Mar­ket­ing Strat­egy

Cre­at­ing a sys­tem for suc­cess in Asia

Business First - - FRONT PAGE -

There are three com­po­nents in build­ing a cred­i­ble per­sonal brand. These are: a. Cred­i­bil­ity b. De­pend­abil­ity c. Trust­wor­thi­ness.

Which in turn will deliver you: • Re­la­tion­ships • Re­spect • Pros­per­ity.

To build your brand, you have to cre­ate a sys­tem that works for you. While talent will get you so far, this is only one as­pect of suc­cess. The most im­por­tant com­po­nent of suc­cess is the prac­ti­cal sys­tems you build. No mat­ter how dis­rup­tive cer­tain sys­tems seem, they are the key to your growth. Ev­ery­one from Richard Bran­son and Steve Jobs to Lady Gaga cre­ated a sys­tem that tended to their busi­ness growth and brand. They had/have talent, that goes with­out say­ing, but they also had a suc­cess­ful sys­tem that lever­aged their tal­ents by cre­at­ing per­sonal brand value be­yond what the aver­age busi­ness lead- er or en­tre­pre­neur is able to cre­ate.

When con­sid­er­ing your sys­tems and brand in Asian coun­tries, the fun­da­men­tals are the same, how­ever you have to con­sider how the brand trans­lates, i.e. names, colours, taglines, styles and cul­tural nu­ances that may of­fend. You must de­cide who you want to tar­get and how your brand re­flects the mar­ket or in­di­vid­ual that you want to in­flu­ence, and then ad­just to suit. We touched on be­hav­iours in the last is­sue. In this is­sue, I want to look at how to

main­tain your brand.

Put sim­ply, there are two ways you need to look at your brand: A. Off­line – visit your mar­ket reg­u­larly (face to face prefer­ably) and have your people on the ground do the same. B. On­line – Cre­ate an on­line plat­form to reg­u­larly com­mu­ni­cate with your stake­hold­ers.

Let’s look at your team on the ground. It is im­por­tant for them to un­der­stand that busi­ness through­out Asia is not al­ways con­ducted in the same man­ner. Do­ing busi­ness in Sin­ga­pore is dif­fer­ent to do­ing busi­ness in In­done­sia or China. There­fore your team must un­der­stand the cul­ture. Re­cruit a team you can trust, people that also in­ti­mately know the cul­ture, lan­guage and how busi­ness is re­ally con­ducted there. Any en­tre­pre­neur or busi­ness leader with hands on ex­pe­ri­ence will give you real-world in­sights if they are hon­est with you. Get re­ally picky in find­ing your team; it can take time but in the long run will give back awe­some re­turns.

A good team will en­sure that to the best of their abil­ity, the brand will sur­vive and thrive. How­ever as ev­ery leader knows, cir­cum­stances can con­spire to hurt the busi­ness. If the brand goes wrong, it’s time to en­ter into the cri­sis man­age­ment phase. It’s time to take a deep breath and con­tain your losses. You must have a strat­egy in place be­fore the event. Hav­ing a plan in pre­pared­ness makes good busi­ness sense.

Once you have set your cri­sis man­age­ment plan in place, you can then work to re-po­si­tion nearly any­thing if it falls into the pa­ram­e­ters of your well thought out plan or sys­tem. No mat­ter whether you are a big or small or­gan­i­sa­tion, you will face sim­i­lar dis­rup­tions par­tic­u­larly in over­seas mar­kets. Some in­dus­tries may find it harder to re­cover. The food in­dus­try is one that has to per­form ma­jor re­pairs to its brand when some­thing goes wrong. Re­mem­ber the milk sub­sti­tu­tion racket in China. That cost to man­u­fac­tur­ers fi­nan­cially and in rep­u­ta­tion was dis­as­trous; the cost of hu­man lives was tragic. That’s a dis­as­ter that any re­spectable brand or leader should ever let hap­pen.

To mit­i­gate these dis­as­ters, your brand val­ues must be con­gru­ent with what you claim to be. In the ex­am­ple above it’s clear that these man­u­fac­tur­ers did not fol­low their own mantra – they de­stroyed trust in the brand through un­eth­i­cal be­hav­iours.

Brand Build­ing – per­sonal or cor­po­rate – is not a strat­egy for short-term prof­its, it’s a well thought out plan or sys­tem with steps in place that need to be fol­lowed to max­imise brand value for the longer term.

Your per­sonal brand is a re­flec­tion of your lead­er­ship. Trust is one of the most im­por­tant char­ac­ter traits miss­ing to­day from our com­mu­ni­ties. From busi­ness lead­ers to politi­cians to your lo­cal church, people are sus­pi­cious of what they are be­ing told as they have been let down too of­ten.

Your per­sonal lead­er­ship brand is the ul­ti­mate tool to build busi­ness be­cause you: • Un­der­stand yourself bet­ter • In­crease your con­fi­dence • In­crease your vis­i­bil­ity and pres­ence • Be the go to per­son in your in­dus­try, at­tract in­vestors, me­dia and pow­er­ful con­nec­tions • Dif­fer­en­ti­ate yourself from your

peers • In­crease your com­pen­sa­tion • Thrive dur­ing down­turns in the



So when look­ing at the Asian mar­kets, it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber the fol­low­ing: 1. Be clear on your val­ues and what you stand for (and what you will not stand for). 2. Know your tar­get mar­ket and po­si­tion your brand ac­cord­ingly. 3. De­cide what you need to do for im­pact. 4. Plan how you will reach them ef­fec­tively. 5. Back your team / rep­re­sen­ta­tive­ness to be con­gru­ent with your per­sonal brand. They must be a re­flec­tion of what you rep­re­sent when you are there phys­i­cally or not. Re­mem­ber ev­ery­one must speak the same ‘lan­guage’… in their own voice; cre­ate con­gru­ency along all the brand com­mu­ni­ca­tions chan­nels.

“Set a stan­dard for ex­cel­lence, with­out distinc­tion there is extinction.”

Re­cruit a team you can trust, people that also in­ti­mately know the cul­ture, lan­guage and how busi­ness is re­ally con­ducted there.’

Jon is the CEO of Im­age Group In­ter­na­tional and has been work­ing with Asian businesses for over 20 years.

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