The challenge of ‘eastern’ brands going west
By Crispin Reed
The challenge of 'eastern' brands going west is not a new one. It wasn't that long ago – well only a couple of decades ago, that Japanese products, be they electronic goods or cars, were seen as cheaper, poorer quality imitations of western brands. And it was even more recently that Daewoo cars and Samsung electronics (both from Korea) suffered the same issues. But look at those brands now. Samsung, in particular, is doing exceptionally well having recently launched gesture-controlled plasma screen TVs.
The problems for ‘eastern’ brands stem from two fundamental issues – product quality and perceptions of the product quality/brand.
Japanese cars and Korean TVs are accepted in the West as being of good quality and reasonably priced but this is not always the case when it comes to ‘eastern’ brands; many are still seen as cheap. The fact that we still use the phrases “made in China” or “made in Taiwan” illustrates perfectly how people are unaware of the quality of some products made in the east.
However, brands looking to make the move to the west shouldn’t despair just yet; it is possible to shift consumer perceptions. Indeed, in much the same way that Skoda addressed quality perceptions by tackling them head on, Daewoo reinvented themselves in their advertising a few years ago. Similarly, Samsung’s heavy investment in sponsorship in the UK, such as the Chelsea FC deal at a time when Chelsea was being turned around by Abramovich, has aided its success in the west.
‘Eastern’ brands do not necessarily need to change to succeed in the west. They do however, need to think carefully about the emotions that drive consumers in each market and tailor the image they are putting out and the partnerships they form accordingly if they want to stay ahead of the pack.
Crispin Reed is Managing Director at Brandhouse
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