A white paper prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), ‘Brand and deliver: Emerging Asia’s new corporate imperative’ looks at how companies are tackling the next stage of their evolution by harnessing the power of brands. It also shares insights from firms in Japan and South Korea that have already succeeded in building global brands.
According to the report, burgeoning economies do not translate to impressive brands. The report examines the current state of branding in emerging Asia, and notes that, going forward, branding is critical for survival not only in the local markets but also for going global. Noting that marketing is just one part of the brand building process the report points out that branding strategy, as practised in the West, is not well understood in Asia.
In some cases past growth came from being in the right place at the right time. Phone companies, for example, benefitted from new technology that radically reduced the cost of services and made them affordable to billions of new consumers. Double-digit growth then followed as companies rushed into unserved markets. Once markets are established, however, growth becomes much harder, and in the future companies will need brands to keep expanding.
In Asia, the developed parts of the region have long been successful brand-builders. Names such as Toyota and Sony in Japan, Samsung and Hyundai in South Korea, Singapore Airlines and Hong Kong’s Esprit fashion label are quite well known globally. However, the report notes that famous names from places like China, India, Indonesia and other emerging Asian economies are missing from Asia’s brand map.
The report cites a study in 2010 by Brand Finance, a consultancy, which calculated the value of the world’s 500 biggest brands and found that Asia as a whole had 98 brands in the top 500. But strip out developed nations, and emerging Asia’s total came to just 29 brands, or 6% of the total—well below its share of the global economy. A total of 8 brands represent India in the list, making it fourth on the list after Japan (with 54), China (with 18) and South Korea (with 9).
Tata ranks highest amongst the Indian brands with a global rank of 65, and a brand valuation of US$ 11,216 million. It is the only Indian brand to make the Top 100 cut, with Reliance a distant second at 108 with a valuation of US$ 7,250 million. State Bank of India ranks in 187 with US$ 4,551 million, followed by Airtel on 289 with US$ 3,159 million. Bharat Petroleum (Rank 306), Wipro Technologies (Rank 380), Infosys (Rank 424) and ICICI Bank (Rank 440) fill up the remaining spots for Indian presence on the list.