However, anyone with even minimal branding experience in Asia understands that Asian companies face two sets of challenges. The first set involves the branding hurdles every company faces, such as distribution, product quality, customer relationships, promotion, and measurement. The second involves challenges unique to Asia, including distribution across a large geographic area; low per-capita incomes in many countries; a vast number of cultural, linguistic, and religious differences that can complicate packaging and messaging; government restrictions on marketing activities; hyperacute price consciousness; and the collectivist attitude noted earlier. Clearly, management or branding tactics common in the West may not always work in Asia.
Finally, South Korea, Singapore, and Japan are the most wired countries on Earth, and China’s Internet penetration is growing exponentially. Yet, curiously, the book’s index lists just one reference to the Internet, and digital branding is ignored.
As Mr. Roll correctly notes, Asian companies strongly want to make the leap from OEM to OBM. They recognize that it will lead to greater profitability, opportunities for better strategic relationships, and increased leverage for their marketing spending. Mr. Roll has packaged his invaluable insights in conventional “marketingspeak” from the 1990s, such as “brand personality,” “change agents,” and the impossible-to-measure “brand essence,” but they will nonetheless serve as a well-written introduction to historical marketing for newly minted brand managers.
Nick Wreden (email@example.com), a marketing consultant who works with large technology companies and other Fortune 500 firms, is the author of ProfitBrand: How to Increase the Profitability, Accountability and Sustainability of Brands (Kogan Page, 2005).