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How to name a brand in China

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Matthieu David, president and founder of Daxue Consulting, shares insight on the importance of a professional approach to company/brand name in China.

The process of naming is a tricky one, even if it seems easy and obvious, it is always better to consult with experts in this field, who know the market and all pitfalls. Among other things, the name of your company/brand will form its image, reputation, people’s understanding of the product or service, and on top of that this will create customers’ associations which affect emotions and subconscious choices.

Brands who do not consult with experts or native speakers are more likely to make branding blunders, which can damage the reputation of the brand. Just ask the management at Mercedes Benz, who originally gave their luxury car the name “奔死” (ben-si) to enter China’s market. Although this name is phonetically accurate to the pronunciation of “Benz”, the characters together have the unfortunate meaning of “rush to die”. After realizing this error, they changed their name to “奔驰” (ben-chi) which means “dashing speed”.

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group: “Too many companies want their brands to reflect some idealized, perfected image of themselves. As a consequence, their brands acquire no texture, no character, and no public trust”.

Brand naming is the first stage of the branding strategy. This first stage is a complex procedure, that is why Matthieu David in the video has divided the brand naming process into the 4 main steps.

Cultural and linguistical differences can also complicate the process. This is another reason why we recommend you to cooperate with experts who have many years of practical experience in the Chinese market.

To get extra tips about the naming process in China you can also read our “8 Naming tips in China” article.


Daxue Consulting gives an effective understanding of Chinese and Asian markets to deliver better results for our clients and partners.

For more information about the process of naming in China do not hesitate to contact us at dx@daxueconsulting.com.

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