Find Out What does the Leaf Beauty Tells You About Branding

Find Out What does the Leaf Beauty Tells You About Branding

Creativity is like the green hues of a plant, full of variety and tone.

Your brand, meanwhile, is like the plant’s branches, growing and expanding with the aid of sunshine.

And yes, just like a plant, your brand needs to be protected and nurtured if it’s to grow healthily.

Branding - Green Man

 

What do you like about this photo? Tell us more!

If you like the photo, contact us today for an obligation-free consultation at 03-9221 3388 (ask for Mickie, Shirly or Bernard), or drop us an email at linsweb@linsad.com.my or visit www.linsad.com.my / www.facebook.com/linsadv.

 

Do You Know that Quality drives Brand Loyalty?

Do You Know that Quality drives Brand Loyalty?

What makes you loyal to a brand?

80% – Quality

72% – Customer Service

50% – Price

45% – Convenience

15% – Commitment to Social Responsibility

What Makes You Loyal to a Brand

What can SMEs and SMIs do to increase brand loyalty?

  • Quality products are a must, and customer testimonials play an important role in communicating your brand’s quality.
  • Stay engaged – Treat your customers like family members. Show them love. Give them gifts. Motivate them. Give more, and you’ll receive more.
  • Offer Value for Money (VFM) – Understand that each dollar your customers spend comes from their hard work and efforts. Let them know that you care. Let them know how your products/ services are worth what they’re paying for.
  • Make things simple and easy-to-use, from Registration to Product Delivery.
  • Give back to society – There’s a catchphrase for it: Corporate Social Responsibility. Create partnerships with various NGOs in the community.

We see ourselves as your strategic branding partner, providing you with the essential marketing tools and insights that ensure your brand’s longevity, no matter the economic conditions that may come.

So contact us today for an obligation-free consultation at 03-9221 3388 (ask for Mickie, Shirly or Bernard), or drop us an email at linsweb@linsad.com.my or visit www.linsad.com.my / www.facebook.com/linsadv.

 

Business Transition – What business phase are you in?

Business Transition – What business phase are you in?

Business Transition

What business phase are you in?

Seed: Business is a Concept. Focus on creating a viable model and financing.

Failure rate: 99%

 

Start-up: Focus on establishing a customer base and proving business model

Failure rate: 99%

 

Early growth: Focus on infrastructure, talent acquisition, steady growth and profitability

Failure rate: 80%

 

High growth: Aggressive growth goals, potentially through expansion, partnerships, mergers and acquisitions

Failure rate: 60%

 

Mature: Focus on customer retention with conservative to moderate growth goals

Failure rate: 40%

 

Declining: Struggling to retain existing customer base or attract new leads

Failure rate: 70%

 

Do you want to move from one phase to another?

Think Brand Strategy.

 

Do you want to keep your business in the High Growth phase for a longer period of time?

Think Brand Experience.

 

Do you want to prevent your business from entering the declining phase?

Think Re-Branding.

 

Contact us today for an obligation-free consultation at 03-9221 3388 (ask for Mickie, Shirly or Bernard), or drop us an email at linsweb@linsad.com.my or visit www.linsad.com.my / www.facebook.com/linsadv.

Are you prepared to fight your way into your customers’ hearts?

Are you prepared to fight your way into your customers’ hearts?

Your customers are now being constantly bombarded by info on the internet, TVs, Radios, Newspapers and Magazines. And more are getting influenced by the ads powered by brands. Are you one of them?

Your customers are also smart enough to “unsubscribe” your emails/newsletters, delete your text messages, “unfollow” your page and more.

The risk of losing customers is hence on the rise.

Communicating your brand message into your customers’ hearts is just like showing your special someone that you love them very much. It takes time, effort and most importantly communication.

Brand-Activation-Infographic

We at LINs.AD specialize in helping brands communicate their message in a thousand ways, making sure that your customers continue falling in love with your brand, not your competitors.

