Finding a good brand name


Finding a good brand name: The first step to get success in Chinese Market for International brands

Akio Morita, the founder of Sony, once said: “A brand should take a resounding name so that customers will have happy associations for the brand, which can help the brand gain more popularity and enhance competitiveness.”

A good name will bring bright future to an international brand. But, on the contrary, if it has a name which cannot be understood, it will exert a negative impression on the company. And Coco-Cola is a typical example.

find-a-brand-name-in-chinaWhen Coco-Cola first entered Chinese market, it was given the name “蝌蝌啃蜡”, which means ‘tadpole chews the wax’. It was generating some negative value associations with the product and no consumer wanted to buy the products. After months of extensive research, investigation, testing with consumers in focus groups and linguistic analysis,the name “可口可乐” finally won. “可口”means delicious, “可乐”means happiness. The name combines a pronunciation close to the English one and a appealing meaning.

From Coco-Cola’s history,we know exactly that a good name is essential to lay a relatively solid foundation in Chinese Market for International brands.

But why choosing the good brand name in China is it so crucial?

First, brand naming in China has some unique features. The Chinese language has about 100, 000 characters, of which only 3,500 are frequently used. And each character has its unique literal, cultural and historical context. Besides, since there are so many dialects in China , some things that sound good in one dialect can actually be ridiculous in another . As a result, brand naming in China is of unique importance and we should balance the tones to let the Chinese name flow off the Chinese tongue more easily.

Secondly, names and feelings they represent are very significant to Chinese people. Generally, Chinese people always tend to show preference to the names from which they will have a sense of belonging. The emphasis on auspiciousness, good fortune and happiness is highly important in the Chinese culture and enables an international brand’s Chinese name to be catchier.

The brand name of McDonald’s in China is a great example. There are three reasons which led it to great success in Chinese Market.

The first reason is that it preserved the original American sound. It did not prevent the Chinese brand name to evoke positive and relevant ideas, as the letter “Mc” has the same pronunciation of the hanzi麦, which means McDonald’s is a place where people can have meals.

Most importantly, the name has a high education significance, basically evoking the idea that if you want to have meals, you need to labor.

Therefore, McDonalds is not only combining close pronunciation and positive meaning, it also fits with some foundations of Chinese culture.

Just as the saying goes: Do in Rome as Romans does. With good Chinese names, International brands will get the first key to success in Chinese Market.



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