Category Archives: Blog

Sinonym and the naming in China

Sinonym and the naming in China

Nike, Adidas, Coca-Cola and Pepsi are present throughout western people’s daily lives and, generally speaking, of the culture in the West. In China, these very same brands will be found throughout different name: Nai ke (耐克), Ai di da (艾迪达), Kekoukele (可口可乐), Bai shi (百事).

Sinonym has a strong experience of this naming adaptation in China. Finding the good name is a critical task when it comes to enter China market and is greatly enhanced by the Chinese culture, as names have a deep and strong significance in China. Thus, it became evident that foreign companies really have to get assisted by a specific consulting agency to find a suitable name in China.

“On the surface, Sinonym’s service is simple: we help clients find great Chinese names for their products, brands and services,” told us Steven Hansen, co-founder of Sinonym. “But behind that simple service is a set of processes and knowledge that is quite complex.”


 Sinonym provides key drivers to find a name in China

Steven Hansen

 Finding a name is not an easy process and involves critical skills. The founder of Sinonym insists on the main requirement to identify the most suitable name in Chinese market: “Linguistic resources, process management, and creativity. In naming, you must have all three.”

Indeed, unlike what many foreign companies may think, linguistic knowledge is not enough to find a good name. “Even though non-Chinese companies may have employees on the ground in China, most likely those employees don’t have the creative resources or process know-how to ensure the best naming choices” added Steven Hansen.  “Therefore, Sinonym gives clients one-stop expertise in these critical areas to ensure that their naming choices are appropriate and inspiring.”

 A national presence in China required a name suitable in every dialect

Another issue for naming in China is related to the country size and the diversity of culture and dialect within China. “One of the critical elements of name testing in China is to ensure that the name is acceptable to speakers of a wide variety of Chinese dialects,” told us the co-founder of Sinonym. “These so-called “dialects” — more different than French, Italian and Portuguese — are a constant source of difficulty for local and international companies alike.” Indeed, Chinese has thousands of characters, each with many meanings and with pronunciations that vary from region to region. Even for local brand, it can be difficult to find the right name when it comes to a national presence. Checking the sound and meaning of potential names in every dialect in China is thus crucial to establish your brand in China.

It is this crucial task, often forgotten by other agencies, which led to the creation of Sinonym, through previous project of Steven Hansen, a website which gather local speaker and writer from all over China to promote Chinese dialects named Phonemica. “I have years of experience in market research, including name testing, from when I was director of market research at Thomson Reuters. But since I left in 2009 and came to China, I’ve also been immersed in Chinese dialects through my Chinese dialect preservation project, Phonemica.”

“It was Phonemica that inspired us to first think up the naming service idea”, added Sinonym’s founder. “Choose unwisely, and your wonderful Mandarin name may be a curse word in Cantonese. To prevent this, we survey some of the many dialect speakers who use Phonemica to better understand the sound and meaning of potential names in their home dialects.”

Sinonym has different approaches to find a name in China

naming in China

Finding a name is a crucial task in a branding strategy in China. As explained by the founder of Sinonym, it required strong process management; but are there different kinds of approaches to find the most suitable name. Steven Hansen described to use the four most common processes.

  1. Use a name that sounds similar but has “no meaning”
    That is, the name has “no meaning” in the sense that it uses characters commonly used in foreign names just for sound. Classic example: 别克 (pronounced biékè in Mandarin) is the Chinese name for Buick. The sound is similar but the characters invoke little in the way of meaning.
  2. Translate the concept and forget the sound
    Microsoft did this by using the name 微软 (pronounced wēiruǎn). The literal meaning is “micro” and “soft”, but the sound is nothing like the English.
  3. Retain the original sound while communicating the meaning
    This approach attempts to maintain some sort of international consistency in the sound of the brand / product, while producing a thoroughly Chinese meaning. Well-executed and well-known examples include Coca-Cola’s 可口可乐, whose pronunciation (kěkǒukělè) bears some resemblance to the English and whose meaning is a fizzy mixture of something that “fits your taste” and “makes you happy”.
  4. Focus on positioning and meaning without regard to the non-Chinese name
    Let’s talk toothpaste for example. P&G’s Crest toothpaste became 佳洁士 (jiā jié shì). The sound is nothing like the original, and the meaning is entirely unrelated but does everything Crest wants it to do by implying: “good” + “clean” + a hint of well-culturedness.

    Or even P&G itself. The company name is translated as 宝洁 (bǎo jié), meaning something like “precious” + “clean”. It’s pronounced the same as another word (保洁) spelled with different characters whose meaning is “to keep a public place clean”. In making this name selection P&G was clearly trying to capture some of the essence of their disparate brands.

