PETALING JAYA: Brand owners need to work closely with the regulators to further bridge the brand-consumer gap for the betterment of consumers, according to the International Advertising Association (IAA) Malaysia.
Its president John D. Chacko said if brands were to work closely with regulators to understand and meet the regulatory efforts, it would help bridge the gap between brands and consumers.
This would result in the consumers understanding the product or service better before making a decision, he said, adding that it would also lessen the breach of regulations, ensuring a balanced ecosystem of products and services in the market.
With regulations changing and more enforced restrictions from regulators and interest groups, Chacko noted that there is an onslaught on how brands deliver their messages and keep the power of choice with the consumers while business remains viable.
“Consumer’s freedom of choice is a human rights. If brands are unethical or not honest with their branding, this is where regulators have to enforce stringent restrictions or legislations so that consumer rights are upheld.
“From my working stints for more than 20 years at Kraft and Coca-Cola internationally, the consumers are the ones who ultimately own the brand.
“Just as you and I would prefer to work with people who are open and transparent, so will consumers with brands which are transparent so that they can make the right choices, ” Chacko told StarBiz in an interview.
Consumers did not want others to make choices for them, he said, noting that they have access to information that allowed them to make the right choices.
As a strong advocate of industry self-regulation, Chacko said IAA’s global network has long adopted the International Chamber of Commerce Code as the “gold standard” for marketing self-regulation principles.
For eight decades now, he said, the code provided global benchmarks, encouraging high standards and ethical marketing practices, while providing valuable guidance to both regulators and self-regulatory bodies globally.
Brands have to be honest and transparent in their purpose and what they do and from a branding and consumer perspective, he noted that reputation and trust are important.
“Consumers who purchase a brand are purchasing what they believe to be authentic and delivers the promises of the brand. It is the brand custodian’s responsibility to do everything they can to deliver on the promises of their brand and expectations of the consumers.
“IAA’s aim is to engage with brand owners and regulators towards promoting brand building, protecting and advancing the freedom of commercial speech and consumer choice – which is the catalyst for thriving industries and economy, said Chacko.”
IAA Malaysia is hosting a forum, the first in Asia-Pacific, that would delve deeper into the growing regulatory challenges facing brands and consumers.
Tough this forum, IAA aims to provide the platform to work even closer and strengthen government relations with brand owners, industries and consumers to engender greater trust and collaboration among all parties.
The one-day event, held today at Eastin Hotel, Petaling Jaya, brings together a distinguished panel of subject matter experts from global, regional and national levels and across various related sectors including regulators, industry practitioners and legal practitioners.
On another note, Chacko said different jurisdictions have their own regulations. Towards this end, he said, it is important that associations like IAA, brand owners and regulatory bodies work closely to find a “middle ground”.
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