Because of Yanjing’s sponsorship of the Rockets, an American NBA team, it is not promoting Yanjing as a Chinese beer, but as an import beer for all Americans. They are a “Rockets” beer, identified with the whole American public, not just the Chinese or Asian American community. They get the American look for their import from the Rockets and a Chinese reflection from the indirect association with Yao Ming. A wonderful combination! This is a different position than Tsingtao, which is positioned in the U.S. market as a Chinese beer in Chinese restaurants. While Tsingtao sits in Chinese restaurants, Yanjing aims for the far larger market of American sports bars, clubs and restaurants. Over the past four months Yanjing sales are skyrocketing. What are the things Chinese companies that want to get into the U.S. market can learn from this story?
1. The brilliant marketing strategy of Harbrew and the Rockets was born in America, not China. Yanjing just wanted distribution. Harbrew and the Rockets captured the U.S. brand and distribution value of the Chinese product, because they did the marketing. Beijing Yanjing acted as a traditional manufacturer, producing product for an export distributor, in this case an American, not a Chinese trading company. Beijing Yanjing only got the manufacturing value. Chinese companies Chinese companies need global marketing departments to capture brand and distribution value. They have to think “outside in”, instead of “inside out”. 2. Think out of the box! Harbrew saw a vision through Yao Ming that the American Tsingtao distributor did not see. They were too frozen to their decades-long position as a Chinese beer in Chinese restaurants to see the mass market potential of a Chinese beer product through sports marketing. Yanjing could outpace in the next two years what it has taken Tsingtao in America almost two decades to build. 3. Think globally? The Rockets have a global vision of sports, no longer just a national vision. Are...
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