The Malaysian Business Times has an article today where local branding expert Peter Pek says the nation is 10–15 years behind South Korea in the profession:
He said Malaysia has not been strong in branding and has not placed much importance in it until now. People are starting to realise that they need something else and that the product alone cannot survive.
“The Government knows that we have to move away from being an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) service type of country to become brand owners. I feel that they are aware of this and it is in line with our economic policy.
“We need to become owners of intellectual property like brands, and we need to build these brands,” Pek said.
When I travelled to Malaysia in 2002 to inform business owners of the same, I recall that many folks did not take kindly to it. Oddly, and if I may generalize, the Chinese were the sceptics, while the native Malays accepted the suggestions. The overriding criticism was that I did not give them a how-to on how to get rich. But there is no formula to branding: I could only give general guidelines, and that wasn’t good enough.
Under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, the Government announced an extra RM100 million to the RM100 million branding and promotion grant available to small and medium enterprises here.
Grouping branding and promotion together indicates that the government considers the two to be closer than they really are.
But branding is for the long term—a generation or more—a promotion often less so. To me, branding has more in common with the aims of the RM600 million in the country’s Strategic Investment Fund. (Nevertheless, I applaud Malaysia for at least identifying an issue and trying to do something about it.)
Branding is about deep, internally directed research, and a clear vision. It’s about interaction with consumers, and making use of every single channel available. We, as brand consultants, can only do so much: perhaps akin to a doctor, we can only help a patient that wants to get better. The organizational will has to be there, too.
Pek has a better idea than most, from what I can tell—he is certainly making the right noises. Hopefully, he will be more successful than I was in waking businesses up to the notion that there are no hard and fast rules to branding, and any useful solution must be unique to the organization.
Del.icio.us tags: branding Malaysia brands government national plan Posted by Jack Yan, 13:31
This post is very intriguing to me.
First that such a conversation is taking place in Malaysia.
Second the dynamics of such a conversation.
"We need to become owners..." uncovers the longing to express our creative vision.
Since I address the subject of branding through the lens of ownership the vocabulary was all the more encouraging to me.
Waking to the need and desire to mark the world with one's unique intellect, passion and creative vision is the beginning of branding.
Thanks Jack for this update from Malaysia - it is just the encouragement this boy in Iowa needed today.
You’re very welcome, Mike. I believe Malaysia is on the right path in having this dialogue.
Interesting post. One question it raises in my mind is whether the progress in brand thinking from the classic "factory mindset" to a more "customer aware" position will be slow and steady on the Asian mainland (taking maybe a generation or two), or if it might be dramatically accelerated by technology such as the web.
With Japan and Korea paving the way, I can't see the other countries being too far behind, at least in a lot of brand basics.
Brian, thank you—and as I read what I had written with these two Asia-related posts, I came to the same conclusion about the progress of brands in the east. Thank you, too, for linking them.
I believe the web will accelerate the progress, particularly as the software needed to create a web site is so cheap. I remember when starting out in business how I had to ﬁnd the best typesetters to get the company typefaces right, and spend to do so. Accessibility, rather than the medium, is likely to promote brand expertise on the premise that doing is a far better learning tool than being told what to do.
It's interesting for Malaysian to start presenting their product as Malaysian, instead of presenting the product as one of million brand. Perhaps it can have a sense of national identity in it. By the can you name few of Malaysian Brand?
# posted by Anonymous: 8/22/2006 08:11:00 AM
NWargny, I can’t think of too many, off the top of my head. Only Proton, Petronas, Malaysian Airlines and Royal Selangor. Given time, I am sure I can think of a few more.
Hi JackPost a Comment
Your article is an interesting read. I do hope that Malaysia will be a brandname itself. But I believe we need to focus on what we want to brand Malaysia.
I like the example of Japan & Korea. Japan gives the image of sophistication, modern & good quality. Korea at this point reflect a cool image & average-good standards.
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