How do you make your brand local to your region?

June 2, 2008 | By Peng Zhao | Creative

I was happy when I found out that one of our projects this year is localization and developing our content for local markets. We have several markets (such as the Chinese market, where I work) that are in great need of localized content.

Every big brand is interested in the Chinese market, but does every brand know how to build its brand? It is a big question for my little head. To find an answer, I will show you some examples where you can see how local and traditional content is weaved into the stories that ad campaigns are trying to represent.

Here is an idea that was developed from the design pattern of the Olympic torch – the cloud. To the Chinese, the cloud is a symbol of prosperous future and happiness. Instead of putting all different kinds of Chinese traditional elements together, the audience can only see the cloud flying from the past to today. It’s abstract meets concrete. From impersonal to close to the region’s heart.

My point here is that to successfully brand to your market, you need a simple idea or symbol that the local audience has a deep feeling for and present it as obviously as possible. Simplicity can easily transfer the beauty and understanding to any audience. Also, in this clip, please note that the footage of landmarks are all from the Getty Images  collection.

My next example is about the newly released Nike ads:


Note the monkey king face on his front…

Beijing’s local culture is full of an “emperor feeling,” and people feeling proud that they live in Beijing (it used to be the capital for several ancient empires). The caption on the ads reads “Basketball Shaoye in Beijing.” Shaoye is the former title for the younger generations in the noble family.  This is combination of the younger generation and old nobility, Beijing opera costume (traditional elements) and a basketball uniform. This is “modernized tradition,” when the brands try to pitch to local markets and use traditional culture. Modernized tradition must be used properlyand can’t only be copy – it needs to be in imagery.

*Big thanks to Rebecca Swift who gave me great help on proofreading!

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