Danish Audio-Video Maker Targets Consumers Hungry For Brand Heritage, Style
A Bang & Olufsen store display. (Flemming Leitorp)
It may have reported a net loss of $15.7 million in the three months ending this past February, but that hasn’t kept high-end audio-video company Bang & Olufsen from setting its sights on expansion in Asia. “The prospects in this region are huge,” Lars Hardboe Galsgaard, the company’s managing director for Greater China and Korea, told the South China Morning Post in December. “We have noticed that there’s a greater demand for high-quality audio and video products among the Chinese,” and the firm has made limited editions of speakers specifically for the mainland market.
The new Beijing “Experience Center” is a significant part of Bang & Olufsen’s expansion strategy. A key focus of the center is its history wall that showcases iconic B&O products from the 1960s and ’70s, drawing them into a visually sophisticated narrative about the brand and its heritage. The center’s overall design is similarly sophisticated: Chinese-inspired materials and Danish design accented by the products on view, many with a cool, sculpture-meets-sci-fi look. The Experience Center’s location—just above the recently opened Bentley showroom in the International Wonderland complex in the tony Chaoyang district—contributes to the air of exclusivity.
As recent Jing Daily posts have noted, three factors appear to figure in successful marketing to upscale Chinese consumers: educating about the brand and its history, cultivating an appreciation of brand heritage, and offering special experiences that set individual consumers apart from their peers. With its Experience Center, Bang & Olufsen has taken these factors into account, setting the stage for an increased presence on the mainland—and most likely, more Experience Centers to come.