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Lack of Strong Consumer Brands Jeopardizes the Asian Century


The development and growth of much of Asia over the past two decades has been nothing short of spectacular. Yet, there remains a huge void of great brands (Japan aside) emerging from this region – Surveys repeatedly confirm that Asian consumers overwhelmingly prefer great Western brands to home-grown ones: given the choice, they will drink Coke, wear Nike shoes, and drive a BMW every time. This begets the question: How effective will be the current transition of the world order from West to East in the absence of great Asian brands? And will that momentous transition remain purely economic, or will it also be cultural?

Author Joe Baladi explores these pressing issues in a new book entitled, “The Brutal Truth About Asian Branding: and How to Break the Vicious Cycle” (ISBN: 978-0-470-82647-8; John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte Ltd) – a long-awaited, no-holds-barred account of a present reality that is inconsistent with the journey Asian brands will need to make if they are to deliver to their potential. Examining five key reasons for the lack of development of Asian brands, he exposes the practices, circumstances, policies, and management attitudes that effectively conspire to hold back Asian brands from becoming great brands:

1. Myopic CEO leadership
2. Corporate culture that is by default, rather than by design
3. Charlatan brand practitioners
4. Government agencies that mean well, but should perform better
5. Advertising agencies with little to no branding competencies.

The book then addresses how Asian brand owners can implement change management practices in order to create brand-centric companies, providing a clear and prescriptive roadmap for Asian decision makers who are intent on transforming their brands from just ‘good’ to ‘great’.

“The single, most profound thing American businessmen figured out a long time ago was that brands fundamentally define people,” said the author. “Unless Asian businesses are able to develop genuine relationships between their brands and consumers – in Asia, as well as around the world – they will fail to move up the value chain.”

Something visible and disruptive needs to happen if Asian brands are to live up to their potential during this period of unprecedented change and opportunity – and the brutal truth Joe Baladi lays bare in his book should serve as a blaring wake-up call to Asian CEOs.


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