By Goh De No (Published 15 February 2010 in The Brunei Times)

The next big brand name in the international market will come from Brunei, said an executive at one of Asia’s leading brand consultancies.

Lawrence Chong, director of strategy, at Singapore-based Consulus Pte Ltd, said this is why his company has a presence in Brunei.

He said a lot of countries are represented by top brands, for example, Toyota for Japan and Singapore Airlines for Singapore.

“Bruneian projects need to get out into the international market and that will put Brunei on the map,” he said.

“Some of the boldest ideas are already happening in Brunei before the rest of the world. Serijunjung is one of them,” he said, referring to the high-end biscuit brand Consulus developed on behalf of the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources for the export market.

“It’s a whole new idea and concept. Surprisingly, because Brunei has traditional assets and is also intellectually connected to the world, you get the best of both worlds. It’s just a brilliant place because you get to deal within the limits of tradition, but at the same time be inspired by it and … deal with a dedicated branding approach,” Chong said.

He believed that if they can appeal to that, Brunei will be a reliable launch pad for some of the ideas happening.

He said Consulus has been in Brunei for four years and is now looking to set up a headquarters for Borneo in the Sultanate.

Consulus is set to move into a bigger office by the middle of the year, in turn, increasing head count and creating opportunities for talented locals.

“Our Brunei office has been led strongly by the country director, Hj Sapawi Bolhassan, and we have a bigger footprint now. So in accordance with our growing number projects, the size of our office will follow,” Chong said.

Chong believes that Bruneians are not willing to compromise on quality and are striving for greater things.

“One of the values we appreciate of our Bruneian team is their strength and integrity which is a rare trait in Asia, as many young people are swept by the temptation of quick gains at the expense of human dignity,” he said.

Brunei is relatively stable with a young population, he noted, adding that’s what Consulus can capitalise on.

He believes with Brunei as headquarters for the Borneo region and Southern Philippines, Consulus can spread its wings from the Sultanate to cover markets in neighbouring countries.

Chong also said that Consulus is interested in infrastructure projects, as the firm is now fairly active with the Brunei airport.

“Brunei was unexpected for us. We didn’t see this level of growth, but now we are capitalising on this. That’s also one of the reasons we took on the partnership with Superwater Marketing Sdn Bhd … because we are going to be here often, in fact, almost every week we are here,” he said, referring to a recent deal with the local company to export bottled water from Brunei.

Consulus’ move shows the firm believes Bruneians understand the value of good branding and design.

Consulus Brunei’s Director Hj Sapawi said that small to medium enterprises in Brunei will benefit from working with Consulus because there are good products from Brunei that just need better branding strategy and a unique product design.