Why Asia’s 3 Most Beloved Brands Continue To Rule the Region

Why Asia’s 3 Most Beloved Brands Continue To Rule the Region - Martin Roll

American entrepreneur and marketer Seth Godin defines a brand as “a set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships.” These expectations, memories, stories and relationships drive consumers to choose particular products or services, so it is not surprising why brand perception is hugely important.

Samsung is a brand that relentlessly focuses on building its brand perception in the market by consistently demonstrating its know-how. For the fifth consecutive year, the global electronics company has placed first in the 2016 edition of Campaign Asia’s annual consumer study of the top 1,000 brands in Asia. This study revealed how successful Samsung’s ad spend and consumer brand recognition has been during the year.

Yet brands like Samsung, Nike and Apple are only a small number of Asian brands that have successfully and consistently established themselves as front-of-mind for Asian consumers. What are the branding secrets of these industry giants?

Technology First

Brand strategist and author Martin Roll believes Asian consumers differ from those in the West by their stronger desire to stay on top of technology trends. Asian consumers love to be innovators, be the first to use new gadgets, and individualise – and technology is a perfect way for them to showcase this quality.

Six of the top 10 brands in this year’s Campaign Asia study were consumer electronics companies, which reflects how tech-savvy Asian consumers are. Martin Roll notes that Samsung has nailed market demand by promoting its cutting-edge product features, an angle that Apple typically places second to benefits and outcomes. He also said Asian consumers use products and brands to reflect their middle class status, which is a growing, regional demographic.

Keep It Real Through Brand Authenticity

Brand authenticity refers to having a proven track record for delivering a consistent product and message. Martin Roll says that consumers in Asia find brand authenticity an extremely attractive quality. He pointed to Nike, which first targeted the Chinese market by sponsoring the new pro basketball league in 1995 and funding local school sports, as a good example.

Nike started early by persistently serving the grassroots in rural parts of China, giving out freebies and conducting small tournaments. This is an important reason why people remember the brand for what it has done.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, counterfeit clothing and cheap products were rife in Asia, causing consumers to aggressively demand better. This was a perfect time of entry for the Nike brand, which has always been all about quality. With the great American aspirational slogan ‘Just do it,’ Nike told consumers they could be Yao Ming [a national basketball megastar] if they wanted to be.

Nike’s consistent promotion and delivery of quality products, grassroots marketing, and empowering message made it an emblem for “Western dreams,” which was very attractive to Asian consumers. Despite the rise of Asian pop culture, people still want to be part of the global village. Consumers still believe in Western ideals of freedom and competition and express these through their product choices. Nike’s success is largely due to its ability to strike a balance between these and create offerings that appeal to the Asian consumer.


To fully understand the Asian consumer, companies need to dive deeper to understand their values, concerns, world views and beliefs. Today, Asian consumers desire technology and brands that are able to consistently deliver on their promise. Looking ahead, these are brand qualities that will become must-haves for organizations to succeed in the market.

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This article appeared on CMO.com on 26 October 2016 in English.

Read the full article here: CMO.com – Why APAC’s 3 Most Beloved Brands Continue to Rule the Region