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Chinese brands play ‘follow my leader’

If you don’t have a real story in China, you can always make one up, and as long as you are bullish and consistent enough about it, people will accept that what you tell them is real. We have seen premium brands claim to be luxury and position themselves as such in China where the populous knows no different.

For Chinese brands, association with movie and music stars has been something they have leveraged for a while. The most recent ‘coat tail’ Chinese brands have held onto has been the Chinese President and first lady. Previous occupants of these positions did not have the charisma and style of Mr Xi and his wife, and China was not such an important global player in the past.

So now Chinese ‘luxury’ brands are using the visits of Mr Xi to overseas destinations as their queue to appear on the scene as though they had always been around and were part of China’s heritage. On such example is a Chinese jewellery brand called TTF (Today, Tomorrow and Forever) that released information about itself during the visit of Mr Xi to Paris recently. It claims to have been existence for over ten years and to have an HQ in France, but mention of the brand or of its supposedly unique construction techniques have not appeared in the media before.

It may well be that as a jeweller the company has been in existence for ten years, there is no way to really check, but its somewhat coincidental that it has only just started to promote itself as the Chinese Premier sets foot on French soil for the first time, and the Chinese national media is following him and any associated stories. This is clever use of the media that is looking for China based links to the countries greater global importance, and may give the brand a leg up in the eyes of the Chinese consumer. Time will tell.

What can be learned from this type of activity is that the Chinese like positive stories of the countries success, of it being a winner on the world stage, and the media are more likely to pick this type of story up than of a foreign brand opening yet another store somewhere in the country. So for all those running any business out there whether its in the luxury sector or not, do not underestimate the power of direct links to China. Employing Chinese staff, establishing a JV with a Chinese company, or funding the development of the Chinese economy. The media will create great mileage for you if you make the connection well enough.


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