SINGAPORE: There are great brands, global brands emerging from Asia. But can they rule the world in a highly competitive market place? Paul Temporal, Group Managing Director, Temporal Brand Consulting, Singapore, thinks they can in certain categories like automobiles, but will find it difficult in the luxury products segment.
Temporal, who has authored a book, ‘Asia’s Star Brands’, listed many strategies by which Asian brands can go truly global – strategic assets (OSIM, Singapore), first-mover advantage (Air Asia, Red Bull, Samsung), brand renewal (Nissan), brand identity change (LG, BenQ), challenger/niche branding (Haier of China), multi-pronged positioning (Tiger beer, Thailand), service quality (Wipro) and acquisition (Lenovo).
Temporal pointed out that while all these Asian brands had the potential to rule the world, it would require “key competencies, great skills to achieve emotional connection with consumers, and finally, superlative brand management talent”.
“But it is possible because brands like Samsung, Air Asia, Nissan, LG, Toyota and many others have shown that they can take on the established brands from the US and Europe,” he added.
Temporal provided an interesting perspective as to why Asian brands can take on the Western brands. “Western brands are slow and cumbersome, not agile like Asian brands. This aura of invincibility and complacency may be their undoing. They are also tempted by brand extensions, like Coca-Cola, which launched Vanilla Coke but is now planning to withdraw it,” he pointed out.
Jonathan Sands, Chairman of Elmwood Design, UK, felt that consumers did not care where a product was made as they “go by emotional connect”. He added, “Those behind a brand must themselves breathe the brand to be able to drive it. As they say, an authentic attitude leads to ‘altitude’.”
Temporal pointed out, “Brands need people who can drive the passion behind it. Any brand communication needs an emotional appeal to hang on. The best example is Air Asia of Malaysia. Every employee of Air Asia literally lives and breathes the passion behind the low-cost carrier’s brand appeal and experience.”
The delegates got a glimpse of that the previous day when Tony Fernandes, Air Asia’s Group CEO, was on the dais. Known as Asia’s Richard Branson, Fernandes was at his best – he breathed all the passion he could muster to give an ‘experience’ of his “fun” airline to the audience.