Building a brand in China? Why you should understand and leverage the China dream.



The Chinese Dream is getting a lot of buzz. As a marketer, I admire how China’s government has developed extensive, well-considered strategies for future growth and branded them the Chinese Dream.

But based on ongoing conversations with business leaders and academics, both in China and other parts of the world, I also understand that the Chinese Dream has raised a lot of questions about potential obstacles and opportunities for brands.

What is Chinese dream?

The Chinese Dream is different from other large visions that preceded it in China’s 5,000-year history. It’s a national agenda that incorporates the personal dreams of individual Chinese people. The Chinese dream expresses hopes of both the government and the people on what they want to see in the country of China.  This is different than the personal dream of Chinese, identifying what each individual Chinese would like to achieve.

Top personal dreams of Chinese:


“Be healthy” is the number one personal dream of Chinese. As a family-oriented society, “ A good life for my family”, “Pursuit of happiness”, and “financial security” are all elements constitute of building a perfect Chinese dream. “A good life for my family” ranks the number two and “pursuit of happiness” ranks the number three position. Note, “individual freedom” is ranked the last of the top 8 personal dream of Chinese. Source: China dream 2014 Research.

However, the China dream is larger than the personal dreams. In some sense, it encompasses all the personal dream and what the government desires.


The Chinese Dream and the personal dreams of Chinese differ in the priority people assign to the various aspects of the dreams.

Similarity between China dreams and personal dreams?

  • “A good life for my family” is ranked the highest in both lists.
  • “Be healthy”, “pursuit of happiness”, “Financial security” and “Be successful at work” are also ranked high in both National and personal dream.

Difference between the China dreams and personal dreams?

  • However, while the national Chinese dream desires to focus on building a powerful country, most Chinese rank it as a lower priority.
  • Further, “Sustainable economic development”, “have same opportunities as everyone else” are dreams where high in the list of China dreams and low in that of the personal dream.

The impact of dreams on brand?

Brand China is the overall reputation of Chinese products and services. Chinese see a strong link between Brand China and the Chinese Dream. Around two-thirds of Chinese believe that building strong brands worldwide is essential for advancing the Chinese Dream, and the Chinese Dream helps Chinese brands succeed abroad. Similar, this is also true for foreign brands entering China. Brands that are successfully echoing with the China dream often performs better than those that do not.

The BrandZTM Pyramid represents a hierarchy of brand equity building blocks: presence (familiarity), relevance (meeting needs), performance (functionality), advantage (benefits over the competition), and bonding (emotional engagement).


Brands that match the attributes of the Chinese Dream exceed Chinese brands overall at every level. These brands also win in Voltage, which measures a brand’s growth potential; it’s ability to move customers up the Pyramid. Source: China dream 2014 Research.

Therefore as a market, one might also considering the impact of China dream when defining the company’s brand equity in the Chinese Market.



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