Future is for Sustainable and Purposeful Brands: Asia Branding Conference 2019

Seoul: ‘The future belongs to the brands who take care of the planet and its people. And brands should have a higher purpose above their product line and services to win the market.’ Convinced by this idea and sharing it with the world, the second APBN concluded in Seoul. The conference organized by the Asia Pacific Branding Network (APBN) took place in Intercontinental COEX, Seoul the capital of South Korea with major branding companies from 10 Asian countries taking part. APBN is a consortium of leading branding agencies from different Asian countries. The network is an association of leading branding companies from South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia Indonesia & Thailand.

This year’s theme for the conference was ‘Unboxing the trend: Exploring the future of branding in Asia’. The agenda of the conference was to address the current trend in Asian branding and its future. Discussions were carried out on the topic of ‘sustainability in branding’ and about ‘sustainable brands’. The conference observed that to sustain, businesses have to be purpose-oriented than profit-oriented. 

The conference was enriched by speakers from different Asian countries, including Korea, India, Japan, Taiwan, China. Representing India, CEO of Whyletz Branding Ahmad Vaseem told the story of Sustainable brands for greater change in India. The topic was recognized as relevant based on its significance today and connection with the theme. He shared his experience working with brands that are purpose-oriented. And insights building a sustainable brand in India, the land of diversities. The brand story of Karimadam, a brand from Kerala captured the audience’s attention and was an epitome for brands with a purpose.

The hosting company Metabranding representative presented the case study of the Korean Premium Code – how premium brands are made in Korea. Representing Japan, Ayaka Suda from Hakuhudo Consulting talked about the recent branding trends in the healthcare industry from Japan. Zhitao Peter from Osens Shanghai talked about Chinese Cashless Society. About brand impact and social purpose, Joning Lee from Redpeak Taiwan presented her study. A representative from LG Korea presented about Hyper-premium branding with LG’s global product case study. 

The Asia Pacific Branding Conference offered an opportunity for the branding agencies across Asia to come together and share their insights. This year’s conference helped agencies to discover the different branding trends around Asia and learn from them. The network is planning to conduct more conferences and workshops in the coming years in Taiwan, Japan, Singapore and Dubai. 

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4 Reasons Why Brand Strategy is Important for Your Company

Brand strategy is such an understated word. As marketers, we sometimes truly do not understand the full extent of the word and often abuse it. Strategy is the overall game plan to reach a long-term goal. For brands, these goals could be anything from increasing brand awareness to expanding market share. A strategy would be the outline of the plan on how to reach these goals. All other decisions taken by your marketing department or company are sub-plans of this grand plan. The brands you love and admire the most have a clear-cut strategy on how to make you, their loyal customers, engage with them on a constant basis.

Strategy is often viewed suspiciously by key decision makers. Often marketing managers state the word strategy is used by agencies to offer unnecessary additional ( and billable) service. A brand strategy is not something to be ignored or taken lightly. In fact, here are four  most important reasons why every company should have a well-defined  strategy:

[su_heading size=”15″]1. Strategy is vital in shaping how your customers perceive your brand[/su_heading]customer


Your strategy is the master plan and the bedrock on which all decisions pertaining to your brand is based on. Strategy builds on your company’s vision, mission and values and makes sure these are incorporated in every decision made by the company. Strategy makes you look at your brand’s origins and compels you to question why your brand started out in the first place.


[su_heading size=”15″] 2. A well-developed strategy saves time, effort and money[/su_heading]



If your long- term goal was a destination, then your strategy is the route to get to that final destination. Your brand strategy will tell you how to reach those goals related to your brand. A thorough strategy will guide your employees in every brand-related task they carry out – from the layout of your website to how you answer calls from customers. This means employees do not diverge from your overall plans and goals when making decisions. Also, your company does not lose effort in bringing unfocused employee activities back to the original plan.


[su_heading size=”15″] 3. Strategy gives your company and employees a sense of purpose and motivation[/su_heading]



Once a strategy is formulated, you and your employees know what to achieve and how to achieve it. I t is now clearer and easier to create smaller goals and tasks, in line with your strategy, to reach your final goal. Your employees will now be more focused, and this enables everyone in the department (and even in the organisation) to work towards the same objectives. As a result, all customer touchpoints provide a consistent message about your brand. This consistency ensures that customers know what to expect when they interact with your brands – this puts customers at ease and increases brand awareness and loyalty.


