Building an Asian Brand

In many Western companies, branding has moved out of departmental straitjackets into the boardroom. Asian companies are now following suit.


Brand management has gone through substantial changes over recent years, as it has evolved into a more integrated and visible part of overall corporate strategy. The development of the concept of brand equity during the 1990s; the rise of advanced financial brand valuation methods and their adoption by advisors and their clients; and the emergence of better brand tracking tools, have all helped in the branding discipline’s elevation beyond middle management and into the boardroom.

Asian companies offer a different perspective and approach. The boardrooms of Asian companies generally lag behind these general trends and tend to manage brand marketing from the bottom up rather from top down. There are a couple of reasons for this. As marketing and brand decisions traditionally have been managed in the mid-level marketing departments of most Asian companies, a large emphasis has been placed on tactical marketing activities rather than strategic branding approaches led by corporate management. Branding has been widely perceived as being concerned with advertising and promotions.

This may now be changing. There are indications among a selection of Asian companies that branding as a strategic tool has become more recognised and accepted within their boardrooms. This is driven by the increasing attention on branding and its value-generating capability among stakeholders, media and opinion makers across Asia.

The best intentions may not bring results. To move up the value chain by maximising branding, Asian companies must follow a comprehensive brand strategy framework supported by a systematic process throughout the organisation. Successful implementation of these processes will help Asian boardrooms in achieving sustainable revenue and cash flow streams for the future.

The brand vision, objectives and multiple marketing activities must be closely aligned with the corporate strategy. They must blend together as they serve the same purpose: Driving profitability and shareholder value. Branding is the entire sum of all the parts and elements involved, so getting the strategic balance right between the brand, the corporate vision and the entire organisation is crucial. The boardroom must ensure that the brand delivers successfully and seamlessly on every customer touch point, so that it supports the overall strategic intentions.

There are ten crucial steps to follow to build a successful branding strategy and manage its implementation. The steps would enable Asian boards to focus their attention on the required areas, and serve as check-points which can be tailored to the individual company’s specific needs and requirements.

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