A GOOD presentation and a good story are essential components of an effective branding strategy, says Branding Association of Malaysia president Datuk Eric Chong.
“Nowadays, the aesthetic appeal of a product is necessary to make it sell successfully in the market.
“Some 20 to 30 years ago, the pricing was key. Today, consumers need to feel that they are able to identify with the product, so the appearance is of utmost importance. The aesthetic appeal gives them the satisfaction of owning something desirable,” Chong said.
Besides just a good appearance, the product would need a heart-warming story, one related to the origin of the product, to enhance its appeal in the market, according to Chong.
“The story has to be a genuine one. You can’t lie about it, as people will eventually find out.
“It doesn’t matter whether the story is an ordinary one. What is important is that it needs to be told in a way that can draw emotional support from the consumers,” he added.
Chong noted that the pricing component helps to determine the positioning of the product in the market.
“The company has to decide carefully the targeted income group because a product cannot be tailored to meet the needs of every consumer in the market,” he said last week at Penang’s SOBA Lab.
Chong gave a talk on ‘The Importance of Brand Story’ at the event.
The other speakers were PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd chief executive officer and managing director Datuk Michael Tio, Digi enterprise product marketing head Khairan Nasir, RHB Group Transaction Banking head Chung Chee Kai, Credit Guarantee Corp Malaysia Bhd strategic alliance, advisory and branding vice-president Jenny Hoh, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) northern region director Sharifah Nazreen Farhana Syed Marzuki, Lexis Hotels & Resorts president Mandy Chew, and Kalyx Consultants Sdn Bhd managing director Shirlyn Lim.
Meanwhile, during the panel discussion on ‘Technology - The Engine of Change’, Tio said SMEs should try using social media to communicate and interact with their workers and customers.
“Facebook, for example, can be used as a platform to communicate with the staff to get feedback immediately, while serving also as an advertising platform,” Tio said.
Tio added that at PKT, the management team could get response from the staff in 30 seconds.
In comparison, the management of other companies that still use conventional channels of communication has to wait for weeks and months to get feedback, he explained.
In her talk on ‘Going Global’, Sharifah advised SMEs to be opened to the idea of international trading.
“The problem is that, although the local market is limited in size, SMEs are still reluctant to take up the challenge of going to compete overseas.
“SMEs should get in touch with Matrade as we help local SMEs to take part in international exhibitions and arrange one-to-one business matching sessions,” Sharifah said.
Hoh, in her talk on ‘Finance Options for SMEs’, said that SMEs should also look into the various financing options provided by Credit Guarantee Corp Malaysia.
“SMEs can shop for financing at the Credit Guarantee Corp Malaysia website, as most local banks are affiliated with it. Many SMEs are not aware of this,” Hoh added.
Meanwhile on going cashless, Chung said the use of e-payment was gradually picking up.
“This is because cheques are expensive and not conducive to doing business cost efficiently.
“E-payments are cheaper and on average, cost only 30 sen per transaction.
“Bank Negara has estimated that it costs RM6.80 for a cheque to be cleared after accounting all expenses in the transaction journey. And e-payment is settled within the same day, compared to two days for cheques to be cleared,” he said.
According to Chung, e-payment players have become more abundant, diverse and non-traditional.
“In 2017, Bank Negara processed applications from 43 new non-bank players.
“Payment technology advancements such as Application Programming Interfaces (API) have enhanced the ability for payment service providers to develop new use cases and deliver better customer experience,” Chung says.
SOBA Lab is organised by Star Media Group in conjunction with The Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) 2018.
The next SOBA Lab will be held on July 25 at MU Hotel in Ipoh, followed by The Puteri Pacific Johor Baru in Johor (Aug 1) and Menara Star in Petaling Jaya (Aug 8).
Some of the other entrepreneurs and industry experts who will be sharing their experiences at the upcoming workshops include Chriszen Malaysia Sdn Bhd managing director Mandy Leong (Ipoh), Googolplex Properties Sdn Bhd group chief executive officer Christopher Liang (Ipoh), The Holstein Milk Company Sdn Bhd managing director Loi Tuan Ee (Johor), Wong Kuen Kong, the chief executive officer of Seri Austin cum group director of UMLand Townships (Johor), Vitality Boost Sdn Bhd managing director Dr Soraya Rahim Ismail (PJ) and Sirius International (M) Sdn Bhd founder and chief executive officer Anne Tham (PJ).
Entry for SOBA LAB is free of charge but seats are limited. Interested participants are encouraged to register at bit.ly/SOBALAB2018 to secure a seat on a first-come-first-served basis.
There will also be a SOBA Helpdesk at each location to cater to those interested to know more about SOBA awards.
SOBA 2018 is organised by Star Media Group with Digi, PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd and RHB Bank Bhd as main sponsors, Credit Guarantee Corporation as co-sponsor, Matrade as official trade promotion partner and New World Petaling Jaya Hotel as official venue.
It is endorsed by Ministry of International Trade and Industry, supported by Bursa Malaysia and audited by BDO with 988, SuriaFM and dimsum as Official Media Partners.
For more information on SOBA 2018, call The Star Events Business Unit at 03-7967 1388 ext 1432 (Jasmine) / 1857 (Pei Wen) or visit www.soba.com.my