The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”
Asia is all about branding. Just have a look at the people in the streets. Clothes, shoes, glasses, bags, wallets, belts, ties… are covered with identified logos and names – LV, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Cartier, Mont Blanc are amongst the favourites.
Therefore, some smaller brands have smartly decided to play on the customer’s perception and benefit from the big name brands at low costs, trying to eat into their market share.
What strikes me about these cheaper brands is that they now have fancy retail outlets in expensive malls, colourful websites, marketing campaigns, and compete openly with the original creators. They are not like the illegal fake copies but they have created a brand with a twist that resembles the international brand.
Three examples amongst many are:
Crocodile (a Malaysian brand created in 1945!) vs Lacoste:
or Reef vs Quiksilver:
My favorite: Jimmy Chia vs Jimmy Choo:
I think competition is a very good thing for us customers and obliges the big brands to think very closely about their pricing strategy, trademarking and the quality control of their products. After all, the only way to win against these fierce and shameless brand raiders, as they are within their legal rights (they haven’t been sued I guess) is fair price with higher quality and strong marketing campaign.