Paper: CSR and Chinese Brands

Ron Frank Award

Joe Baladi Makes Dean’s List

The need to “talk” about brands in Asia

Despite the impressive Asian regional economic growth of the past two decades and the concurrent spectacular rise of China, Asian brands* continue to fare poorly in the minds and hearts of consumers around the world, and particularly amongst those of Asian consumers.
Annual surveys and polls continue to confirm that Asian consumers from Singapore to Seoul and from Bombay to Beijing – regardless of age or gender – prefer, seek out and often lust over Western brands.

Externally in the markets:
Despite the overwhelming ubiquity of Asian brands brought about by unrelenting launches of new products and services, Asian consumers are little impressed. They will buy Asian brands when they can’t afford “better” or because they are on-sale. And that includes Chinese brands.

Internally in management board rooms:
In an manner of speaking the blind are leading the reluctant. Hierarchical, command and control management structures, often dominated by autocratic management styles, are depriving employees of all levels not only information but the opportunity to contribute to the shaping of policy and direction. Apart from the obvious missed opportunity, the insidious result is the creation of a culture that self-censors: there exists a widespread hesitancy and even fear amongst all employee levels to express or volunteer an opinion until the direction of the prevailing winds become clear.

Real conversations are needed:
If Asia is going to produce genuine world-class brands, more dialogue – more talk – needs to take place. The one difference, however, is this: less nonsense, less self-indulgence, less denial and less of a lot of other things need to happen – at the company level and from some of the advisors they rely on, like advertising agencies. BrandTalkAsia is Brand Central and we invite you to the conversation and to the great future that awaits Asian brands.
*Excluding Japanese brands.