Made in China: The New China Brand
By Tom Dougherty
The 2008 Olympics was indeed China’s “Coming Out Party” on the world stage. It was an announcement to the world that not only had China joined the 21st century, but, on a more important note, China has announced its new brand. There is brand equity in made in China.
To this point, most of the world looked on the China brand with a sense of trembling expectation, as we anticipated the economic awakening by a quarter of the world’s population. This educated and determined consortium of ethnicities held the world’s attention because of their economic potential. China owns the ability to produce products more cheaply than the rest of the developed world and we all assumed the county’s most plentiful natural resource was to be found in its vast and untapped labor force.
Announcement not Forewarning
But the blast over the brow of the developed world’s ship needs to be recognized. The 2008 Olympics and China’s determined efforts to announce its economic promise and initiative turns out to be a good more than a harbinger of things to come. China, as a global brand has arrived. Move over European Union, United States, and Japan. The world has a new and formidable brand to contend with. They set a bar that speaks to the China brand equities.
In its nearly flawless presentation of the 2008 Summer games, China demonstrated to the world that they are not just on parity with the West, they may very well be ahead. When the opportunity arises to compare the London 2012 games with the one just past, the differences (dare we say “gap”) will become more than evident.
This was not just glitz and showbiz. It was logistics and construction, par excellence. In just a few short years, China rebuilt Beijing into one of the world’s economic capitals.
They not only built the Olympic village and facilities from the ground up, they also built anew their most storied city. And less you think that it was just a façade built for the Olympics only, visit any of a number of Chinese cities like Hong Kong and Shanghai and you will see that this cultural revolution is a mile deep and a thousand miles wide. China has asserted her pre-eminence and we are not talking about the numbers of Olympic gold medals won.
The Foundations of The China Brand Success
China has demonstrated the logistical expertise and organization needed to create a new standard in Olympics. They have now also demonstrated an understanding of the Western culture and its dependence on showmanship. In a masterful branded stroke, China took the game’s opening and closing festivities and changed forever the Western egocentric view of cultural dominance.
With a dazzling display of Chinese culture, aesthetics, and tradition — blended seamlessly with an understanding and command of Western pop-culture and showmanship — China declared to the entire world that it was no longer an economic culture to be dismissed as one built around “cheap copies” of Western products. Nope.
China possesses a creative expertise that now challenges the world’s concept of invention and innovation. China raised the bar and showed us something that was both different and better than anything we had previously seen or will likely see again. There may come a time when companies are no longer thinking about how to compete with China on price, but on innovation as we start desiring products that are developed in China first.
The NEW Brand of China and its Equities
From a brand perspective this is a significant “great leap forward” because something that says MADE IN CHINA will no longer be considered “cheap.” Henceforth and forever more, MADE in CHINA will mean Innovative, Creative, new and less expensive. How is that for brand equity? (Read a blog post about China here)