Just published: "Branding Asia"
Foreword to book "Branding Asia for the future"
The last century was characterized by the emergence of brands, the setup of efficient distribution and retail systems, as well as mass communication. Our wealth was built on the abilities of manufacturers and service providers to create relevant and superior products, distribute them quickly and communicate their benefits to a large audience. Today, same as 100 years ago, an established and recognized brand name is a significant part of an organization's total value. A brand means superior product quality, credibility, consistency, availability and reliability. Consumers increasingly demand ethical values as well as social and environmental sustainability to be taken into account, too. A brand offers then a fair value, when consumers believe product benefits and price match well.
Tectonic Shifts
The emergence of strong discounters in the 1980’s across national borders has shifted power away from manufacturers to retailers. In addition, demographic changes in the EU and U.S. population and slower growth in personal available income led to an environment in which price became an increasingly important sales argument. The strong growth of discounters can be traced back in part to the inability of manufacturers to deliver added value against their brand promises. Some did not adapt to the changed environment.
Brands Die
Beginning in the mid 1980's, we saw brands disappearing in greater numbers than before. Some manufacturers were purchased by stronger competitors, others were effectively becoming suppliers under retailers' brand names. The population in Western Europe had access to all essential goods. Products had reached a level of quality that was hard to top by new market players. Thus, it became more difficult to create products that were satisfying unmatched needs. Brands started to die or were "merged" into umbrella brands. The picture though is not as bleak as it appears: "brand death" is a part of life and a consequence of changes in society and economy. While some brands disappear, others emerge.
Brands are Born Every Day
Looking at disappearing FMCG brands tells half the truth, only. Brands are born every day, not just in the consumer goods sector, but also in services and technology. Many insurance products, technology services and internet brands are new. We also see ingredient branding coming up as a means of suppliers to demonstrate brand strength. Nevertheless, in the long-term, Europe and the U.S. will likely loose some of their "brand power" and give way to Asian brands.
Emerging Brands in Asia
Japan and South Korea already succeeded in developing some powerful global brands. As Asia certainly will continue to grow, we will see more brands appearing from China, India and South East Asia. Having travelled there myself and having significant business exposure to this part of the world, I admit it is a fascinating place. From a marketer's perspective, it is interesting to watch local brands emerging and making the first steps into the global market. At the same time, established global brands gain a foothold in this region. Asia is rich in brand development! I am sure we will see new consumer trends and more global brands emerging from Asia in the next decades (www.berndmmichael.de).
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