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How Asian brands can crack the western market

This year there were 11 brands from the Asia Pacific that were on Interbrand’s top 100 Best Global Brands (BGB) ranking. Brands leading from Asia include Toyota, Samsung and Huawei. Lenovo also recently joined the list. Over the past five years, the total value of Asian brands has increased in value by 69% and the 11 Asian brands in the ranking this year have a total brand value of US$ 177, 843 million.

So you might ask what makes these brands stand out? Well it is the fact that they are all innovation-led brands that are leveraging technology.

For brands to crack the western market, it is critical to invest in research and take an outside-in view on how you build your brand experience. In order to reach global audiences, you need to identify macro needs and drivers that add value to people’s lives, increasingly in micro moments.

Today, we are also seeing a lot of growth coming from technology brands —understanding how to use technology to grow your business and brand is critically important. We expect to see more from the Chinese technology brands over the next few years.

Challenges of going global

But no doubt, for Asian brands looking to go west, there are usually high barriers to entry. To manage the cost, most Asian brands still need to work on extending their presence in their home market to establish trust and sustain investments overseas.

One of the challenges that any brand, not only those from Asia, has when expanding across geographies is that they need to be prepared to compete with already established local players with strong brand awareness and customer loyalty.

Another challenge that some Asian companies face when expanding globally is a change of mindset. Many have very traditional cultures, where the intangible aspects of branding and marketing are less understood and less appreciated. As they start to compete in new markets for both customers and talent, they may find themselves needing to adapt to a more open, service-orientated culture.

Common mistakes

Today there are still many companies in Asia Pacific that see marketing communications and branding as a cost rather than an investment. They fail to realise the strategic importance of branding. Strong brands can drive choice and create loyalty. They can also help to protect a business from risk and position it for future growth.

However, going forward, we expect more Asian brands to join this list in coming years as the influence globally of leading Asian brands continues to grow. In addition, new regulatory frameworks like the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the trans-pacific partnership (TPP) will result in more Asian brands expanding outside of their country of origin.

Contributors

Executive Director, Strategy