Singaporean bank DBS has once again made its way to the list of Brand Finance's annual top 500 world's most valuable brands. Six other ASEAN brands were also included in the list - PETRONAS, Telkom Indonesia, OCBC Bank, Thai state-owned oil and gas company PTT, UOB and Vietnamese telco Viettel. According to Brand Finance, these seven companies are the only ASEAN brands among the 500 brands. However, China brands such as Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Ping An, Huawei and Tencent, were listed in the top 30 rankings.
In a statement to Marketing, Samir Dixit, managing director, Asia Pacific said ASEAN brands lack global growth ambition and the focus on brand at the senior management and board level. He added that ASEAN corporations are more business-focused, as opposed to Chinese brands which are moving towards brand-focused approach.
"Chinese corporates want to dominate the world, while ASEAN corporates want to dominate their country and the region at best. Why is there only one Singapore Airlines-like brand from Singapore? Even DBS is not a dominant regional player in Asia. This is despite Singapore being a 'country brand' enjoying the reputation of the world's strongest country brand for several years," he explained.
Tips on strengthening brand value and recognition on a global scale
While it is commendable that ASEAN brands are recognised on a global level, there are more to be done in terms of getting more local and regional brands on the list. According to Dixit, brand commitment across the organisation is key. He said that companies ultimately have to commit to brand building, and not leave it to the management to take it up alone.
Place measures and manage the brand internally first, and the CEOs will be surprised with the gap on how poorly the employees understand the brand.
"How will they ever do anything that can contribute to the brand building externally when they don’t understand it themselves?" he said, adding that Brand Finance's internal brand measurement model showed that over 70 to 80% of staff know very little about the brand or how to contribute to the brand growth.
Brands will have to start measuring its brand strength at a global level, and make brand strength and brand value a management KPI. Dixit said that companies have to integrate the brand strength and brand value as an ROI across all activities.
“For the world’s fifth largest economy, it is disheartening to see that there are only seven AESAN brands on the global rankings and only three Singaporean brands (all banks) make it to the global rankings. Given the brand focus agenda by China and other parts of Asia, ASEAN will lose out further in the coming years with UOB and OCBC, both ranked below 400, run the risk of not making the cut in 2021 unless they improve their brand strength and brand value,” he added.
The Brand Finance report is conducted across 10 sectors in 29 markets, with a sample size of over 50,000 adults aged above 18. The surveys were also held online during September to December 2019. In addition, the brand strength is calculated on the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures, relative to its competitors.
Meanwhile, here's 30 of the top 500 most valuable global brands by Brand Finance: