Powering your Brands for Growth in South East Asia
Brands must work hard to align proposition and experience both
inside and outside the organization.

By Jane Ng, Millward Brown
(Client Solutions Director, Southeast Asia)

The recent release of the 2015 BrandZTM Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands by WPP and Millward Brown showed that brand value has risen substantially over the past 10 years despite economic and societal disruptions. The total brand value of the Top 100 now stands at $3.3 trillion, a 14% increase since 2014 and a 126% growth over the 10 years since the ranking was first launched. (Figure 1)

Figure 1
Figure 1: BrandZTM Global Top 100 Value 2006 - 2015

Since the inception of the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Brands in 2006, the BrandZ portfolio of strong brands has grown nearly double the rate of the S&P 500 (Figure 2).

Figure 2
Figure 2: BrandZ™ Strong Brands Portfolio vs. S&P 500 vs MSCI World Index (Apr 2006 - Apr 2015)

The past 10 years of brand valuation proves that investing in creating strong, valuable brands clearly delivers superior returns to shareholders, so what can we learn from strong brands in South East Asia? Across Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, the top 10 brands with the strongest brand equity1 are:

Winning brands chart

A deeper look into brands with strong equity reveals that there are five action points to creating a winning brand:
  1. Understand the ‘why’ as well as the ‘what’ to get to the heart of the consumer
    Intelligent consumer insight is the foundation of success for any brand, big or small. Companies that do well have the ability to translate big data to big insights. As big data gets even bigger, it is important to remember that connecting the dots always reveal the same picture: a human being with basic needs for survival, protection, relationships and meaning. Consumers do not want to be treated like a unit in a demographic category. It is about human beings and not algorithms. The combination of big data and analytics should lead to great insights. This in turn drives action resulting in greater impact via a more personalized interaction with the consumer.

    KFC Thailand
    Image Source: KFC Thailand
    A good example would be OCBC Bank. From what was originally a small unit, analytics within OCBC has elevated over time to become a group function within the company. Over the past five years, OCBC introduced a number of innovative and first-in-the-market products and services like FRANK ‘savings jars’ and the 360 Account targeted at rewarding customers for performing more online banking transactions. At the core of these products and services is extensive research put in to understand the needs of its consumers before rolling them out.

    Similarly, in Thailand, KFC’s wide network and localized offers helped the brand build a strong equity in the market. Not only are there signature items from around the world, menu choices that cater to local taste buds like rice-based meals are also made available. Adapting global offers to local preferences helped KFC achieved a more personalized brand interaction with the Thai consumers.

  2. Stand for a purpose. Be Meaningfully Different
    Every valuable brand needs a purpose - one that provides a brand with a meaning is likely to have an influence on a person’s brand choice. Brands can build a meaningful connection in different ways:

    Meaning chart

    The purpose could be functional like Pampers (Care for babies’ happy, healthy development), emotional like Dove (Beauty of regular women everywhere) or it could also be societal like Dulux (Add colors to peoples’ lives). At the most fundamental level, the purpose is to have a meaningful impact on the lives of consumers. When consumers need a clear reason to choose one product or service over another, being different becomes more important. So what would make a brand meaningfully different? Consumers often cite three reasons (1) being different, (2) being more appealing than others, and (3) having a higher opinion of it.

    POSB is a brand that has stayed meaningfully close to the hearts of Singaporeans for over 40 years. Many Singaporean adults grew up with the iconic POSB National School Savings Campaign and POSB was likely the first and only bank they knew as children. POSB’s brand idea, ‘Neighbours first, Bankers second’ is one that speaks of their heritage as the ‘people’s bank’ of Singapore and their priority to help families save for the future.

    To set themselves apart from their competitors, and because they understand the importance of this festive season to their customers, POSB introduced its first-ever pop up ATM during the Lunar New Year so that consumers can obtain new notes conveniently. POSB also launched the limited edition POSB Smiley Jubilee Gift Bag for all babies born in 2015, further deepening consumers’ opinions of the brand.

  3. Deliver a total brand experience
    Brand experience is one of the important ways brands can be different from the competition and delight customers. Brand purpose can be amplified effectively when we deliver a total brand experience that is seamless from the brand promise to product performance and customer service. This needs to be done through consistent touchpoints/communications and compelling in both the physical and online worlds.

    The experience a brand offers to consumers can be defined by the depth and breadth of the relationship. The depth is about the extent of personalization while the breadth is about the number of touchpoints & experiences a brand offers. Amazon does this very well as they make use of their consumer buying and surfing habits to provide personalized services. However, their touchpoints are limited to PCs/Laptops, Tablets and Mobile.

    Meaning chart

    Singapore Airlines is a good example of a strong brand which delivers a total brand experience seamlessly, making it truly a great way to fly for every passenger. They have led many firsts in the industry – introducing hot meals, free alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, hot towels with a patented scent, personal entertainment systems in all cabin classes and more. Singapore Airlines continuously strive to be the best in class globally through continuous efforts to bring experiential innovations to consumers.

    Image Source: SilverKris
    In 2014, Singapore Airlines signed on as the new title sponsor of the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix. The signature SIA experience is now extended from air to land as race-goers can buy F1 packages which include first-class air travel, over-night stays at a high-end trackside hotel and admissions to the exclusive Podium and Amber lounges.

    In 2015, Singapore Airlines revamped its mobile application. Besides providing basic flight status information, the new mobile application includes trip reminders, countdowns to a trip, and flight up-dates on the day, (i.e. letting users know when check-in counters are open etc.). In addition to the application, Singapore Airline has also upgraded many of their KrisFlyer lounges around the world. These enhanced services ensure that consumers get to experience the true SIA service even before the flight.

  4. A collaborative organizational structure
    Organizational silos impede speed and change. They make building a consistent brand experience more difficult. Abandon the traditional organizational silos in favor of an integrated approach. Create the right connections and interdependencies between organizational elements that help to deliver a seamless consumer experience. When Angela Ahrendts joined Burberry, she took charge of all marketing touchpoints which were each previously helmed by different business units. Today, Burberry is the best-in-class model, delivering a consistent brand experience whether it’s online, in-store or at fashion shows. This is currently an area of importance for many organizations in South East Asia and Millward Brown Vermeer is working closely with a number of clients to break down organizational silos.

  5. Brand Transparency
    A trusted brand is more likely to come to mind when the consumer is purchasing in the relevant category. But trust is fragile. With the rise of social media, brands’ actions today are transparent, so be sure to address problems openly when they happen.

    When asked why the actual burger looks dramatically different from the pictures on the menu, McDonald’s in Canada created a YouTube video to answer the concern It is the exact same product with the exact same ingredients, but the ingredients are being emphasized digitally in pictures so customers know what there are in the burgers. We can see the same transparency in Singapore when McDonald’s took to Social Media actively to address the shortage in their signature Curry Sauce and subsequently the recipe change.
The 5 action points to creating a winning brand may sound commonplace, but executing them can be tough. It is critical that the core idea around the brand and its proposition is as strong as it can be. While advertising can play a major role in expressing the brand proposition, even the best creative advertising will not help brands drive value for the business unless the core purpose is clear, distinct and articulated across all brand & organizational communications as well as the actual customer experience of the brand.

On August 19th the inaugural BrandZ Top 50 Indonesia Brands will launch. This is a ranking of the 50 most valuable brands in Indonesia. The ranking covers more than 240 brands from companies listed on the Indonesia stock exchange across 20 different categories. (https://youtu.be/u-T8v4hxUFo)

1 In South East Asia, we had substantial coverage across different industries in 2014 and this include Banking, Communication Providers, Automotive, Grocery stores, Female beauty skincare, Health beverages, Airlines, Luxury goods and Fast food.


About the BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands Ranking
Carried out by WPP's marketing and brand consultancy Millward Brown, the BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking is now in its tenth year. It is the only study to combine measures of brand equity based on interviews with over three million consumers globally about thousands of global ‘consumer facing’ and business-to-business brands with a rigorous analysis of the financial and business performance of each company (using data from Bloomberg and Kantar Retail) to separate the value that brand plays in driving business and shareholder value. Consumer perception of a brand is a key input in determining brand value because brands are a combination of business performance, product delivery, clarity of positioning, and leadership. The ranking takes into account regional variations since, even for truly global brands, measures of brand contribution might differ substantially across countries.

About Millward Brown
Millward Brown is a leading global research agency specializing in advertising effectiveness, strategic communication, media and brand equity research. Millward Brown helps clients grow great brands through comprehensive research-based qualitative and quantitative solutions. Specialist global practices include a leading Digital practice (focused on digital effectiveness and intelligence), Firefly Millward Brown (a global qualitative network), a Neuroscience Practice (using neuroscience to optimize the value of traditional research techniques), and Millward Brown Vermeer (a strategy consultancy helping companies maximize financial returns on brand and marketing investments). Millward Brown operates in more than 55 countries and is part of Kantar, WPP’s data investment management division. Learn more at www.millwardbrown.com.

