When it comes to building strong brands in Asia, you’ll find a consistent strategy repeated again and again. And it’s very different from how Americans tend to approach brand strategy.
Brand strategies by companies in Asian countries tend to look like this: Introduce a single brand, and go extremely wide with it and sell everything (including the kitchen sink) under the brand name.
Laura Ries, who has been doing some work in China, describes the situation in China like this:
“Everybody makes everything. Just like they do in Japan.”
She goes on to describe Chunlan, which used to be the largest air-conditioner manufacturer, but has expanded into motor vehicles and heavy machinery. Ries says,
“Then they expanded into motorcycles, automobiles and heavy equipment. And after three years of negative revenues and losing 400 million Yuan last year, they were delisted from the stock market. It would be like Harley-Davidson making fork lifts, cars and air-conditioners. It would sound crazy in America, but it is happening every day in China.”
Why do Asians continue to approach brand architecture with this strategy?
It could be simply a fact that they see things differently as a whole. Ian McKee of writes of a research study done at the University of Michigan where a picture was shown to both North Americans and Asians. The North American students were drawn to a single image in the foreground, usually something bright or rapidly moving. The Asians on the other hand took their time taking in the scene as a whole.
See any parallels? Americans viewed the picture in the same way we tend to build brands, with focus. Asians seemed to find more value in absorbing everything in the picture, which tends to be their more products for more value formula for branding.
Either that or this just shows how ADD all Americans are.
What do you think?