Chinese brands attack in luxury

What if the time had come for Chinese luxury brands? What COM strategy to remove the brakes from consumers? How to internationalize a national brand? The We Are COM team had a green tea with Michel Chevalier, luxury and brands expert in China. Banzai!

Hello Michel ! Chinese brands are starting to conquer the West (and not only). How do you see this phenomenon?

You should know that there are many Brands very powerful Chinese. We are not necessarily yet exposed to it in Europe because for the moment, they have chosen to devote their communication strategy to the Chinese market. But to get an idea of ​​their potential, we can say that their strike force is commensurate with the Chinese domestic market, and more broadly with mainland China (including Taiwan and Hong Kong). That is to say very very extensive! It has been observed in recent years that their behavior has tended to change, in particular with the emergence of luxury brands with high potential. It is interesting to observe their strategy of conquest and to what extent they will internationalize. We are at a pivotal moment, especially since at the same time, we are also witnessing the takeovers of major international luxury brands by Chinese brands. How will all this be organized in the years to come?

What are the communication strategies of Chinese brands?

In general, Chinese brands communicate little… They rarely develop a branding or corporate communication strategy, and even less in non-Chinese media. They focus their communication efforts on Press relations and public relations, on commercial communication around products, in particular within their points of sale, which represent their real strength. For example, some Chinese luxury brands unknown in Europe weigh much more than some international luxury brands. We can for example quote “Chow Tai Fook” which weighs twice as heavy as Cartier in terms of turnover, with more than 2 points of sale, 1 designers and 000 diamond cutting factories. For these brands, development and growth take precedence over investment in brand communication.

The “First Name Last Name” format is a classic luxury naming strategy.

In terms of naming, what are the options chosen by Chinese brands that are already exporting internationally?

First of all, there are the brands that choose an international name and decide to no longer make any reference to their country. This is the case, for example, for the Esprit, Herborist, Stella Luna or Giada brands. Conversely, there are brands that very strongly claim their origin with Chinese characters and names that are sometimes difficult to pronounce for the “uninitiated”: Xang Xia, Shiatzy Tschen or even Guo Pei. However, despite a very strong name, these brands offer a resolutely international fashion and it is for example in the detail of the accessories that we can find the Chinese style. Finally, other brands have found a form of compromise with a mixed name, such as Wallace Snan, Helen Lee or Cindy Cao, which play on the “First name and last name” format. A fairly classic strategy in the luxury sector.

Is “Made in China” a plus or a burden for Chinese luxury brands?

It depends on the brands. Claiming manufacture in China for a Chinese brand may seem consistent. We can therefore imagine that this is not a major obstacle to its development. In any case, vis-à-vis the mainland Chinese market, it is not: what the Chinese see above all is economic development and job creation on their territory. That being said, it remains frequent, among Chinese luxury brands which aim to export internationally, that their factories are in China while their creation studios are, for their part, located in Paris or Milan ... the cradles of fashion! Anyway, we can say that the majority of these brands remain pragmatic: “what are the expectations of the country in which I am setting up operations? Does the fact that I am Chinese add value or not to sell my products? ". These are the questions that Chinese brands are asking themselves before going international. If the answer is no, “Made in China” will not be promoted.

3 things to know about Michel

> He holds a doctorate from Harvard Business School.
> He is the author of the reference work " When China awakens to luxury », Dedicated to the rise of Chinese luxury brands outside Asia.
> He was successively Managing Director of Paco Rabanne Perfumes and President of Paco Rabanne Couture.

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