Riding the Wave: Asian Brands Go Global

Asia's brand challenges and what brands to look out for.

Martin Roll talks about the next wave of global Asian brands. (Asia Society)

Asia’s growing prominence on the global stage is giving rise to a new generation of distinctly Asian brands with global appeal, according to Martin Roll a world-renowned thought leader on value creation through branding. Roll, who shared his thoughts on this next wave of Asian brands and how they can become contenders on an international scale, spoke at an ASNC event organized in collaboration with Weber Shandwick. The event was moderated by Weber Shandwick’s Brad Williams.

Roll noted that smaller, more regionally focused Asian businesses are beginning to realize the strategic importance behind branding. Not only can it enhance shareholder value and help businesses deliver competitive returns, but it can also serve as a catalyst for better, more effective leadership, and provide a shared vision for all levels of any business’s operations. "Branding must start in the boardroom,” he argued, and brand-driven companies must possess innovation, leadership, and culture to create a compelling, valuable brand. He went on to note that once companies create their individual brands, it is vital that these companies avoid complacency and ensure that their product matches its promise.

Additionally, Roll emphasized the need to take risks when it comes to branding. Specifically, Asian businesses must have the courage to be different on a global level, and stay loyal to their Asian roots. He cited the example of South Korean cosmetics brand Amore Pacific, a brand that is growing in popularity and which can increasingly be found at high-end retailers in the U.S. Instead of opting for a Western-oriented narrative in its branding, Amore Pacific has embraced its Asian identity by touting its use of traditional Asian botanicals—green tea, bamboo sap, and red ginseng to name a few—in its skincare and beauty lines, and by casting South Korean models to advertise the brand. Roll also identified Japan-based Uniqlo, Thailand-based Jim Thompson, and China-based Huawei as other uniquely Asian brands that are making a successful bid to become globally-known household brand names.

He also noted changing attitudes and perceptions in the West towards Asian cultures, and therefore, Asian brands. Previously, Roll contended, Asia was viewed as a homogenous bloc with a population that preferred Western products. Today, thanks to globalization, Asia is seen as a modern, diverse continent full of innovation and with much to offer the rest of the world. In essence, the stage is set for a new wave of Asian brands, but only if Asian companies are able to rise to the occasion.

More Information & Further Reading

Read our short interview with Martin Roll in this blog post

Follow Martin Roll on Twitter: @MartinRoll