The power of brand theory: how do you build a brand in a new Asian market?

The power of brand theory: how do you build a brand in a new Asian market?

When you embark on launching your brand in a new Asian market, you may think you need to start from the beginning. We often speak to businesses who assume they'll need to rebrand, or radically rethink their positioning. The good news is: you don't necessarily need to throw the baby out with the bath water! A lot of the knowledge, experience and value inherent in your existing brand will stand you in good stead.

Before we talk about your first steps into a new market, let's take it back to basics: what is a brand? Brand encompasses all the visible entities of your business - your visual identity, your product or service, your online presence, your customer experience. It's about a customer's perception of you, or put another way: your brand is in the eye of the beholder. If your marketing is asking your customers to go on a date, it's your brand that will make them say yes! The uncomfortable truth of brand theory is that the power is in your audience's hands. So in a market where you're a complete unknown, where do you start? Do you take it back to the drawing board and start again, or can you tap into your existing brand equity?

The truth about launching into new markets is that you already know more than you think when it comes to your brand! You created it from scratch in the beginning and you learned a lot throughout that process. Sometimes all that's needed is a tweak or a slight shift in perspective to crack a new market. 

A great example of this is one of our clients: Bjorg. Bjorg's fundamental values about plant-based diets didn't alter when they launched in China - but they had to accept that the motivation of consumers in Europe was around a collective motivation for the planet, whereas in China it was much more personal and orientated towards the personal health advantages of plant-based milk. Their fundamental values did not alter, but they realised that to "take this new customer on a date", they had to address that different emotional and functional motivation. 

So how do you get started? If you're thinking about launching your brand in an Asian market these are our top tips to kick off your planning process:

  1. Assess your existing brand - what did you learn from building it in your existing market? What are your current customers telling you?
  2. Do your research - what looks or sounds different in your new target market? How does that blend or clash with your existing brand and message?
  3. Consider working with a knowledgeable partner in that market who is able to help you uncover the insight you need to tweak what you have created already, rather than start from scratch

Need some help?

Get in touch with us to better understand how to leverage the power of your existing brand in a new market.