The myth of the brand in Asia

James Parsons
Flamingo International, Singapore

Introduction

As the United States stutters uncertainly back to growth and Europe looks mired in recession, growth in Asia (and other emerging markets) is where the world is pinning its hopes. Blue Chip organisations have been directing significant development and marketing spends to the region, looking to deploy their brands to tap into that growth. If organisations are to profit from the growth of Asia they must understand how brands can be put to work optimally in these markets.

This paper will argue for a careful consideration of how the notion of brand works in Asia, and to that end, of what is distinctive about these Asian contexts. The title, in suggesting that the idea of the brand is a myth, does not seek to propose that brands don't exist or that they're somehow untrue. What this paper will argue is that the notion of brand is one developed primarily by Westerners in and for Western developed markets, and that in an Asian marketing and communications fraternity with its fair share of Westerners there is a pervasive Western discourse governing conversations and strategies about brands in Asia.