NewsRise in popularity of Asian Brands (ST, 13 Nov 2016)

November 16, 2016

Gen Y consumers surveyed are loyal to their local and national brands.

The voice of Asia’s Gen Y is loud and clear at this year’s Influential Brands Awards. To identify the popular top brands in Asia, more than 6,000 Gen Y consumers aged 21 to 31 were surveyed.

“It has emerged that 39 brands are commonly loved by most of Asia’s Gen Y,” says Amy Lim, director at Influential Brands, a think-tank, research and brand recognition platform set up to recognise brand excellence and promote brand thought leadership in Asia.

This year’s consumer and market research is derived from more than 50 top brands, and is based on their branding qualities, influence and impact on consumers.

Centred on Asia’s Gen Y, the research covered five countries – Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and China – and spans more than 50 categories ranging from online marketplace, food and beverage (F&B) and fast-moving consumer goods to electronics, beauty and wellness. Face-to-face and online surveys were conducted in the first quarter of the year.

Ms Lim says: “Of the 39 top-of-mind brands, 14 are Asian-originated brands, which makes up a healthy 36 per cent. This reflects the trend of not just the rise of Asia-originated brands, but their strengths and significance too, especially since Asian companies have always been considered relative latecomers to brand-building.”

Across the surveyed countries, BreadTalk, Uniqlo, Watsons, AirAsia and Samsung are some of the prominent Asian brands with high recall, says Ms Lim.

Ms Joyce Koh, group senior vice-president, brand development at BreadTalk Group, says: “We are delighted to know that Asia’s Gen Y has named BreadTalk as Top Bakery brand in Asia. Having started as Singapore’s home-grown bakery 16 years ago, and operating in Asia across 17 territories today, we truly appreciate our customers’ support and will continue to listen to their desire for creative and great tasting products.”

Clear loyalties

The survey also found that Asia’s Gen Y have clear loyalty towards their national and local brands. For example, in terms of airlines, Asia’s Gen Y preferred their own national carriers.

For beverages, gen Y consumers’ preferences differ across the five countries. For example, Gen Y consumers in Malaysia and Indonesia almost always prefer the carbonated options, while Gen Y consumers in Singapore prefer non-carbonated varieties, and in particular tea-based beverages.

Interestingly, the survey found that online shopping is still fragmented across most categories.

For example, in Singapore, 86 per cent of Gen Y consumers shop for fashion and accessories online in Malaysia, and in Indonesia, it is 76 and 74 respectively, while in Thailand it is only 48 per cent.

New Award categories

Two new categories – Outstanding Brands and 2016 CEP Brand Leader of the Year – will debut at this year’s Influential Brands Awards.

Outstanding Brands aims to identify, feature and celebrate companies that have shown resilience and growth in changing times. Ms Lim says that to be brand must be noteworthy in its own category, industry or domain; it must show significant high single-digit growth in revenue year-on-year, for at least the last two years; and have a clear business expansion plan.

“We are glad to note that in the face of a fast-changing economy, many strong, steadfast brands have shown outstanding performance. These results are not achieved by chance. They are, in fact, often efforts borne out of a focussed desire to excel, to be better than the rest.

“In particular, we are delighted with the achievements and display of growth of Harry’s International; a well-placed and popular brand in the category of Bar and Dining that has continued to grow its market footprint; ViewQwest, a dynamic provider of Internet Services; and Lush Asthetics, a leading provider of fat-freezing and cosmetic LED teeth whitening in Singapore,” she says.

The inaugural 2016 CEO Brand Leader of the Year award is given to six business leaders who have shown strong business leadership and have fully embraced branding as part of their business strategy.

They are Ms Rieko Shofu, chief executive officer of Pokka International; Mr Anthony Tan, co-founder and chief executive officer of Grab Taxi Holdings; Dr Michael Tan, co-founder and group chief executive officer of Fullerton Healthcare Corporation; Mr Richard Eu, chief executive officer of Eu Yan Sang International; Mr George Quek, chairman of BreadTalk Group; and Mr David Chiem, founder, chief executive officer and chairman of MindChamps Holdings.

The recipients were selected based on five criteria; brand leadership, brand expansion, financial performance, innovation and personal integrity.

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