Restoration Hardware will henceforth be known as RH. The name is part of a larger rebranding that, in the words of CEO Carlos Alberini, “moves us beyond our Hardware store beginnings.” This is not an uncommon ploy: witness Kentucky Fried Chicken’s change to KFC to communicate they were about more than just chicken. In the case of Restoration Hardware though—sorry, RH—we at TippingGardner question how much consumers really associated the brand with “hardware store”, a place you go to get nails, screws, dropcloths, and what have you. In a quick survey of our office, younger staff members expressed surprise and disbelief at the idea that Restoration Hardware was ever considered a simple hardware store.
Everyone knows you have to tread carefully launching a brand in a foreign country—even my seventh grade Spanish teacher trotted out the old classic about the failure of the Chevy Nova in Latin America—but launching products in China introduces a whole new level of complexity. Not only do you have to avoid mistranslations, you have to do it in an entirely different alphabet!