Worldwide Perspective

Semiotics: Do you think that an owl symbolises wisdom? We know that, in Asia, it doesn’t. Get cultural insights.

Insight: Owl in Hongkong

How we organized the successful market entry in Hongkong for a Swiss consulting firm.


A Swiss financial advisory firm wanted to enter the Chinese market. Part of the firm’s existing corporate design was an owl as a symbol of knowledge, wisdom and a 360° view of the world of finance. However, this is the European interpretation of an old symbol. The company wanted us to help them understand what meaning the owl had in China and whether the corporate design could be used there 1:1. With the support of our international network partners in Beijing, we were able to advise the firm that, in China, the owl is a terrifying animal whose appearance heralds disaster and destruction. Together we developed a compatible solution that enabled the firm to communicate in a culturally sensitive manner in another country without having to sacrifice its visual identity. The firm’s market entry in Hongkong was a success.