Every global market has its own way of doing things. Usually how a brand presents itself is critical as to whether or not consumers accept its products or services.

German brand Brita has made our winners list as brand of the month thanks to their exemplary international branding strategy. Namely, when Brita entered the Chinese market, they didn’t simply copy-paste their existing branding strategy. Instead, they developed a separate international branding strategy that was tailored explicitly for the Chinese market. Take a look at how they did it and why it was a success.

Brita Enters Chinese Market

Brita is a German brand that produces a range of products in the water filtration industry. The brand has production facilities in multiple countries and its products are distributed in 66 countries.

When Brita decided to enter the Chinese market, they were pretty much invisible to local consumers. Nobody knew who they were or what they were selling. They had to do a lot of research about the new market in terms of consumer habits, expectations and language. Initial findings showed that the original English name was very difficult to pronounce in Chinese. As a result Brita had to come up with a naming strategy to solve this language barrier.

One of their first solutions was to hire a branding agency to help them choose a suitable brand name. With the help of these branding professionals, Brita received a new Chinese name, bì rán dé, which was appropriate for the local market.

Bì represents crystal water, rán means correct and right, while dé indicates moral virtue and expresses the meaning of elegant, safe and German-oriented. This name is an ideal Chinese alternative to ‘Brita’ because of its closeness to the original brand concept. Also, the name bì rán dé is easy to read and remember, making it the perfect name candidate. Brita have also integrated their new Chinese name into the graphic design of the existing Brita logo.

Once Brita’s branding team settled on the name, it was time to test it with real consumers. Brita’s new Chinese was tested in five main Chinese dialects. Additionally, Brita have gone the extra mile to protect their brand in China by applying for international trademark registration.

Brita’s name change and enhancement of existing branding elements proved successful in their international expansion. The brand was welcomed by Chinese consumers and today Brita has a thriving production facility in China. This goes to show that adequate market research and adaptation to specific markets is crucial to brand longevity and success.

International Branding Checklist

Follow Brita’s example and successfully launch your product in a whole new marketplace. Here’s our international branding checklist as a guide:

1. Prevent awkward translations. It’s common for names or phrases in one language to have ambiguous, negative or superstitious meanings in another. To avoid awkward translation blunders brands should work closely with international branding experts when preparing to launch internationally. Complete a language check to find out if your brand name is compatible with the target language.

2. Complete thorough market research. Market research is an inevitable part of branding, regardless of where in the world you’re setting business roots. However, when entering a new market, you need to be more detail-oriented in your research. Apart from monitoring consumer behavior, you need to be mindful of cultural norms which may affect brand engagement.

3. Maintain brand consistency. Increase global brand visibility by keeping essential parts of your brand intact. Keep various brand details such as typeface, logo design, and color schemes consistent across borders. This will enable consumers to instantly recognize your brand wherever they encounter it.

4. Protect your brand. International trademark registration is the most effective way to keep other businesses from stealing your original creations. You can protect your brand name, logo, design, and other branding elements. Get a free trademark search and expert consultation before going ahead with your trademark application.

Key Takeaways

Having a strong international branding strategy is important when plans are under way to expand abroad. It’s not enough that you take your existing brand strategy and use it in a different market. This is a big mistake mainly because of cultural dissimilarities and differences in consumer behavior. You need to tailor it to local customs, consumer behavior, and language. And protect it from brand copycats, of course.

This is exactly what Brita did and their tailored international branding strategy has positioned their brand highly in numerous markets. Other brands should look up to Brita as a model brand when expanding their business to a completely different market.

Thinking about entering a new global market? Contact us for a free initial consultation about language checks and international trademark registration. We’d love to help!