In 2014 and 2015, Malaysia’s national airline dominated global headlines following two tragic incidents and the dithering management of those incidents by a poorly equipped team. And then in 2015 and early 2016, yet to be substantiated accusations of impropriety against the current administration has had a negative impact on the nation brand and is stalling any chance of a recovery of the country’s brand and reputation.
In this interview, Malaysia-based brand consultant Marcus Osborne looks at (nation) branding practices in Asia and Malaysia and how the Malaysia Airlines’ brand and reputation crisis has become an issue for Brand Malaysia in general.
- Why lacking data results in guesswork surrounding strategy and other executive decisions;
- How building a brand can be easier once a CEO understands what a brand is;
- How place branding is not about being liked, but about being trusted;
- Which is the most challenging part of building a place brand strategy;
- Why the old rules of marketing no longer apply.
Marcus, which is the difference between data-driven and creative-driven brand strategies?
This is a really good question and needs to be asked in place branding boardrooms around the world. For decades, information concerning consumers, their purchase criteria and the link between promotion and purchase was either too expensive or too difficult for companies to obtain. And even if data could be obtained, it took weeks or even months for the data to flow from stores and branches or field staff back to headquarters. Often, by the time it got back to HQ, it was too late to make any difference.
As a result, to build brands, companies had to put their faith in creativity, hoping that an innovative image, tagline or promotion would resonate with prospects and boost sales. In the 1960’s to the 1990’s, with few conduits to consumers and limited competition, this type of creative driven branding often worked, especially for many place brands.
Data driven branding on the other hand, gives CEOs and managing directors accountability and ROI-based justification.