SINGAPORE: Brands in Asia need to continually evolve in order to keep up with digitally savvy consumers in an increasingly connected region, according to an industry figure.

Spencer Lee, Head of Commercial for budget airline AirAsia addressed this topic at the recent All That Matters conference in Singapore, where he cautioned against change for the sake of it.

“Don't change because of change,” he said. “You change because you need to innovate yourself to stay relevant.” (For more, read WARC’s report: 10 Tips For Brand Evolution From AirAsia and Singapore Tourism Board.)

“If you take AirAsia as a brand, our brand promise and brand belief, ‘Now Everyone Can Fly’, is still the same,” he continued. “But we consistently innovate to stay relevant, to stay on time.

“The flexibility needs to be there, to be agile, because every day, the market moves on,” Lee added, referencing the well-known examples of brands like Nokia, Blackberry and Kodak which had “banked on another journey”.

Achieving that, however, requires a business to have the right culture and mindset, something that AirAsia has had from the start but which can be difficult to maintain.

“For us, we were born as a challenger brand. We are the disruptor, so we continue to disrupt,” he explained. “If we don't disrupt, we will be disrupted.”

That’s easier said than done and marketers have to be honest and transparent, he advised.

“Success builds success, but when you let success get to your head, it will corrupt your mindset and your culture will be gone the next day,” he said. “It is very important to keep focused and always stay true to your own objectives.”

Beyond that, a willingness to take risks – and not simply rely on data – is essential for growth. “If you only look at data, there would not be a lot of companies that are so-called sexy today,” said Lee.

“We use a lot of what is available right now in the market. We are looking at technology, we are looking at data, and what not. But we still take some risks (despite all that).”

Sourced from WARC