 

Find out how to make your customers fall in love with you!

Contact +603-92213388 for an obligation-free consultation with Mickie/Shirly/Bernard.

Website: www.linsad.com.my

Email: linsweb@linsad.com.my

 

 

BRAND-BUILDING FOR MALAYSIAN SMEs/SMIs: GETTING STARTED


Puzzle 1

SMEs/SMIs form the backbone of the Malaysian economy, contributing some 70% to our GDP. But we have yet to reach the stage where we’re capable of producing globally-recognized brands. And this is mostly due to local SMEs/SMIs lacking proper understanding of branding and its many benefits. Right now, there’s simply too much pre-occupation with short-term profits and a lack of a long-term view and investment, where branding is concerned.

 

What’s in a brand?

Puzzle 2

Is `branding’ just a matter of advertising, designing slogans and logos, and coining catchy names? Yes, these are important if you want your customers to remember you, but what are the values you want them to associate with your brand? A brand is holistic, as in it requires time and experience for your customers to know you, and more important, build a `relationship’ with your brand. Put simply, to build your brand, you’ve to build an emotional relationship with your prospects and target audience. If you can achieve this, you will succeed in encouraging return customers, thanks to the loyalty fostered through their emotional connection with your brand!

 

Why’s it necessary to brand?

Puzzle 3

Competitors can copy your technology, products, services, systems or processes. The only one thing they can’t copy is your brand image. That’s because your brand image is YOU, the very DNA of your company! A successful branding exercise hence involves the building of an image so powerful and lasting that no competitor can replicate it. It won’t be easy, but the rewards more than make up for the effort. For one, a powerful brand has the power to ride out tough times (think `Apple’). Another reward is that a strong brand transcends countries and industries, and will definitely have it easier gaining access to new markets.

 

Expense or intangible asset?

Puzzle 4

Brand successfully, and you will even get to charge premium prices that your customers will happily pay up for, thanks to their `emotional connection’ to your brand! It’s OK to think `short-term’ (money-out), but unless you wish to terminate your company’s going-concern within the foreseeable future, it’d be equally wise to think `long-term’ (money-out now, money-in later). Brands are strategic intangible assets. If we take a look at brand value and market capitalization, between 50% and 72% of the stock exchange’s worth is represented by intangible assets, with a large number of these assuming the form of brands. The bottom-line is simple: A strongly-branded company is able to withstand bust periods better, and better positioned to rise in boom periods.

 

It’s never too late!

Puzzle 5

We’ll be very brief with our conclusion. No, it’s not impossible for you to brand yourself, no matter how small your budget may be. And yes, the key to a successful branding exercise is consistency – you need to send out consistent messages about how you want to be perceived. `Branding’ is not just some vague catchphrase; it’s something you can do, and something you need to do. And yes, we at LINs.AD can and will take you through the steps, as your advertising, marketing and branding solutions partner!

 

What makes or breaks a brand?


What makes or breaks a brand?

Read this especially if you’re an SME/SMI owner

Brandz chart

Congratulations!

You’ve taken that all-essential first step (or rather, plunge) and invested precious effort and resources into establishing your company, and promoting your brand.

But understand this. Your brand is so much more than your company name and your logo. Both are important, yes, but they are merely two creative elements of your brand.

Your brand is the sum of the experience your customers and prospects have with your company. And a strong brand communicates what your company does, and how it does it. It establishes trust and credibility with external parties, and defines your relationship and interaction with your customers.

Put simply, your company’s brand is its personality: The way you want customers and prospects to perceive you; how your products or services influence their lives; the emotions and conscious thoughts crossing their minds, whenever your brand is mentioned.

And no, you don’t need to be an MNC to engage in successful branding. Lest you forget, even today’s most valuable brand, “Apple”, started small and grew over the decades from the dream of two young entrepreneurs.

