Sunday, September 05, 2010

Uncreative Brand, Creative Brand in China

Uncreative Brand

In Yangshuo, next to Guilin, Guangxi province, you can see one of the most characteristic mountains of China. But if you bike through the village, you will notice some interesting shops as well. Almost next to each other you can see a shop that embodies the old copycat mentality and one that characterises the new creative brandbuilding mentality.

adivon, easily recognised as a blatant adidas clone, has some remarkable things to say on its corporate website about branding and trademarks:

"The company has always adhered to the marketing philosophy of human-oriented and loyalty-led and been upright and creditable. We are competing for first place in the industry and targeting for gold medal in the market as we are to create it into a Chinese famous trademark and international famous brand." See here.

It even has a webpage dedicated to "brand honor" which shows eight certificates including
- From 2008 the annual message trust the quality of the top ten brands";
- 500 Chinese brands
- Top Ten China Industry Brand Campaign
- Famous brand products in Fujian

Talented IP student at CUHK, Brian Chen, illuminated me about the meaning of the Chinese characters of Adivon (阿迪王 pronounced as "a di wang"): "Chinese consumers use 阿 (a) 迪 (di) short for adidas. The brand is taking advantage of the association with adidas and by adding 王 (wang), which means king, it even implies it is better."

Creative Brand
But only a few shops to the right one will find one of the most creative and esthetical Chinese brands I have ever seen: Mulinsen, a shoe brand, that wants to have a green image (the question is whether this is justified, since the shoe industry is a rather polluting industry with a big water footprint, read here) is of course because of the characters used. Mu 木 means tree; lin 林 means forest and sen 森 means many trees. So all characters amplify each other, sort of alliteration with Chinese characters, and then the logo with four times the character 木 (or two times 林) is a very distinctive mark.

Mulinsen is also:

- Fujian famous brand
- Chinese famous brand

Photos/text Danny Friedmann

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