Brands, stop clumping Asia as a whole

Asia is made up of a mosaic of cultures and heritage. Differences in regions can either be on extremes or have subtle nuances. While most global brands are aware of the immense potential the region holds, do they really take into account this diversity when coming up with marketing plans for "Asia"?

Marketing sits down with to Jean-Baptiste Danet (pictured), CEO of branding agency Dragon Rouge on his view of the matter who says, unfortunately, most clients are still clumping Asia as an entire region rather than looking at individual cultures. He adds:

This has led to the averaging out of creativity in the region.

“But consumers don’t want average creativity,” he adds. Because Asian consumers are quickly becoming more and more aware, are fairly well-traveled and savvy, offering them average products will inevitably force them to look outside of Asia.

Danet goes as far as to say that global brands should take a page out of branding books of Asian clients. In fact, he added the region is no longer behind in terms of branding. Consumers and brands both know what they want and at what price.

The point then is how the global brands are now going to talk to the consumers in this region. In the past five years, definitely there’s a radical shift,” he said. Over this period, Asian brands which were seen as low cost brands have evolved their image to being “good value for money brands”.

“These Asian brands might not yet be luxury but they are still high end brands which are very different from when they started. I think we see more creativity from these brands going into the West, than we see in those come to Asia from the west," Danet said.

Kheireddine Sidhoum, global creative officer of Dragon Rouge adds that sometimes brands try to export international concepts to fit the local people, but often this approach fails. This concept will not resonate with local consumers simply because they don’t lead the same life.

The role of branding agencies

The changing media landscape has also put immense pressure on clients. This is largely because mistakes are now always in the open.

“With the change of media landscape, there is even more focus on branding agencies as the brand guardians. Because now every single mistake the brand is doing is visible somewhere, you cannot hide anything,” Sidhoum says.

He added that to win the heart of the consumers, brands and their branding partners need to think of ideas that can actually help solve problems. It is no longer just about aesthetics.

The main thing is to find good ideas. Lots of clients are trying to focus too much on aesthetic, but the only thing consumers care about is whether you are solving something for them today? Yes or no.