Branding in Asia: A Talk with Equus Singapore

It is a common rule of branding 101, that branding drives the company’s value and equity. Having a strong brand creates a competitive edge that can help businesses stand out among competitors. With a strong image that sets them apart, their customers are more likely to recommend that particular brand to their friends and relatives, which in turn can bring more revenue for the business. However, according to the lead consultant of Equus Singapore, Andrew Thomas, there is a lack of intensive branding research and little investment made by most of Asian businesses, compared to western companies - with increasing businesses and innovations in Asia, it leads us to reflect more and take a lead in addressing the question: If branding holds that much importance, why aren’t more Asian businesses ready to invest in it?

Asia VS West: Industry Trends

Here’s the fact: the majority of today’s global brands do not originate from Asia. Why is that? Global brands such as Coca Cola, Apple, Google all have gone multiple experimentations with their branding strategies, including of what seems to be a minor thing: various design changes in their corporate logos. These companies are constantly investing enormous capital in research, resources, and employing high skilled experts in order to build a winning brand. As a result, they managed to deliver a consistent brand value and message over the years, while still embracing change and innovation, and gained people’s loyalty across the globe. 

However, there are a lot of factors that lead to lack of ‘readiness’ in businesses to pursue a specific, sustainable branding strategy, particularly in Asia. First of all, the majority of Asian businesses only focus on short term goals; bringing in more revenue as quickly as possible without much thoughts put into a strategy to build a sustainable business. In other words, quick sales come first. This can be seen with majority of Asian businesses that are in the category of commodity providers, or goods that can not be easily differentiated and do not need ‘personality’ or branding. 

Despite these factors, we can argue that Asia is still home to several successful global brands such as Tencent, Samsung, Toyota. The Asian market industry is rapidly changing, with free trade agreements and more ease in doing business transactions across Asian nations; along with the fact that more people are realizing the importance of leveraging advanced technology to bring more convenient in everyday lives. New ideas and innovations have surfaced and youths all over Asia are pursuing their entrepreneurship ideas with more confidence, facilitated by government support and increasing number of startup communities. Asian businesses should embrace long terms goals, change and innovation, in order to take the next step to brand themselves for the global customers.

A Winning Brand: Insights with Equus Singapore

In order to build the right image, we have to manage the experiences shared by our customers through our brand. If they have good experiences and like the service/product that we have to offer, they will surely come back for more. They want to be associated with valuable brands that fit most to their values and lifestyle. Therefore, we need to be consistent in the kind of values that we want to provide. it is also important to remember that it is impossible to target every type of customer. If we try to impress everyone with what we have to offer, we will end up being nothing. There’s the right type of customers for our business, and we need to brand ourselves in such a way that makes them want to try out our products and be proud to be associated with our brand. 

When asked about Indonesia’s favorite brands, Andrew and his partner, Colin Anderson, strategy director of Equus, mentioned, “Gojek,” As it is one example of successful Indonesian brand with services in diverse fields, that manages to resonate well to a lot of Indonesians. With this, Indonesia seems to be heading in the right direction to build more winning brands.

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