Bottom-line, the world’s top brands started small, but they share one common trait: They channelled strategized, considerable effort into their branding efforts, and continue to do so, even today. They knew how they wanted to be perceived, and worked consciously towards this.

 

Branding: A quick checklist for SMEs/SMIs to move forward with

  • More than releasing `new’ products & services

The marketplace is already over-saturated with products and services, all accompanied by `Buy Me!’ tags. Instead of just being `another face’ in this maddening crowd, why not position your brand as something that customers actually need, actually want and actually derive great value from?

  • Location? Nope, not really relevant anymore!

If you’re small, you’ve a valuable advantage. You’re more mobile, and chances are, your overheads tend to be lower. This allows smaller brands to compete very effectively with larger ones, because you’re capable of reaching out to your customers anywhere. And in today’s internet age, all you really need is a good web presence – no matter where your company is physically based.

  • Be different, but not for the sake of being different

Remember all that talk about `going the extra mile’? Well, customers always expect `a bit more’ from most brands, no matter the product or service purchased. And if you’re an SME/SMI, you should be able to deliver great value, via personalized products, services and communications with your customers. Now, that’s being `different’, by really being different.

  • Quality, quality, quality

It’s not good enough, these days, to make a good first impression. Your products and services represent your brand, and there’s simply no substituting quality, on any account. Remember, customers no longer have to put up with poor service or defective products, because where you fail to deliver, your competitors will step up to the challenge.

  • Content marketing

If you’re relying solely on the media (read: external parties) to help you promote you brand, you’re in for a very long wait. As an SME/SMI, you need to not only keep up, but also stay ahead of the competition, by finding ways to create useful and unique content about your brand. Ultimately, it’s about your `brand personality’, and the story you share with your customers that make the difference.

  • Brand reputation and presence

Word of mouth, word by media – note the emphasis on the word `word’. What your customers say about your brand can make or break it. And you need not be told again, of course, that it’s important to explore new, emerging markets with excellent growth prospects. Take a look around you; from the vibrant economies of China, Indonesia and India, to the booming economies of Africa and South America.

  • Listen to your customers and communicate a clear value proposition to them

Even the world’s most valuable brand, Apple, does this. Despite late co-founder Steve Jobs’ notorious temper, he continued to emphasize the importance of not only giving customers what they want, but also serving them products that exceed expectations. This is an excellent example of a clear value proposition, communicated both explicitly and succinctly to customers. And this is why Apple is the world’s #1 brand!

 

This is where LINs.AD comes in

Let it never be disputed that Malaysian SMEs/SMIs have produced and continue to produce world-class products and services. Unfortunately, this won’t do much good, if your prospective customers don’t know (or care) about what you’ve to offer them.

Let us show you how you can make an “Icon of Your Brand”, locally and globally. You might be pleasantly surprised to know that the process isn’t as difficult as you imagine it to be!

So talk to us today. You’ve nothing to lose, after all.

APPROACHING THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE for SME and SMIs

APPROACHING THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE for SME and SMIs

STEP BY STEP, THROUGH SELF-PERSEVERANCE

Nanyang-Cover

Small and Medium Enterprises/Industries (SMEs/SMIs) form the backbone of the Malaysian economy. They are, of course, influenced by variables such as the politics and government of the day, among other factors.

In order to succeed, regardless of circumstances, SMEs and SMIs must strive to be self-sustaining, as opposed to depending on a particular market only to remain a going-concern.

And one such way this can be achieved, is by establishing and promoting one’s brand of products or services. It isn’t good enough to just advertise and market a product or service; you need to be able to convince people as to why your product or service is better than the rest. To this end, there is certainly no better way to maintain a going-concern, than the successful branding of your company.

Nanyang-P2

Branding: The Odyssey Overseas

We live in times of great economic uncertainty, marked by rampant inflation and many other challenges. It is getting harder, but all the more essential, to survive in the business world, today.

