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About this book

This second edition of the bestselling Asian Brand Strategy takes a look at how Asian brands continue to gain share-of-voice and share-of-market. Featuring a user-friendly strategic model, new research, and case studies, this book provides a framework for understanding Asian branding strategies and Asian brands.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Introduction

The face of business in Asia is changing faster than one can blink one’s eyes. Asian companies that used to be back-end workhorses, manufacturing consumer goods cheaply for Western companies, are slowly realizing the benefits of branding. In China, a smartphone manufacturer established in 2011 was able to overtake Apple to become the nation’s dominant mobile phone maker.1 By nearly replicating Apple’s processing power and design while improving distribution and manufacturing, some say the mobile industry’s future will no longer be decided in Silicon Valley, but in the Beijing headquarters of Xiaomi. Even Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has admitted Xiaomi is “good enough to break the American market.”2 However, Chinese mobile brands like Xiaomi will face bumpy roads ahead when they expand globally due to patent disputes, user concerns over cyber spying, poor brand recognition, strong branded competition, and other challenges.3
Martin Roll

Chapter 2. Branding — The Driver of a Successful Business Strategy

Today, businesses and consumers are placing increasing importance on brands. Brands give a sense of identity, stimulate the senses, and enrich life experiences. People have a need to affiliate and surround themselves with things they know well, trust, and aspire to be. From a customer viewpoint, a brand is a signal of quality and creates a bond of trust with the manufacturers behind it.
Martin Roll

Chapter 3. Transforming How We Understand Asian Cultures and Consumers

This chapter looks at connections between countries and people across Asia, as a way to understand the region and how it is building a new form of modernity. As explained in Chapter 2, Asian brands will increasingly have to move beyond functional benefits to appeal to Asian consumers. The first step is to understand Asian consumer culture. It is important for companies to realize that Asia is (see Table 3.1):
  • A mosaic of cultures rather than a homogeneous region
  • An urban form of modernity rather than an exotic continent
  • A region of countries connected by history cultural heritage, religious affiliations, migration, and the pattern of rural vs. urban divide
  • A region where Asian music and images are gaining prominence every day, rather than being invaded by Western popular culture.
Martin Roll

Chapter 4. Asian Country Branding

The past few decades have seen many Asian countries embrace market capitalism and open their economies to foreign participation and influence. With a considerable increase in the number of global companies setting up shops in Asia and exotic locales, unique cultures, and sunkissed beaches, tourism has become a booming industry in Asia. The active promotion of highquality, affordable healthcare and a renewed focus on developing a worldclass education system have developed health and edutourism.
Martin Roll

Chapter 5. Celebrity Branding in Asia

For a long time, companies have used well-known public figures, movie stars and sports personalities to endorse their brands, as it is widely believed that these celebrities help to build or reposition brands by extending personality, character, and popularity to the brands they endorse. This chapter looks into this brandbuilding tool that is fast gaining currency with leading Asian corporations.
Martin Roll

Chapter 6. Asian Brand Strategy

Brand building takes time. The successful path can take many avenues depending on product, service, category, market, company heritage and many other factors. At one end of the brandbuilding spectrum lies the physical product or service with its tangible descriptors, and at the other end lie the intangible descriptors, with associations and perceptions linked to the brand’s values and personalities. Where should the boardroom start the process, and what is the right direction?
Martin Roll

Chapter 7. Successful Asian Brand Cases

Brands will become a prominent business driver and a strong source of sustainable competitive advantage and financial value in Asia during the next two decades for the reasons discussed so far. The region is going through an era of renewed growth, development, and prosperity. This has resulted in a new and profound confidence throughout Asia, and resulted in the emergence of millions of middleclass consumers. This rising disposable income will not only buy them basic products but will also enable them to buy brands. This potential consumer power can serve as a strong platform for building and managing brands in the region.
Martin Roll

Chapter 8. Aspiring Asian Brand Cases

The successful case stories of Singapore Airlines, Aman resorts, Shiseido, and Samsung have indeed laid the blueprint for branding success in Asia. As is evident from the brand stories in the previous chapter, the main reason for their success has been the continuous support from corporate management, including the chairman and CEO.
Martin Roll

Chapter 9. Ten Steps to Building an Asian Brand

The practice of brand management has gone through substantial changes over the past few decades, and has evolved into a more integrated and visible part of overall corporate strategy. The evolution of the brand equity concept during the 1990s, the development of advanced financial brand valuation methods and their adoption by advisors and their clients, and the emergence of better brand tracking tools have all facilitated the elevation of the branding discipline beyond middle management and into the boardroom.
Martin Roll

Chapter 10. Asian Brands Toward 2020 — A New Confidence in the Boardroom

The Asian business landscape will change rapidly in the coming years, and the opportunities for Asian companies to benefit from international branding will be larger than before. The growing emphasis on international branding will move up the boardroom agenda and branding will become one of the most prominent value drivers in AsiaPacific in the next two decades.
Martin Roll

Chapter 11. Conclusion

It is clear that this is going to be Asia’s century. The opening of China, the rise of India, and the resurgence of the Asian tigers makes Asia the most vibrant global business playground with a slow but steady shift in the Asian business mindset. Gone are the days when low cost and manufacturing prowess alone served as competitive advantages for Asian companies. Asian corporations are realizing the importance of moving up the value chain through creating strong brands. Besides serving as the main competitive advantage, branding also enhances shareholder value in the medium and long term. As has been argued throughout this book, this is easier said than done, given the dominant Asian business mindset of trading and sales.
Martin Roll


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