Brand Asia – An Inclusive Evaluation on Major Brands

This case study was consolidated in September 2016

Project background

Brand Asia was a survey project initiated from 2012 by Nikkei BP, the renown Japanese company specializing in consulting and marketing solutions, in coordination with several prestigious research firms in Asia. The project aims to evaluate the overall strength, visual trends, customer perception and other influential factors on a list of largest brands in selected Asian countries.

In 2012, the survey was conducted in 21 major cities from 8 Asian countries, collecting opinion about 100 brands in each nation, which consisted of 60 global and 40 local brands, except for the case of China with total of 60 brands only. To 2015, the survey’s scope was expanded to cover 31 cities of 11 countries around Asia (with Malaysia, the Philippines and Turkey being added) and 120 brands for each country.

To ensure the objectivity of the findings, the survey was scattered out to both male and female respondents, aged from 20 to 59. The fieldwork combined 3 different methods, which were Street Catch, Telephone and Internet Survey in order to complete the target sample under designed schedule.

In Vietnam, B&Company was entrusted by Nikkei BP’ to carry out the survey in both 2012 and 2015 in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh city (in 2015, 984 responses were collected in the 2 cities via Street Catch and Internet Survey). This result helped contributing to the final conclusion of the big project, as well as to providing cross-region comparative analysis and detailed evaluation on global/local brands.

Client : Nikkei Business Publication Consulting Inc. (Nikkei BP)
Type : Market Research, Brand Health Check
Industry: Telecom, Electronic, F&B, Retail, Automaker, Internet-based, Food, Home Appliance, Finance, Restaurant, FMCG & Airlines
Time: 2012 & 2015
Scope: China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam

From the design stage, a thorough metrics had to be established to determine key industries, major brands and surveyed cities for each country. Evidently, the realistic situation would vary case by case, in which selected brands and cities should represent the typical trends of the nation at that time. As a result, it turned out that some country candidates were nominated with a higher or lower number of brands and uneven sample size accordingly. However, this unbalance was inevitable and must be compromised with. The same attempts were put to best identify 10 core industries to be focused on in each year. In 2012, the categories were FMCG, Food, IT/Household Appliances, Automobile, Retail, Finance, Internet-based, Media, Restaurant, Sport-related products, while there were some minor changes in the 2015 package, of which the reclassification included Telecom, Electronic, Drink, Retail, Automaker, Internet-based, Food, Home Appliance, Finance, Restaurant, FMCG and Airline. Those adjustments were essential to reflect the changes of context.

Running the project year after year on a wide geographical area created a number of difficulties in management and implementation. It led to the needs for a strict cooperation between Nikkei BP and research agencies in each nation, in order to conduct and monitor the collection simultaneously at the highest efficiency and quality. Consistency and timeline were prioritized, which required a consolidated method to be applied among all partners.

To overcome aforementioned organizational issues, B&Company along with other executing firms proactively joined with Nikkei BP from planning to deployment, including identifying survey targets, running interviews, data analysis and making country report. The specialization assignment by country was the key to keep each local research advancing under schedule as well as to facilitate the whole progress.

At the same time, the analysis was carried out using a united method from “Brand Japan”, which was known as the largest brand evaluation model in Japan. In Brand Asia project, the brand image was constituted of 4 main factors (Friendly, Convenient, Innovative, Outstanding) which were then broken down into 15 specific items. Thanks to that, all analysis teams in each country could follow the same framework to maintain a common conformation while saving much time to make comparison between different groups, industries or brands.

  • Overall findings

The 2015 findings from total 11 countries showed an interesting insight, as the group of developed countries received more awareness in almost all industries compared to developing ones. However, the gap was narrow to insignificant. The analytics could point out that only 2 industries witnessed the big difference: While Finance brands were 27% more highly recognized in developed countries, Retail brands got 16% ahead in awareness in developing regions. Sport-related, Internet and Restaurant were 3 brand sectors reaching the best results in awareness evaluation and overall performance score. After taking measurements, television continued being the most effective marketing channel. In particular, it was ranked 1st among most popular medias in 7 countries, and came in 2nd in the other 4. Website was another influential source for consumers to rely on, while information gathered directly at stores/from sales staffs was especially common in Thailand and Vietnam.

  • Vietnam result

More profound findings on Vietnam case were presented by B&Company through Brand Asia Vietnam report. Although Vietnam results indicated somewhat lower level of brand awareness in general compared to its counterparts in the regions, there were some noteworthy findings. Interestingly, the awareness of Finance brands in Vietnam was even higher than in developed countries. Telecom maintained the 1st position for both awareness ratio and the total score.

The year 2014 had seen Vinamilk, the Vietnamese market leader in dairy product manufacturing, joining in TOP 3 in the overall score, together with 2 global giants which were Honda and Google. Other local representatives from F&B industry (Highlands, Trung Nguyen, Kinh Do, Vissans), Telecom (Viettel, MobiFone, VNPT) or Finance (Vietcombank, Bao Viet) also got positive marks and were widely recognized by consumers. However, local brands could not make a breakthrough in high-tech industries such as Electronic, Home Appliances or Automaker, as international suppliers like Google, Apple, Honda, Sony, Samsung, Hyundai, Toyota… still dominated the market.

From B&Company ‘s perspective, the survey result indicated that Vietnamese local enterprises had put more effort in branding and marketing. As the consequence, they could gain more attraction among domestic consumers. Specific figures illustrated that Vietnamese brands often received high evaluation for being “Friendly” and “Convenient”.

However, when it came to competitiveness, Vietnamese companies should consider more about “Innovative” and “Outstanding” aspect when making a positioning strategy. Representatives from B&Company reaffirmed it was crucial to establish and develop a high-quality, synchronizable ecosystem with more added-value while enhancing uniqueness in products/services. That was the way for local brands to imprint their image in consumers’ perception, in the context Vietnam had joined WTO and more ferocious competition from foreign rivals.

To read more about this project results, please follow this link.