takes much effort, not just advertising
and sponsoring athletes. From the ways they used the just concluded
Athens Olympics, we can tell that many Chinese marketers are just
learning about brand building and brand management.
the arena of brands, China has to learn a lot and practise a lot.
And the learning process can take place along several lines at
up a branding strategy
the strategic level, no one can replace the manufacturers' top
executives in developing the overall plan based on the balancing
of the company's strengths, constraints, and ambition.
companies are running more than one product brand series, based
on strategic valuation of their market.
is managing at once many product brands in different regional
markets worldwide from their brandnames to their recipes.
of such packaged brands is still a rare phenomenon in China, reflecting,
probably, still under-developed market segmentation.
the companies which own more than one brand, thanks mainly to
their successful acquisition operations such as Greencool, the
supplier of environmentally-friendly refrigerant which has now
acquired major domestic air-conditioner makers often have problems
in using their brands to support one another, instead of letting
them compete with one another.
expertise in management
is similar to the 1990s when many State-owned companies issued
shares in Hong Kong, when their executives had barely learned
the capital market practices here, such as information disclosure.
many companies outsourced the promotion of their shares to professional
agents, from investment bankers to investment relations consultants,
and in the process,helping them restructure their organizations
in such a way as to be able to carry out those practices.
there are few capable brand management consultants in the mainland.
Those who have experience in overseas marketing campaigns are
mainland manufacturers and exporters are looking for help in Hong
Kong, believing that Hong Kong has more individuals with overseas
marketing and sales experience.
the market and agents
Chinese exporters know little about the destinations of their
goods, and their end users. There should be a new public service
for them, to provide them with accurate and timely information
about the global market, and also a dependable platform, possibly
on the Internet, to manage their cross-border business.
will have such a public service, sooner or later. But despite
its ample experience in this area, what role Hong Kong can play
in facilitating its development is still not clear.