How often do we pause and ponder about industry issues that have a bearing beyond just our rigmaroles? Share insights that can further the common understanding? Or, at the very least, point at things that need to be set right.
View Point - an exchange4media platform, will fill this void and become a source of understanding, action and perhaps some inspiration.
"Asian companies need to move up the value chain through strategic branding."
Martin Roll, CEO, VentureRepublic
Global branding strategies in New Asia
Today, businesses and consumers are placing increasing importance on brands. Brands give us identity, stimulate our senses and enrich our life experiences. It is a human need to affiliate and surround ourselves with things we know, trust and aspire to be. Strong brands with unique appeals championed by passionate leaders are becoming the body and soul of the 21st century businesses. These strong drivers of business growth are creating a new type of companies with a competitive edge.
Comparison of the market capitalization of leading globalising firms with strong brands over a couple of years demonstrates that the market has put a premium on the growth opportunities of firms seeking to build individual or portfolios of international brands, in order to capitalize on growth opportunities.
Importance of developing global brand strategies for companies in new Asia
Asia is still one of the world's biggest providers of commodities. At the same time, Asian manufacturers mostly produce for other companies and the majority of these products are therefore non-branded. In other words, volume products without personalities, values and distinct faces. The largest part of the financial value is still captured by the manufacturers' customers primarily driven by strong marketing and branding programs. What is the evidence for this? There are only a few global brands originating from Asian companies (disregarding Japan and Korea as they are a different breed) compared to brands galore within almost all industries originating from Western companies. The time has come to change this somewhat historic and outdated trend. New Asia has finally emerged.
Asia has changed dramatically over the last two decades and now represents strong product quality, a very well-educated and competent workforce, powerful financial sources, endless R&D capabilities, a rare passion for technology & gadgets and a growing infrastructure in most countries. Furthermore, the increasingly changing trade structures, including the development of free trade agreements throughout the region, or at least a changing attitude to barriers, and the glooming Chinese powerhouse are important supplementary factors which positions Asia firmly in the international arena.
The drivers of globalization are a combination of many factors which have forced businesses to look outside their home markets for growth opportunities in new markets, and very often to gain economies-of-scale and to diversify their risk/reward balance. Therefore, creating and implementing global brand marketing strategies are inevitable for tomorrow's successful Asian companies in order to capture a larger part of the financial value and enhance the profit streams. Additionally, strong branding enhances the competitive position in the market place and helps fight competition. Asian companies need to move up the value chain through strategic branding.
Why leaders must take the lead and be the ultimate brand component of their corporations to succeed
It needs to be no less than the CEO who embodies the branding efforts and serves as the company's and thereby the brand's primary advocate and nurturer. The approach is particularly well suited to companies whose top executives have a passion and talent for brand strategy, but in tomorrow's tough environment all top-executives must be able to represent and lead the brand. Companies like - Sony, Virgin, Starbucks, Microsoft, Nokia, Giorgio Armani, Singapore Airlines and Nestle all meet that description.
Tomorrow's CEO must be a brand champion who approves corporate and product branding strategies, all brand-stretching decisions and monitors the presentation of the brand worldwide. A strong CEO has credibility and respect not only because of business talent and organizational power but also because of a depth of experience, knowledge, and insight. A suggestion from a visionary CEO with branding talent and experience gets careful consideration.
Asia can play an important part of the global branding battle
In the next five years, we will see a rapid changing landscape in Asia where the opportunities for Asian companies to benefit from international corporate and product branding efforts will be larger than ever before.
Businesses with a sustainable business model and with a visionary and passionate CEO with branding talent will benefit from the rising opportunities for taking on the global scene. New entrants in the brand game can learn from others and become stronger. But having the branding know-how and marketing technology is no longer adequate. The modern Asian company leader needs to be a complete player who covers all grounds and have the vision to follow through and improve. Being a marketing wizard is no longer enough. One also has to be an excellent business leader and brand marketer with a truly international edge.
Traditionally, new senior executives among the Asian companies are recruited from within the ranks of the organisations and they tend to come primarily from technology and/or financial related career backgrounds and departments. Much fewer are the talents coming along with in-depth and high-level marketing and branding backgrounds. Therefore, many companies tend to lack experienced top-leaders who have spend their entire executive careers in marketing and branding hence bringing with them the important capabilities and international experience in the branding field.
Therefore, reconsider the management teams in New Asia and take on more highly skilled people with outstanding capabilities and global experience in branding strategy and execution, and also talent with preferences for rapid change, new knowledge and best practices. All these factors are no longer a luxury but a necessity to win a lucrative position in the global branding battle. New Asia has all opportunities at hand.