Shanghai Tang’s failure mainly arose from an unclear image; such positioning of the brand as interweaving traditional Chinese culture did not accord with homeware items. The mission statement was to make the product suitable and necessary for absolutely everyone (Li, 2017). This leads to the perception that the company did not determine the audience (Li, 2017). Thus, there was no positioning strategy, and all sales were considered a complete coincidence.
Regarding re-establishing the identity of Shanghai-Tang, the company has undergone significant changes, but the concept of the brand does not change radically. It retained the main trends and motives, such as promoting Chinese aesthetics, culture and values (Schroeder, Borgerson and Wu, 2017). The repositioning has increased the brand’s uniqueness; social patterns and consumer attitudes contributed to the development of the authentic Chinese luxury brand (Li, 2017). Thus, successful repositioning allowed the company to reach a higher level of development, retain old and attract new customers.
The most critical factor that allowed Shanghai Tang to establish itself as a global luxury lifestyle brand is its cultural resource spreading locally and globally. For instance, the considerable benefit was gained after several co-branding ventures, such as creating notebooks with Moleskin, collaboration with contemporary Chinese artist Jacky Tsai (Schroeder, Borgerson and Wu, 2017). The history and traditions selected and connected with global fashion systems enabled the brand to compete in the luxury market worldwide.
There is no need for the rebranding of Shanghai Tang, considering the label ‘Made in China. Products marked “Made in China” are no longer associated with poor quality. The overall trend is that many Chinese companies succeed in the domestic market and achieve fame globally. Moreover, there is an increase in interest in Asian culture. As a result, the current positioning of Shanghai Tang may bring more benefits and competitive advantages due to its uniqueness, cultural heritage, and compliance with modern tendencies.
Li, S. (2017) ‘Research on Shanghai-style culture’s impact on the development of Chinese domestic luxury brands-from the perspective of “Shanghai Tang”‘. Journal of Business Administration Research, 6(1), pp. 14-19.
Schroeder, J., Borgerson, J. and Wu, Z. (2017) ‘A brand culture approach to Chinese cultural heritage brands. In Balmer, J.M.T. and Chen, W. (eds.) Advances in Chinese brand management. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 80-106.