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The Straits Times, Thurs, Nov 24 2005

BLUE-CHIP Western icons like Gucci or Mercedes Benz seem to get all the recognition from consumers, but Asian brands can also “rule the world”, according to a global marketing executive yesterday.

In fact, many have already made their mark in a big way in the world marketplace, according to Mr. Paul Temporal, the group managing director of Temporal Brand Consulting.

The veteran marketer told the AdAsia 2005 conference that Japanese brands are now widely acknowledged as stalwarts of quality and reliability.

Toyota, for instance, is clearly making big inroads into the United States, while the once-impregnable General Motors is losing money, he said.

He also found plenty to praise when it came to home-grown brands, toasting Tiger Beer among others. Tiger Beer’s “multi-pronged brand positioning” has helped its brewery, establish its product in niche markets, he said.

But not everyone can stand out and Mr. Temporal had some advice for those looking to make an impact.

The first tactic for a firm is to enhance its skills of developing emotional connections with consumers.

Mr. Temporal said Nissan is an example of a brand that has undergone a “renewal”.

“One of the biggest surprises was that Nissan didn’t care about its brand. The company now understands what a brand is and the importance of the emotional connection with its customers.”

Investing in a brand is paramount. After all, “companies have come to the realization that businesses do not drive brands, but it is actually brands that drive businesses,” he said.

Also at the conference yesterday, Mr. Noriyuki Shutto, executive advisor at Japanese advertising agency Dentsu, suggested that advertising companies should consider offering one-stop integrated services to clients, instead of specializing in one or two areas.

Another speaker, Mr. Hurst Lin, chief operating officer of leading Chinese Web portal Sina.com, recounted how his company was able to harness the Internet to build a brand name for itself.