Maybe 10 per cent of the 100 Malaysian brands will expand to Asia and rise up to the iconic level, says the Branding Association of Malaysia
THE Branding Association of Malaysia (BAM) plans to build 100 emerging small and medium enterprise (SME) brands in Malaysia by 2020.
President Lewre Lew said the vision is achievable if all parties - trade associations, the private sector and the government - work together.
"Maybe 10 per cent of the 100 Malaysian brands will expand to Asia and rise up to the iconic level.
"That will change foreigners' perception towards the country if the top 10 Malaysian brands were among the global brands," he told Business Times in an interview.
Lew, who is also chief executive officer and design director of home-grown local shoe brand Lewre, said 10 years may be a short period to achieve that target but it is not impossible if every party sets their mind on it.
Still, an ongoing concern is that local SMEs are still lacking in brand awareness. This is attributed to the wrong perception of branding among them.
"We are good businessmen on the fact that Malaysia is among the world's top 20 trading nations. But how many iconic brands from Malaysia are in the global Top 20 brands today?" he asked.
According to Lew, a good businessman competes on quality and uniqueness of the product and not on price alone.
He said a product maker should create value of the product and present it to the customers by finding a unique selling point.
"The premium that you get from branding is measurable. The strength of the brand value contributes to the business bottom line," he said.
Lew said branding is holistic, covering good products and the creation of unique and emotional selling propositions.
This means having the right target group, giving the right experience for consumers, meeting consumer expectation, and providing good ambience of shopping.
"Machines and buildings will become outdated, but intellectual property (brand) travels around the world," he noted.
Lew said BAM, since it was established in 2000, has been inculcating brand awareness among the SMEs.
He said before Brand Promotion Grant (BPG) was set up by the government, the association had written to the International Trade and Industry Ministry about local companies' need for funding to promote and reposition their brands abroad.
The BPG was introduced in 2004 with an initial allocation of RM100 million, which later had been increased to RM200 million. The fund provides matching grants on the approved cost of brand development and promotion activities including patent registration.
For the first time, BAM is working with the Small and Medium Industries Development Corp to organise a Brand Entrepreneur Conference today.
The conference will see several successful local brand-builders, who have made their mark in the international market, share their experiences, thoughts and success stories with over 500 participants.
In conjunction with the one-day event, the National Mark for Malaysia Brand, a brand certification that denotes quality and distinction of local products and services, will be unveiled.
Lew said the National Mark is a way of recognising emerging brand from "local kampung boy to a global hero".