Rudolph Care in China: A Qualitative Study of Chinese Female Consumers’ Perception of Rudolph Care as an Organic Beauty Brand with New Nordic Values

Camilla Hjort West & Katrine Herstal

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

The aim of this thesis is to access and discuss how Rudolph Care can be established on the Chinese beauty market branded on New Nordic values. Rudolph Care is a Danish beauty brand with emphasis on values associated with the New Nordic trend, such as sustainability, an organic lifestyle and self-expression of the individual. According to the cultural theoretician Ronald Inglehart’s value systems, Denmark is a postmodern society, whereas China is a modern society in an early industrial phase, which indicates that there is a cultural difference in values within these two types of societies. Denmark is therefore placed at the top of Inglehart’s postmodernization theory, inspired by Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs with a focus on self-realization and China is placed at the bottom with focus on basic human needs. These differences in values imply that a transfer of the postmodern and New Nordic values from Rudolph Care to China does not seem to be realistic. However, as a consequence of being an early industrial society, China struggles with severe pollution and food safety incidents, which might make the Chinese people more receptive to postmodern values. According to Inglehart’s hypothesis, a population will develop environmental consciousness when their health and safety is threatened by pollution. Our findings suggest that Rudolph Care needs to adapt the communication and branding strategy to the Chinese beauty market and to the values of the Chinese female consumers in order to succeed. Rudolph Care should be positioned towards the modern segment consisting of females aged 20-40, living in urban areas in the mainland of China and belonging to the middle or upper class. This segment cares a lot about product safety as a consequence of being in an early phase of an industrial society. Therefore, we recommend that Rudolph Care should be branded as a beauty product with natural ingredients, as the modern segment associate this with health and less harmful chemicals. Moreover, Rudolph Care should not be branded on New Nordic values, as we have discovered that the Chinese female consumers do not associate organic lifestyle and sustainability with product safety and therefore the postmodern values are not likely to be easily transferred. Instead, Rudolph Care should be positioned towards materialistic values and be branded as a safe product with a focus on the brand story, the natural ingredients and the fact that the products do not contain harmful chemistry. It would further be advantageous for Rudolph Care to use an Asian celebrity to endorse their products as well as to use online key opinion leaders to promote the brand, as we have discovered that China is a collectivistic society and the consumers are under great influence by others’ opinions and therefore value recommendations from their in-group relations. Finally, we recommend that Rudolph Care should be branded as a European beauty brand, as Denmark and Scandinavia are rather unknown to the Chinese consumers. The thesis is based on theory within cultural understanding and branding, where the primary theoreticians within the cultural theory are Ronald Inglehart and Geert Hofstede, and David Aaker and Grant McCracken within the branding field. Inglehart’s theory has been applied to assess the cultural differences between Denmark and China and to discuss how female Chinese consumers may perceive Rudolph Care as a brand based on their value set. Further, Hofstede’s cultural dimensions are included as a supplement to Inglehart’s traditional value system together with theory on Confucianism and in-group/out-group particularism. Aaker and McCracken have been applied to define Rudolph Cares brand value and explain the concept of celebrity endorsement. A qualitative study provides insight and knowledge on how female Chinese consumers perceive Rudolph Care as an organic beauty brand. These interviews are conducted to provide Rudolph Care with essential knowledge of the cultural differences in order to know how to be positioned on the Chinese beauty market. To obtain this knowledge, the thesis covers the consumer behaviour present on the Chinese beauty market and the cultural perception of beauty products. Based on this, the thesis defines how the female Chinese consumers perceive Rudolph Care and how the traditional, modern and postmodern values affect the consumers’ perception of the brand. This results in a recommend communication and branding strategy clarifying how Rudolph Care should be branded successfully on the Chinese beauty market and how the intercultural differences can be managed.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2016
Number of pages129