Rethinking executive furniture design with Chinese characteristics

Design Strategy | Product Development | User Centered Design

To develop an effective market entry strategy firms must really understand local customers.

BACKGROUND & BUSINESS PROBLEM

As companies enter new markets they have to decide which product development strategy to follow.

They can bring over products as they are developed, globally or domestically, or localize the offering to better suit local customers' needs, provided they know those customers well enough.

 

We were approached by an overseas firm recognized in its home market as a leading supplier of high-end furniture for business executives. Struggling for the same market dominance in China, they needed insight to determine how to engage Chinese executives in order to reach their sales expectations. Aiming to create a design strategy to guide future product development, CBi China Bridge dove deep into the lifestyles, needs and aesthetic expectations of Chinese executives to come up with design principles and guidelines that would emotionally connect. 

RESULTS & IMPACT

Discovering that the Chinese executives' view of furniture was vastly different from that of their counterparts in the client’s home country as well as every other market there were in, we produced specific guidelines matching the beliefs and values held by executives and other decision makers.

By analyzing the many fine-grained intricacies arising from preference variations due to location, industry and demographics, we came up with a strategic solution for our client that instantly allowed the it to approach the market with confidence. 

Delivering the right design direction, suited to our client’s key customer segment, allowed them to plan their product development for the next three to five years. Our client's design team was given a blueprint of how to gain brand recognition in both the near- and long-term through user-centered “China Fit” design. 

Guided and inspired by our recommendations, the client was able to develop new and localized products that already have received a great deal of positive feedback from potential buyers at a recent office-furniture expo in China. 

If you find yourself with a similar challenge, contact Francisco, our BD lead, to see how we can help bridge your next. 

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