The SME/SMI Dilemma

“If you aren’t your own boss, you’ll probably have to wait to replace someone else, to further your career.”

It took some 20 years’ experience as a creative director, marketer and sales consultant to a diverse portfolio of SMEs and SMIs for LINs.AD Director Mickie Teo to arrive at this conclusion. He also bemoans the fact that an overwhelming majority of local SME/SMI owners aren’t bothered with strategy and strategizing, or with the consideration of exploring markets beyond local shores.

So, other than `persevering’ and `never giving up’, what does it take for an SME/SMI to remain competitive – and indeed, stand out from the rest of the competition – in a globalized world?

For starters, Mickie suggests that local SMEs/SMIs can explore new avenues to broaden their customer base through `conventional’ methods such as the Internet, to learn more about the possibilities availed to them.

 

(But) It’s All Still In The Mind

Let it never be disputed that Malaysian SMEs and SMIs do produce an unbelievable array of good and services of world-class quality.

It, however, remains debatable, as to whether Malaysian SMEs and SMIs prioritize proper, structured strategizing as an integral part of their business plans.

The bottom-line remains simple: You may have the best product or best quality in the world, but if you fail to capture the hearts and minds of your customers, you’ll only lose out to even inferior competitors.

Not even size makes a company invulnerable. There are renowned hypermarkets and grocery chains scaling-down their operations all over the world, simply because they failed to adapt to local cultures and circumstances in the countries they were operating in.

More than a mere question of `adaptability’, SMEs and SMIs need to remain mindful of the numerous challenges affecting them. For, just as change is the only constant, it would be hard for any SME/SMI to survive – let alone make it big – in a globalized world, without a proper plan of action.

 

A Stepping Stone To International Success 

Mickie has served as a guest speaker and forum moderator at several SME/SMI conventions, over the past few years. His aim is singular: To convince Malaysian SMEs and SMIs of the importance of proper branding and to subsequently guide them on how they can slowly but surely establish a foothold in the international market, by promoting their products and services abroad.

He shares his experience of being invited by the internationally-acclaimed Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) to a branding forum it organized, several years ago. As the umbrella organization for all Hong Kong-based SMEs and SMIs, the HKTDC is one of the most prolific councils in the world; holding numerous exhibitions and expos all around the world.

This is done so that Hong Kong SMEs and SMIs are presented with the opportunity to penetrate new markets and collaborate with local players, in taking their brands global. Put simply, these overseas exhibitions and expos serve as platforms for companies to network with and acquaint themselves with new markets.

Mickie expresses genuine surprise at the fact that despite Chinese and European companies wishing to invest handsomely in the Malaysian market, many Malaysian SMEs and SMIs continue to lag in terms of expertise, and consequently, suffer from lack of branding.

He opines that this is truly a golden opportunity, wasted. Comparing trends way back to the 1990s, when the Chinese market (for example) was only beginning to open up to foreign trade and there were plenty of pitfalls back then, Mickie feels that in contrast, there is an abundance of investors waiting to welcome Malaysian investment.

“So why not join them, take your investment and brand to where they are, and see how you can reap handsome returns from one of the world’s largest markets?” Mickie asks.

Of course, he also cautions that if local SMEs and SMIs were to enter any foreign market unprepared, things will rarely work out in their favour. As the axiom goes, failing to plan is indeed planning to fail.

Ultimately, Mickie contends, everything boils down to whether a company has a sound marketing and branding strategy, or not.

Nanyang-P3

To Enjoy Success, A Paradigm Shift Is (Usually) Necessary

“What makes an SME or SMI successful? Is it experience, pricing, service or quality?”

These four factors may seem very fundamental, but they form the very crux of `branding’; i.e. the very ingredients needed for a company to outshine its competitors. Indeed, it could be safely surmised that branding is the `lifeblood’ of a company, with the power to shape its fate.

