The news that McDonald’s recently changed its registered name in Mainland China from McDonald’s to “Golden Arch” went viral on social media. The new name is widely made fun of by the consumers in a harmless way. Does it matter that global players need a Chinese brand name when entering the China market, or do they really need to put deep thoughts into the naming?
The answer is ABSOLUTELY YES.
McDonald’s Mandarin name, 麦当劳,originates from its pronunciation. It is easy to pronounce and remember, and also sounds exotic. The kid meal and children activity are running under a sub-brand Mai Mai (麦麦) However, the new name, 金拱门, sounds like a small food stall next to a building or a bridge with “arch” in the name. Of course, it has been discussed online more like a casual joke, because the change of registered company name doesn’t reflect on the brand name itself.
Not only the pronunciation should inspire the connection with English brand name, the Chinese characters and its extended meanings should also match brand image. Chanel is a great example of combining the unity of form and spirit (形神兼备) which indicates the fragrance and elegancy of the brand. But some brands learn a hard lesson. Bottega Veneta’s Chinese name shares the same pronunciation as “Slump” which touches users’ nerves, and the brand name itself is complained to have the same look and feel as cheap Taobao items. IKEA, on the other hand, picks a smart name which sounds close to IKEA and means "accommodating for living".
Brand name is an intangible asset that can either effectively promote the brand or destroy the marketing efforts.
Emirates Airline takes advantage of its name and wins the marketing battle against the Abu-Dhabi-headquartered Etihad. The word Emirates means the union of individual Emirates. Its Chinese name is translated into “UAE”, so that the recognition of the country name enables people to remember the airline. Many people even mistake Emirates Airline as the national airline of UAE. Etihad’s Chinese name is a literal translation without recalling any connection with the English brand or Arabic meaning. People can’t simply link it to a country or a city, while the name pronunciation itself causes tongue twisting.
If we vote for the all-time most successful Chinese brand name, Coca-cola must be on the list. Coca is translated into KE KOU(可口）meaning delicious, and Cola means “can be happy”. Its original Chinese name is also made of four letters but the letters are quite complicated and remind people of tadpole.
We believe that a good Chinese name will uplift the business. It also requires a highly skilled team to tweak the pronunciation, match the brand image and simplify the memory process.
If you also experience the dilemma that you desire a Chinese brand name but need an expert team, Seeniun Media can be your trusted consultant. Contact us now. Our Dubairen brand ranks on top of Dubai or lifestyle related search result.