Rebuilding the Mengniu Brand: Does little happiness matter?
In September 2012, Mengniu launched its new packaging for the first time after 13 years. This change is regarded as the remedial measure to the increasing discussion for a series of food safety issues. To deal with the falling sales volume and damaged reputation caused by negative news, Mengniu’s brand rebuilding plan is urgent and necessary.
Apart from changing the packaging, Mengniu also refreshed their slogan to: Little happiness matters (只为点滴幸福). The new slogan is closer to the end consumers with communication campaigns focusing on capturing the happy moments in one’s lives. Mengniu’s new packaging and slogan are focused on enhancing its falling brand esteem. The emphasis on celebrating each small moment of happiness shows that it wishes to re-connect with consumers.
However, the road to happiness might be delayed with a few setbacks. Many people challenged the English version of this new slogan “little happiness matters”. The different grammatical use of “little” and “a little” lead some confusion. A majority of Chinese netizens believe that “Little happiness matters” has the opposite meaning of its original intention. Moreover, all 27 foreign people interviewed by Xinhua Net think this English slogan means “Happiness does not matter”.
For Mengniu, the semantic confusion is not the only challenge. Many Chinese netizens made ironic jokes that Mengniu unintentionally told the truth: “it does not care about ordinary people’s happiness”. They also expressed their doubts about Mengniu’s sincerity of attaching importance to people’s health. The unexpected strong reaction to this slogan indicates that Chinese consumers still lack confidence in Mengniu. Also, it shows that consumers are much more concerned about food safety than before.
Mengniu is not the only dairy brand which pays attention to consumers’ concerns when building its brand. Bright Dairy, one of Mengniu’s strongest competitors, conveys its good dairy quality by launching a new brand called“如实” (pinyin: Ru Shi). The name “如实” means “truthfully” with a packaging that has “Addictive Free” written in English. These elements reflect the yogurt’s brand attribute of being free of preservatives and staying real to the natural flavor. The clean white packaging fits with its brand image. “Rushi” is priced at a higher level and targets the middle and high-end market. Its target customers are women who care about the health of themselves and their family members’. In short, Bright Dairy is expressing its growing sense of high food quality and social responsibility in order to enhance its brand relevance and brand esteem.
For Chinese dairy brands, product safety issues are very important and require great attention. Mengniu is now dealing with the challenge caused by its product quality. Although Mengniu is making great efforts to rebuild its brand, the dispute about its new slogan in fact indicates that there is still a long way for Mengniu to regain customers’ trust.