Posted by: Matthew Molinari | March 9, 2012

Rebranding A Country

There’s a lot of thoughts out there on how to fix a damaged brand. Many of them focus on reconnecting with your customer base and addressing the problems that caused the damage. However, I thought this article on China trying to repair the image of the country’s “Made in China” brand put an interesting spin on it. That is a seriously big project and it really touches on two major issues: marketing and supply chain management.

First and foremost, China has to focus on repairing the fact that most of the world’s population, including 48% of the Chinese, don’t trust the items tagged with “Made in China”. The first step was to reallocate a major chunk of the new budget to this program. It sounds like while the plan is still in the early stages and most outlets in China aren’t giving a lot of information to the press, that the importance of emerging markets may play a key role.

Rather than try to change the minds of those who are already skeptical, China may look to import into new markets and grow a strong brand there first and then try to change the minds of other countries. No matter how the Chinese go about it, this re-branding is going to take decades to repair all the negative connotations with “Made in China”.

In terms of Supply Chains, the quality of the product being exported has everything to do with the lack regulations in China which causes issues. For one, it allows companies to operate extremely lean in terms of labor and material costs which is usually a good thing. But when they become to lean the product ends up suffering.

In terms of the workfoce, whether the labor standards are unfair or not, they exist within China and allow companies to work their employees beyond the limits found in most developed markets. They are also using materials that are cheaper to obtain. Both of these factors contribute to high volume at low prices but in many cases the result is substandard products that contribute to the poor image of the brand.

In many ways, in order to fix the brand, China must focus on updating its supply chain management. They only true way to change public opinion is to update the quality of the products they are putting out.

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