Translating meaning cross-culturally

14 Mar 2008|Added Value

Last week, I attended the opening of the U.S. flagship location of LIULI, the renowned Chinese glass company with over 60 retail locations in Asia. We were fortunate to have had the opportunity to help them translate their unique experience for their entry into the U.S. market. LIULI is founded on the concept of meaningful experience – such universal meanings as Love, Enlightenment, Harmony, Wisdom and Truth. So our expertise in helping companies deliver meaningful experiences, as well as our cultural expertise made this the perfect engagement…

Some of the most exciting work that we do is helping our clients better understand the higher-order values of their consumers as it relates to their offering. We have uncovered meaningful experiences for fashion-obsessed urbanites with high-end jeans, kids and parents in decorating the child’s room, Baby Boomers in chocolate, to name a few. These values, or meanings, go beyond economic, functional and emotional benefits. They are the most deeply valued meaningful experiences that we as consumers can derive from a brand’s products or services.

For LIULI, we approached the problem holistically, seeking first to understand their new target consumer in the U.S., then explored all aspects of the integrated brand experience from naming to service to product assortment. Unique to this challenge was the need to translate the company’s core meanings cross-culturally in order to bring their brand to life authentically, without compromising their ideals, while being relevant in the U.S. market. Through an iterative process we designed, we first began at the heart and soul of the brand to build an internal perspective, and triangulated external perspectives to develop initial brand hypotheses, delivering actionable strategies for implementation.

The result? A U.S. flagship location in San Francisco that appropriately aligns with their brand positioning – at the intersection between art and commerce, spiritual and material worlds, and culturally-specific and universal meanings.

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