Modern Chineseness

Obsessed with advocating and culturally interpreting the voice of Chinese and Western consumer audiences beyond cultural stereotypes

Helping brand and creative people working for Western and Chinese brands deliver cultural relevant and impactful work towards their Chinese and Western consumer audiences.


 How Modern Chineseness supports clients.




Cultural branding and marketing strategy and consultancy

Need help bringing your or your client’s branding and creative work to life in a way that is culturally relevant, impactful, distinctive and localised beyond cultural stereotypes? Marleen can work temporarily or structurally on  your cultural branding and marketing strategy questions in different ways: interim, project-based, in-house, always in close collaboration with your team.

In-house presentation | ‘Multiple Noise, conquer new cultural spaces

Get new ideas about how to create cultural relevance towards Chinese consumer audiences in comparison to Western consumer audiences that are not focused on magnifying differences or generalising commonalities that attempt to make multi-level cultural complexities understandable. Instead we get at the bottom to find out why brands are getting it wrong. From deconstructing cultural challenges to exploring how to conquer new cultural spaces. Let’s rethink and redefine popular ways of understanding Chinese and Western consumer audiences, ask critical questions and challenge existing brand and creative work so that we can explore together how you can brand, market and design across Chinese and Western consumers in today’s modern society beyond cultural stereotypes? 

Advocating the voice of Chinese and Western consumer audiences beyond cultural stereotypes is key in Chinese-Western cross-cultural branding and marketing practices –





– Forget about being consistent in sending the brand message the same way to both Chinese and Western consumers, rather focus on achieving the same positioning and the same brand meaning


Chinese-Western cross-cultural branding and marketing

Gaining cultural traction in general is not an easy task. Global Western brands towards Chinese consumers and global Chinese brands towards their Western consumer audiences encounter multi-level complexities. Chinese and Western consumers each have their own cultural context with their own values, ideologies, symbols, meanings, cultural tensions and contradictions, yet they are also both part of a global consumer culture. This requires carefully developed cultural branding and marketing strategy to build a strong cultural foundation based on tailored consumer and cultural insights and with critical knowledge of how to cultural interpret these.

In order for global Western brands to gain cultural traction with their Chinese consumers and global Chinese brands to do the same towards their Western consumer audiences, they need to operate within their consumer audience’s cultural context, without falling into cultural stereotypes and with a complete picture of who their consumer audience is and what drives them. 



The initiator of Modern Chineseness is Marleen Spijkman MSc LLM. She is an independent Chinese-Western cultural branding strategist, consumer culture insights lead and scientist-practioner based in Arnhem, The Netherlands. Already for more than 12 years she continuously follows what both Chinese and Western consumers do, how they express their identity, and how Western and Chinese brands try and succeed or fail to resonate with respectively Chinese and Western consumers. Her career started in Beijing. Since 2007 she frequently resides in China visiting Chinese peoples homes, observing daily activities or going shopping with them to get a better picture of unconscious behaviour, emerging trends, cultural meaning and production. In the mean time she also conducted various consumer research studies in Western countries. Since 2015 she started her PhD-research at the University of Twente (The Netherlands) and in close collaboration with the Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China), while working in practice. In her practice-driven PhD-research she explores how Western brands can tap into the modern cultural identity of Chinese consumers for the development of brand narratives. Since 2018 she added a new global cultural layer by understanding and comparing Chinese and Western consumers in a global consumer culture context.


Marleen has lived in China and Australia next to her home-country The Netherlands and gained work experience in (international) business development, marketing communication and education before turning to cultural branding and immersive consumer research. She holds two master degrees, one in Communication Science from the University of Twente and one in Law from the University of Amsterdam. 


Marleen is specialised in (cross-) cultural branding and marketing tailored to the Chinese-Western context. She employs hands-on experience running immersive insights projects and actionable training. With Modern Chineseness she works for global Western and Chinese brands and brand, trend and creative agencies, big and small to help them harness culture and generate a deep cultural traction with their Chinese and Western consumer audiences.



“The difference between winning over Chinese and Western consumers and setting them off can’t be stuffed away with good intentions anymore.





Advocating the value of knowing Chinese and Western consumer audiences


Advocating how perspectives and meanings are constructed and changing by Chinese and Western consumer audiences that global Western and Chinese brands aim to reach, to help brands design compelling, competitive and cultural relevant brand strategy and activation.


Build impact


Bringing the Chinese and Western consumer to life, creating and delivering mini-documentaries, pop-up photo studios, lectures and ideation workshops, to allow global Western and Chinese brands and agencies to take on board the culture of their target market, needs consumers didn’t know they have and emerging cultural shifts before they become mainstream. 

Beyond cultural stereotypes


Cultural stereotypes exist. It makes it easier for brands to connect to consumers.  

Proudly working with global Western and Chinese brands, brand, trend and creative agencies and educational institutes, big and small 

Clients and parners.



Rozenbrood Trendacademy

Shanghai Jiao Tong University | Media and branding

Yunan Agricultural University

Dragons Businessclub

Wij Zijn Gek | Art and  communication



Breque | Cultural trends and innovation

Fontys University of Applied Sciences | Academy of creative industries

Kola English language school

Afdeling Buitengewone Zaken | Social service design


Buro Zorro | Future proof strategy 


International Institute for Asian Studies

AVANS University of Applied Sciences | Communication

Festival Boulevard | Theater

Theater aan de Parade | Cultural Institute 



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Understanding contemporary and emerging Chinese and Western consumer culture, to create brand narratives, content, concepts, designs, products and services which dynamically and strategically communicates with the Chinese and Western consumer audience.