Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2010 forum took place last week in Yokohama and I just cannot help but be critical of the event’s brand touchpoints. Aside from the World Economic Forum in Davos, APEC is becoming one of the world’s largest economic events. Every November, member nations from the Asia-Pacific Rim converge in a different city, to discuss the future of the Asia-Pacific region. But if Asia-Pacific is serious about leading the world in economics, trade and technology, then like all brands within Asia-Pacific, it must take branding seriously.
A quick comparison of APEC and WEF’s digital touchpoints demonstrate APEC’s deficiencies when it comes to branding. Both organizations have a Facebook page. However, WEF’s Facebook page is brilliant: Clear and logical with quick links to the official Facebook Fan Page, the WEF blog and the WEF website. I am not surprised that it has over 13,000 Facebook fans. (Not bad for an economic NGO.) The page also has a YouTube tab that is packed with up-to-the-minute interviews with world leaders and reports from regional forums. The LiveStream tab is presented as an interactive TV station with links to share on Twitter, Facebook and Buzz, plus a chat and social stream feature. Whoever thought economics, trade and international security could be so much fun?
In contrast, APEC’s Facebook presence is poor. It is comprised of three amateur photographs, a discussion tab with no comments since 2008, and an info tab containing clumsy information. Overall, the experience is disappointing. If APEC accounts for 40 percent of the world’s population and nearly half of world GDP then it must get serious and focus on communicating a strong message with intelligent brand touchpoints. Judge for yourselves: WEF vs. APEC.