[su_heading size=”15″] 4. A brand strategy is more than just the visuals[/su_heading]



Just like how your brand is something more than the logo and the colours, a strategy is more than choosing this logo and colour palette. A brand strategy is the plan to make sure your customers (both existing and potential) view your brand in the way you desire.

Simply having a strategy does not guarantee your goals will be met. Apart from being goal-centric, your strategy must be customer-oriented. In the end, your brand is how your customers experience it.Additionally, all decisions derived from the strategy should also be goal and customer focused. A strategy is something you should be spending a substantial amount of time on. And remember, always stay true to your company values and mission to develop an authentic strategy.

4 Creative Social Media Brand Updates During Super Bowl Sunday

Like a champion is crowned at every Super Bowl, brands also win big with their Super Bowl commercials that are aired at increasingly high priced TV ad slots. But in the age of social media, both big and small brands can score a touchdown on Super Bowl Sunday. An estimated 78% of consumers engage on social media while watching the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL). So let us scroll back to 4 ingenious social media posts by brands, during the most-watched television broadcast in America.



The flavoured tortilla chips brand bought tickets for fans and created a large Dorito-shaped section in one of the end-zones in the stadium. Then they tweeted about it.



The cereal brand saved an image for just the right moment, which happened to be the game-ending interception at Super Bowl XLIX.



When the stadium experienced a blackout during Super Bowl XLVII, the sandwich cookie brand sent a tweet to capitalize on the unfortunate turn of events; and became massively popular on social media.


Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Marvel Cinematic Universe used this screen grab from their upcoming movie, which mirrors the rough tackles and fouls of gridiron football.

This year, as the American Football Conference (AFC) champion New England Patriots battle it out with the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Atlanta Falcons at Super Bowl 51 for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, brands will line up their social media posts to get in front of a large audience and be the next viral marketing benchmarks.

From Prada to Nada: Top 5 brands who bid farewell to the Super Bowl 2017

It’s the Super Bowl weekend. For marketing geeks around the world, it’s Christmas. Forget the game, forget the players, forget the half-time performers. Let’s focus on the real stars of the show – the ads.

Super Bowl ads are nothing short of legendary. The biggest agencies are hired, the biggest budgets are flaunted, the biggest Hollywood stars are displayed, TV ratings average 100 million views. So, everyone wants to be part of the action, right? Wrong. The numbers just do not add up anymore. The price tag for the 30 seconds slot has increased from $4.2 million in 2014 to $5.5 million in 2017. Meanwhile, viewership has taken a tumble. After a constant increase of nearly 3 million viewers from previous years, the Super Bowl is once again showing signs of declining TV ratings. In 2015, there were more than 114 million viewers. This reduced to 111.9 million in 2016.

While some brands will make a Super Bowl debut in 2017, the longest tenants are vacating. Here are the top 5 brands who won’t be showing up for the Super Bowl 2017:

  • Toyota
  • Visa
  • Doritos
  • Mini USA
  • Heinz

Dorito does not seem to be the only brand which parent company Frito-Lays is pulling out of the Super Bowl. It’s Crash the Super Bowl contest was aimed to democratise ad selection process: instead of boring old ad executives, general masses were given the power to choose works from independent filmmakers. Would a pull-out mean Frito-Lays has fully democratised the process?

While American and German automobile brands will be revving up their engines for the Super Bowl 2017, Japanese favourite Toyota will be ending their 5-year annual attendance. Lack of product launch around this time for this year has been cited as the main reason. For strategic purposes, all new product launches are to take place during late spring or early summer.

Visa has rolled back its association with The Big Game. You won’t be seeing any more cute little children asking cute little questions to NFL legend Ray Lewis as seen in the brand’s 2016 ad campaign. All you will see now is the payment option on the online checkout page for the NFL Shop.

Perhaps the general trend of reducing expenditures on traditional advertising mediums has finally caught up with the Super Bowl. Unless a brand is mentioned in listings of top Super Bowl ads on various platforms, the results of advertising on the Super Bowl are dismissive and definitely not worth the few million dollars per 30 seconds slot. Irrespective of this, there are still brands out there which have yet to experience airing their ads to more than 100 million viewers at one go. As long as there is demand, the $5 million price tag will always be around the Big Game.


Susanna Mamen

Brand Strategist

Fascinating Holiday Brand Campaigns of 2016

Every holiday season, countless businesses mobilize to cash in on the spending frenzy, with holiday marketing and promotional campaigns. And some brands create lovely and heart-warming video ads that catch our attention because they tend to remind us of something.

