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The increasing prominence of China on the world stage and Cognito’s own footprint in Hong Kong have given me a front row seat to witness how China is becoming a world brand. Every week

we see game-changing innovation, the rise

of powerful companies and new technologies

launching from this market.

From Cognito’s office in Hong Kong, we’re taking

our own steps as a global communications and

marketing firm to reflect this evolution and

ensure we stay up to date – keeping abreast of

the latest developments and remaining relevant

as China’s influence increases.

To this end we recently launched Cognito’s

Chinese name, which we’re in the process of

rolling out across various platforms. What

we’ve learned along the way was fascinating

from both a human and business perspective.

Establishing the Chinese identity of a company

with strong roots in the west is not as simple as

just finding a name you like and printing some

business cards.

A Chinese identity requires a truly Chinese name.

We looked for a name that matched a particular

confluence of criteria: one that made sense in

both Mandarin and Cantonese, wasn’t already

being used by another brand, and conveyed with

meaning the core of Cognito’s business while

retaining an echo of the existing name.

We chose 可通 – a name that combines two

characters that sound a little like “Cognito”.

There are a few ways to interpret the

meaning, but my preferred translation is

‘can communicate’. As is standard Chinese

practice, we’ve combined it with a further

two characters denoting our business sector.

This gives us our full name: 可通公关.


I’m still getting used to hearing ‘kě tōng

gōngguān’ and realizing we’re referring to

our Chinese brand. To be clear, this is the

Mandarin version written in Simplified Chinese.

We’ll of course also be using Cantonese and

Traditional Chinese versions depending on

what’s appropriate for the various markets

in Greater China.

We see this move as demonstrating how serious

we are about the region. Asia has always been

an important part of our global strategy. We

opened our first office in Singapore in 2010

and with our expansion into Hong Kong in 2017

established a second office in the region, giving

us easier access to North Asia.

We work with clients across the region

coordinating communications in more than

15 different markets for local and international

brands. In the past year alone members of the

team have been to Beijing, Tokyo, Shanghai,

Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Shenzhen and Taipei

for projects.

I expect this to accelerate in the coming year.

We’ll be operating inside the People’s Republic

more frequently, working with brands who want

to bring the best of China to the world, and the

best of the world to China.