Simply translating your brand name, logo, and corporate image into an Asian language such as Chinese is a formidable task. One could read hundreds of case studies of large multinational companies who have dramatically failed at translating their respective brands for foreign audiences. The first step in the foreign brand development process is coming to terms with the fact that your name must be changed. This is true for brand names, product names, company names, even the personal names of executives that your company intends to commission in develop long-standing relationships with Asian-owned organizations.
In China, the logo most often bears a high degree of intrinsic value and identity, typically incorporating Chinese characters that express at least one aspect of the brand represented. Any imagery associated with the logo should be expressed with harmony, carefully balancing the visual components of the logo with linguistic ones. Every color, line, and character should be intentionally positioned for expression purposes. The logo is not simply a mark, but it must be the central message of the company or product represented. In China, a company’s logo is the first line of communication to your market, and if executed carelessly or inappropriately, your products and services will be overlooked substantially.
In addition to a well-designed logo, corporate imagery is a very important component of brand messaging in Asian Pacific cultures. Images that evoke lifestyle, comfort, happiness, and personal improvement are just as important as they are in Western markets. The difference lies in the imagery value equation, translating imagery from one culture to another one, such as English to Chinese, must take into account cultural dynamics at the national and local levels, and with specific respect to the value proposition of the products and services being offered.