15
Apr
2013

Creative ideas must be made obvious in China

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China has some very creative people, but experience would say that as a number, they are in a small minority. The majority of the population does not have the same creative flare that we find elsewhere in the world such as Europe for example; the reasons for this are a big topic for discussion, and this is not the place for that. I would also say that the introduction of creative ideas and concepts by foreign brands into China needs to be clearly explained to consumers because for the reason just mentioned, they will not immediately see the creativity, or the benefits it brings them.

Personally, I love creative ideas, and especially simple ones that make life more exciting and fun. I was therefore pleased to be invited to a launch event in Shanghai at the flagship store in Xintiandi of BoConcept, the Danish furniture brand that has been operating in the country for over 15 years. They themselves weren’t the draw, but their collaboration with German urban car brand Smart was.

I always think of limited edition cars as having the name of a famous designer attached to them, a few colour and styling changes made inside and out, but not much more. What I found interesting about this collaboration was firstly the synergy between the two companies. Both make products for urban use, that are visually simplistic but impactful in design, functional and as environmentally friendly in terms of materials as possible. Possibly a match made in heaven!

Speaking to Torben the CEO of BoConcept, he explained how the two design teams came together, and that the Smart designers were intrigued to find the BoConcept designers starting from the inside of the car, when they would start from the outside. Daniel the head of Smart in China, also complimented the teams, and commented on how well the car, and the matching set of furniture that was produced suited urban living. To give the car credit, it does look great, the interior is beautifully appointed, and apparently the available units have already been sold.

So coming back to my original point. Collaboration like this is very creative, and delivers unique value to the Chinese consumer, but I still question whether they will see it without having it made obvious to them. My gut feeling is that both brands need to explain where the value is in this collaborative product, and why it is worth a great deal more than a standard Smart car? Otherwise all those great creative ideas, and the magic that was created in the process will never be appreciated or acknowledged. Assume nothing, and tell the story.

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