Our criteria for this collection is purely based on creative storytelling, because they delighted, inspired and touched us. Congratulations to all the agencies and brands listed here, for showcasing brilliant advertising in the 2016 festival season.


Buster The Boxer – John Lewis 

The ad features Buster the dog, a family, and the neighbourhood’s wildlife. A virtual reality version of the advert was recreated in the upmarket department store’s flagship Oxford Street store. John Lewis also sold plush toy versions of the featured animals, woodland animal-themed children’s books, pyjamas and trampoline. The retailer has said that 10% of all toy sales will be given to the country’s Wildlife Trusts charities.

Client: John Lewis  |  Agency: adam&eveDDB


Frankie’s Holiday – Apple

The ad shows Frankenstein, long confined to his secluded mountain cabin, extending a festive olive branch to the neighbouring villagers in the form of a classic holiday tune. It serves as a reminder that holidays aren’t just for friends and family; they’re about opening our hearts to everyone. This ad limits product placement to a single iPhone 7 with Voice Memos being used to record a small music box.

Client: Apple | Agency: TBWA


A Coke for Christmas – Coca-Cola

This commercial was released in Spain and is part of the soft drinks giant’s biggest Christmas campaign in five years, which included the Coca-Cola truck touring the UK. The spot features a young boy spreading festive cheer by giving Coke bottles to the likes of his dad, mum and a hard-working shop assistant.

Client: Coca-Cola  |  Agency: Sra. Rushmore, Madrid


Adik – Malaysia Airlines

The national carrier wanted to send a heartfelt message to Malaysians preparing to visit their villages for the Eid festivities – ‘Love knows no boundaries’. This commercial with the hashtag #BolehAdikIkut shows Adik – the family cat, initially unable to go to the family’s hometown despite much persuasion from the daughter. At first, audiences would think Adik refers to her little brother, which keeps us guessing why she continues requesting her parents. In the end, the airline makes it possible to reunite the little owner with her pet cat.

Client: Malaysia Airlines   |  Agency: M&C Saatchi


Ginger Deer – Lowe’s 

The ad features a gingerbread man with antlers that doesn’t fit in with the rest of the cookies. He tries hard to find his own way, eventually showing the rest of the cookies that his uniqueness is what makes him special, and is welcomed by fellow gingerbread characters.

Client: Lowe’s  |  Agency: BBDO New York


Be Present – Huawei 

This commercial was released in Israel, and shows a family suffering from a serious lack of communication and personal contact, busy working on their electronic devices – a real problem in today’s fast-paced world. Encouraging families and friends around the world to put down their tablets, laptops and phones this Christmas, the advert finishes with the message – ‘We know that it’s easy to get carried away by our great smartphones, but once a year put them aside and Be Present. Make the special moment possible.’

Client: Huawei  Agency: LH-TBWA, Yehud


English for Beginners – Allegro 

This commercial by Polish online auction website Allegro, about an elderly man’s determination to learn English, is both funny and moving. We’re not sure what his objective is, until when he travels to England to meet his granddaughter for the first time. The families of nearly 1 million Polish people, who migrate to the United Kingdom in search of a job, share the same experience of overcoming obstacles to reunite with their loved ones living far away.

Client: Allegro  |  Agency: Bardzo, Warsaw


Home For Christmas – Waitrose

This commercial by the British supermarket chain focuses on the extraordinary annual winter migration of a Scandinavian robin, as it battles against weather conditions, high seas, hawks and exhaustion, to reach its preferred British garden to find food, warmer climes and a breeding partner. The idea is that the robin acts as a metaphor for the journeys we all make to be with our families and friends at Christmas; the efforts we take in getting home to connect with loved ones, the joy of welcoming guests and enjoying the best food and drink.

Client: Waitrose | Agency: adam&eveDDB


Holiday – Audi 


This commercial promotes the ‘Season of Audi Sales Event’, which occurs every holiday season, when the car maker will pay the first month’s lease payment on select new Audi models.

Client: Audi | Agency: MediaCom


Together – Vodafone 


The ad shows a mother and her children waiting on Christmas eve for their firefighter father to come home after work, for the traditional Christmas family dinner. But he informs them that he’s caught up on duty. So the family takes the Xmas décor and dinner to the fire station, where the family is united. They set up the décor and have the Christmas dinner along with his colleagues.

Client: Vodafone | Agency: Grey London