More about Sinonym:

Consulting Africa

For this specialist of the international questions, Africa needs China, and China cannot realize its dream of world major power without the African continent.

Expert on Africa

Africa, with a plentiful population the number of which will reach 2 billion in 2050 and which will consist of more of 60 % of young people of less than 35 years, has to meet challenges of a big dimension in education, in health, in employment and in food security as well as in purification, he underlined.

imagesThis deficit of expertise is in the course of reduction. To study, to learn to know, to produce some knowledge on the cultures in interaction, to favor the intellectual exchanges and to develop intercultural competence, some are for the Chinese and the Africans the new stages of their relations. We are only at the beginning of this process of mutual understanding but certain signs show that it is already well begun.


Consulting for China in Africa

The DRC is a body of research and advice placed directly under the authority of the Council of State of People’s Republic of China. It makes recommendations to the Central committee and to the Council of State about the economy and about the social development of China. The research on Africa is within one of its divisions: the Research institute on the Development Asie-Afrique.

CASS is the most important and the most prestigious body of consulting and of expertise in China. It has a ministerial status and puts back directly to the Council of State. Within the CASS is an Institute of the Studies on western Asia and on Africa. By its age and its importance, this institute concentrates a big part of the Chinese expertise on the African cultures. The African section of this institute includes four departments which so divide up.

Financial advisory in China

Near the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 of the name of the risky property loans granted in number by financial institutions then securitized and sold all around the world, the triggering factor was a very violent crisis in the market of the accommodation, which pulled the world in one of crisis the gravest of the history, the world divided into two, on one side unselfish countries, other one of the borrowers.

Chinese finance and impact on western countries

2010, 30 the years after its transfer towards the capitalism thanks to Deng Xiaoping, China with a population of more than a billion three hundred and thirty one million inhabitants, more fifth of the world population, with a surface of more than 9 million of km2, a growth rate near 10 % for several years delighted the place of the second world economy.

According to the official statistics the GDP(GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT) in nominal terms (included the inflation) amounted over the year 2010 to 5474 billion dollars against 5876 billion dollars for the Chinese GDP(GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT).

The catching up made by China was particularly fast because his length five years the size of the Chinese economy was again lower of half than that of Japan.

I shall quickly like returning on the history of China to understand how this country made a success of this bet which seemed impracticable it ya even half a century.

Today China is for a period of opening and accelerated economic development and it seems that the current reforms allowed the Chinese people to spread its industry and that its power is comparable to that of the big western countries.

China is qualified as factory of the world and first exporter of the world today and the studies showed that the basket of a French household in its non-food part, contained half products made in China.

Search engine marketing in China

Search engine marketing, as a form of Internet marketing, is used to achieve marketing objectives through transforming the Internet information to targeted internautes. Its main idea is to let internautes to be aware of the information, among which they seek what they need by clicking into the web pages. Before performing a search engine marketing strategy, search engine optimization (SEO) should be accomplished. SEO refers to two points: the websites are contained and included in the research engine results; try to get o higer ranking in the results. A majority of internet marketers and operators do their business on the basis of these two points. In the fierce Internet marketing competition, these two basic points don’t suffice at all. It can’t make a higher click rate or transform the potential clients into true ones. Thus, apart from the two points, we need another five elements to realize research engine marketing: web pages( information resource), research engine information index data bank, internautes’ researching action and results, internautes’ analysis of the results, clicks on the results, etc. SEM’s objectives are to analyze these elements and the process of the marketing information’s transmission. In fact, the most important is to provide a better user’s experience. These who have such practice may probably produce a real business deal.

Nowadays, SEM is the most widely used as a key point in marketing strategies. For some large companies, they have their own marketing departement to draw up such strategies. The phenomenon also gives birth to a group of structures whose business is concentrated on providing services of SEM for clients. For example, in 2009, was created as a operator in this intelligent industry. It has ever served Suning( one of the Chinese most powerful electrical equipments’ producer ) in SEM. The following shows how make SEO in China and how the case was treated. formulated the whole strategy in terms of broadening brand effect, making full use of the research engines and portal websites to affect both rational and perceptual consumer habitudes and raise its visibility on Internet. As a result of the marketing strategic operation, the brand promotion has been strengthened with a large number of visits, new visitors and orders. According to google analytics at that moment, the new visits represent 69.73% of the whole, and the average staying time is increased by 12.74%. To achieve these goals, there are also some other important details in the web contents which affect directly the quality of users’ experience.