About WPP
WPP is the world’s largest communications services group with billings of US$76 billion and revenues of US$19 billion. Through its operating companies, the Group provides a comprehensive range of advertising and marketing services including advertising & media investment management; data investment management; public relations & public affairs; branding & identity; healthcare communications; direct, digital, promotion & relationship marketing and specialist communications. The company employs over 188,000 people (including associates and investments) in over 3,000 offices across 111 countries. For more information, visit www.wpp.com.

WPP was named Holding Company of the Year at the 2014 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for the fourth year running. WPP was also named, for the fourth consecutive year, the World's Most Effective Holding Company in the 2015 Effie Effectiveness Index, which recognizes the effectiveness of marketing communications.

For further information please contact:

Miquet Humphryes
Director, Global Corporate Marketing, Millward Brown
Tel: +44 (0) 1926 826179
Email: miquet.humphryes@millwardbrown.com

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Marketing has a greater purpose, and marketers, a higher calling, than simply selling more widgets, according to John Quelch and Katherine Jocz. In Greater Good, the authors contend that marketing performs an essential societal function--and does so democratically. They maintain that people would benefit if the realms of politics and marketing were informed by one another's best principles and practices.
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Actionable Web Analytics: Using Data to Make Smart Business Decisions
Getting ROI from the web is everyone's job. Right now someone is clicking on your website, and knowing everything you can about those clicks and the people that make them is a business imperative. That's the first of a set of compelling business lessons distilled from the authors' decade of experience with the world's most powerful online brands.
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Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes
Bill Gates, Tony Blair and President Clinton are among those who have listened closely to Mark Penn's analysis. In Microtrends, you'll understand why so many influential leaders have sought Mark Penn's counsel. Mark Penn highlights everything from religion to politics, from leisure pursuits to relationships. Microtrends will take the reader deep into the worlds of polling, targeting, and psychographic analysis, reaching tantalizing conclusions through engaging analysis.
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Get Ahead by Going Abroad: A Woman's Guide to Fast-Track Career Success
A ground-breaking book that highlights a growing trend among successful, globe-trotting women. Working abroad can fast-track your career, broaden your professional capabilities, increase your pay and expand your personal horizons.
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Apples, Insights and Mad Inventors: An Entertaining Analysis of Modern Marketing
A collection of thought-provoking observations on marketing issues from client management and brand management to strategy and product development. Essential reading for any communications professional
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Space Race
What is communications planning? Where is it going? Who will own it? How will it change things? Planner Jim Taylor sets out to define the structure of tomorrow's agencies by interviewing the leading lights of the industry today
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Brands & Gaming
Added Value marketers on how brands and businesses can understand and harness computer gaming, the huge opportunities available and the unique rules of engagement required
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One Billion Customers
Ogilvy Public Relations advisor and former Wall Street Journal China bureau chief McGregor on the lessons from the front line of doing business in China. Includes case studies of successful, and unsuccessful, ventures
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Pick Me
Ogilvy & Mather Toronto co-creative chiefs on how to land a job in advertising and thrive once you're in. Fourteen industry luminaries share their insights.
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The Future of Men
Charts the evolution of the role of men and what it means for business and culture, arguing that the new definition of male will revolutionise how we define and reach the 'new' male market
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Sponsorship’s Holy Grail
Employs Six Sigma quality improvement programme to enable organisations to understand, conduct and monitor sponsorship activities in line with specific business goals
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The Advertised Mind
Draws on information about the working of the human brain to suggest why emotion is so important a factor in remembering an advertisement and pre-disposing consumers to buy brands
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BRAND sense
Employs Millward Brown research to explore the effects of leveraging all five of the senses - touch, taste, smell, sight and sound - when building brands
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The Business of Brands
Outlines how brands are a source of value for businesses in terms of shareholder value through revenue generation and as a management tool - and for consumers, as a source of trust or predictor of quality
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Being Direct
In his own words, how 'the pioneering father of direct marketing' did it. With a groundbreaking final chapter on marketing in the 'post-present' and a new chapter on the impact of the Internet
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More Bull More
A collection of 70 short essays covering the marketing gamut, from advertising and brands to the people they are aimed at
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The 360 Degree Brand in Asia
With case studies on IBM, American Express, Pond's Institute, Nestle, amongst others, the authors set out a framework by which companies can plan their marketing strategy and budgets as they globalise
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Truth, Lies & Advertising
Describes how successful account planners work in partnership with clients, consumers and agency creatives. Argues that well-thought-out account planning results in better, more effective marketing and advertising
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Ogilvy On Advertising
The timeless reference on what works to create great brands, effective campaigns that make the cash register ring, and a productive agency environment. David Ogilvy pulls no punches, and his advice is priceless.
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