There’s also the idiom, `if one wishes to reach the moon, one must first target the stars’. But how would any organization that fails to set its own targets go about reaching for the proverbial `stars and moon’?

 

Local SMEs/SMIs’ Biggest Foibles

Mickie regrets that most local SMEs/SMIs consider advertising to be an `expense’, as opposed to `investment’. And since the local perception of `advertising’ usually encompasses `marketing, strategizing, packaging and planning’, these essential activities are usually put on a backburner, for `fear of bleeding the company dry’.

Put simply, the local mind-set is simple: Ads are a waste of money. On the contrary, internationally-established companies view advertising as an indispensable investment in their future.

While change may be the only constant, it is only human nature to resist change, especially when implemented abruptly. But Mickie contends that if local SMEs/SMIs are to effect change effectively, they must possess at least six times the determination to do so.

Much of the willpower to change lies in perception. For instance, where investment strategies are concerned, many local SMEs/SMIs still cling to the belief that they must earn at least a decent buck first, before they can even consider advertising and branding. Their international counterparts, however, believe that strategic positioning and planning (including advertising and branding plans) must be streamlined first, before they can truly taste success.

Similarly, where advertising and branding are concerned, local SMEs/SMIs tend to think that advertising is an expensive exercise that would only deplete their precious financial resources. Their international counterparts, on the other hand, believe that advertising remains a pre-requisite towards enjoying significant returns-on-investment (ROI).

But then again, what is `branding’? Are we talking about logos, advertising, events et al?

Mickie reveals that at present, not many local SME/SMI owners are aware of the significant difference between branding, marketing and advertising. To them, all three are one and the same.

A company’s sales record will help it identify consumer and market trends, in order to improve on future ROI. And this involves sound marketing strategy, supported by promotional events and tactics. But how exactly would sales and marketing help strengthen a company’s brand, despite both requiring relatively significant financial outlays?

 

Brands, Like Fine Wine, Only Get Better With Age

Mickie’s co-director, Shirly, now spoke up. She explains that advertising is one of the many ways to invest in a branding effort, but it’s not a be-all-and-end-all. For a brand to be truly valuable, the elements it consists of – including image, mind-set, strategy and quality control (QC) – must also be up to mark.

Likewise, for local SMEs/SMIs to penetrate overseas markets, they must have good Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to ensure efficient operations, at all times. The ultimate goal of course is to augment one’s brand, which will only get better, the longer it’s been around.

Concurring with Shirly’s opinion, Mickie shares the example of Taiwanese pineapple tarts, which are now seen as an essential part of Taiwan and Taiwanese culture. With the mere mention of a product as humble as `pineapple tarts’, the name `Taiwan’ – as a brand – now almost immediately cross the minds of many people across the globe.

Malaysian SMEs/SMIs will do well by taking this cue, and identifying USPs that will immediately differentiate them from the rest of the crowd.

 

Self-Awareness Of Comfort Zone

Local SMEs/SMIs would do well to take stock of present circumstances, and think of themselves as `showrooms’. This is because showrooms are easily viewed and scrutinized by everyone, and it is only by bearing this in mind, that local companies can strategize accordingly.

And lest anyone disputes the vast potential of Malaysian brands, Mickie and Shirly revealed that the combined value of Malaysia’s top 30 brands in 2012 – including the likes of `Padini’, `Acson’, `Secret Recipe’ and `Marry Brown’ – was approximately RM1.2 billion.

 

QC Key To Sustainability

Mickie suggests that local SMEs/SMIs set a 5-year target in building their brands. The process inevitably starts with the creation of brand awareness.

Citing famous local brand `Ah Huat White Coffee’ as an example, Mickie commented that it was evident the company knew it wanted to establish a foothold in the huge Chinese market. And to this end, its SOPs, strategies and even staff programs were all geared towards promoting the brand, not only locally, but in China too.

In conclusion, stringent QC remains yet another pre-requisite, for a brand to survive the gruelling test of time.