Make attractive selling points for Internet consumers.

  1. Target detail segments.
  2. Provide its own competitive advantages in prices, logistics, service quality, etc.
  3. Form a consumer cycle characteristic.
  4. Regular promotions to attract new visits and affect their consuming methods.

Internet marketing methods.

  1. Use Weibo to cover more websites and develop its new target Organize various promotional activities on Weibo.
  2. Publish its group sales on Tuangou.

Use news report.

  1. Grasp the news focus and combine them with your sales.
  2. Participate in social activities.

All these tips contribute to attract the attention of Internautes and increase the number of visitors, which affects the ranking of a website in the engine research results. Only when a company manages to make a perfect SEM, it can go on well with its later Internet marketing strategies.

How to realize a market research in China?

China represents a large potential market in many industries since its reform and opening-up in 1978. But it’s still a thorny problem to study its market with a huge population situated in a various cultural and geographic context. Most of time, the consumers’ habitudes and needs are not the same as what we know in the occident. Therefore, for foreign enterprises who want to enter China, they can’t go off the deep end without any market research. If no, they could probably have no idea what and how to do with this exploring strategy. This article is to provide some suggestions on it.

First of all, the objective of the research is to collect a maximum of market’s information, Chinese customers’ expectations, distribution canals and the competitive situation. Some specialist like a consultant for china, can find this information. But for the consulting groups, they should define information that the foreign enterprises want. If a foreign enterprise decide to open up its business in China, it’s better to follow the steps below in its market research.

  1. Determine the vital issue of the enterprise: the context, the objectives the environment.
  2. Define the information that the enterprise needs. Being clear about this point, the consulting group can then establish the pertinent methods in the research.
  3. Equation: pertinence of obtained information, limit time and cost. Each company has its objectives and constraints, especially in Chinese marketing research(a tremendous amount of work), so the consulting group should take the three factors into consideration throughout its operation.
  4. Documentary research. Before applying a field operation, we can already reach a great deal of information at your disposal on Chinese Internet. These studies, statistics and analysis are either to be paid or not(generally free of charge). In despite of this access, it remains still difficult to obtain the reliable information within a small cost.
  5. Fit , follow and control the execution of your research. It’s a delicate part of the whole research, for some information trends to be false.
  6. Analyze , interpreter and use your results. The information obtained in the research needs to be analyzed and dissected to accomplish a report. This is a key point of market studying. If we manage to collect and then provide the pertinent information the client enterprise need, it’s called a successful project.
  7. Recommendations(on positioning, distribution, price, target). Since the marketers are the most near to the origins of information in the research, so they can give suggestions on the marketing strategies to the client company

Of course, the choice of forms of research also effects the progress and quality in the event. Considering the difficult dirigibility in quantitive researches in China(the reasons are evident, large population, diverse geography , social order, etc), thus the quantitative research produces a big potential error. Therefore, the qualitative research is relatively much easier in application and allows to find out direct answers of Chinese consumer habitudes and needs. Moreover, the professionals in China are also increasingly willing to perform in such international exchanges. Anyway, before organizing a qualitative research, the marketers should know very well the language, the local culture and custom so as to avoid the misunderstanding. Besides, the Chines are more and more aware of right-responsibility, so the researcher should give them some recompense(such as timely feedback) to stimulate their participation in your research. In this way, the communication between the two parts becomes more positive and active. The marketers can also make full use of RP(Relation Press ), for a large number of Chinese people are connected to Internet and the Chinese internauts have actively acted on Internet in a free-talk climate. The following RPs are the principal networks used by them.

Weibo, Renren, QQ, Douban, Fenghuang, Baidu, Wangyi, etc.


What’s a consultant?

A consultant can be described like a advisor about a country, a market… The consultant name, is derived from the English language. The business advisor or the “consultant” can apply to many trades: Consultant ERP, IT, financial management, human resource management, strategy, management, or mercenary, until the areas of communication (consultant in football, rugby for television) or specialized of a country: culture, religion, negotiation….

As its name suggests, the counselor is responsible for providing advice: it provides client recommendations from experience, supported by a diagnosis of position. In practice, it remains present in the company to support the implementation of these recommendations, either as a supervisor or as an actor.

There are several reasons to hire a consultant:

-Specialized expertise: the need for specialized expertise

-Objectivity: get an objective view of a complex situation.

-Privacy: a study and keep their identity confidential

-Credibility: get the necessary support in a project

– Ability to work: lack of people to conduct a study or an internal project.