Interbrand study shows major growth for brands in Asia Pacific in 2017

Interbrand has completed its first ever analysis of brands in Japan, China, India and South Korea, while also analysing how brands are growing within Australia and the markets of Southeast Asia.

The comprehensive study points to the growth of each major Asian market, as determined by Interbrand data conducted over the last five years. Analysis and research highlights that the region has entered a period of accelerating change.

A common theme that has emerged from the study centers around changing consumer behavior, digitisation and how brands are responding, or are not responding, to these changes.

Stuart Green, chief executive officer, Interbrand Asia Pacific, revealed to The Drum that Japanese brands like Subaru and Mazda are the biggest growers because they consistently focus on authentic quality, engaging customers and bringing brand in its core of management.

He added that being open to new business models and being adaptable were also key for other companies who made the biggest jump up the list.

"In China for example, brands that are performing best are those that are embracing, activating new business models (such as ecommerce, mobile-centric engagement, convenience and sharing) and adapting their positioning to serve the needs of the rapidly growing middle-class consumer (health and fitness, leisure, cultural- and self-exploration, and premiumisation)," explained Green.

"They’re doing this extremely quickly, with an ‘always in beta-testing’ mentality."

When asked what can brands who perform their marketing at a regional level learn from the study, Green says it is key that brands offer products that appeal to local markets and must not be afraid to fail.

"Regionally directed brands can learn a lot from the leading brands in China. First, they must recognize the need for localization and adaptation of their offer to suit the local market – both in terms of business model and consumer preferences," he said.

"Second, they should recognise the overwhelming need for lightning fast responsiveness to changes to these market factors. Speed and responsiveness is everything in China.

"Last, they should empower the China team to try new models and offers – to stay in beta and not be afraid to fail just because they’re a large regional brand."

Another interesting tidbit the study threw up was that brands who have diverse offerings in Asia Pacific generally performed better than those who only have a single offering.

According to Green, brands in China are usually very keen to expand their offerings as compared to their counterparts in Japan.

"Generally speaking, in China, brands that develop a diverse offering of complimentary products and services – are outperforming those with more narrow portfolios," explained Green, who has worked for Interbrand for 22 years across different roles.

"These brands are effective at creating a branded value-adding ecosystem centered around the consumer (Alibaba, Tencent, Huawei, Lenovo, Haier, etc), and this translates into them being able to capture a significantly larger share of wallet.

"For Japanese brands, it’s a lot easier for brands with a focused offering (especially internally), to think about the branding when they go regional/global. The challenge and uniqueness for Japanese companies going global lays internally, especially around governance.

"Many tend to become paralysed to even think about the brand when they need to step into review the governance and the management structure, which is the topic that gets a lot of focus when brands with diverse offerings start to think about going global."

While Huawei, Lenovo, Toyota, Honda, Canon, Nissan, Sony, and Panasonic make up the minority of Asian brands included on the Best Global Brands list last year, Green says he expects to see more Asian brands on global lists in the near future.

"In the near future, I do expect to see more brands from Asia appear on the Best Global Brands list," he said.

"Players like Alibaba and Tencent, who continue to expand their footprint outside of China, are very likely to appear on the global tables in the not-too-distant future."

You can read the rest of the Best Asia Brands report here.

Shawn Lim

Shawn Lim is a reporter at The Drum, covering industry news around the Asia Pacific region with a focus on Singapore and Southeast Asia. Based in Singapore, he has worked across photography, video and online, covering a range of subjects including current affairs and sports.

Before Game of Thrones, he was a huge Breaking Bad fan. He does CrossFit and yoga to stay healthy.

All by Shawn