Singapore (01/12/2011) – “A new world order is here. Are Asian brands ready?”
This was the question posed to more than 60 private and public sector leaders from around the region, who met at the fourth Shape the World Conference on 24 November at the Fullerton Hotel.
Through speaker presentations, a panel discussion and hands-on workshops, the conference explored the following aspects of the theme:
- trends and challenges affecting the rise of Asian brands;
- the development of a new generation of Asian leaders;
- organisational strategies to enable collaboration and innovation;
- the role of the public sector in nurturing the growth of Asian brands; and
- fresh strategic perspectives derived from an integrated business and design approach.
The panel of speakers comprised Jose Mari Oquiñena, Undersecretary for Special Concerns at the Presidential Communications Operations Office of the Philippine government; Idris T Vasi, CEO at DST, the leading telecommunications company in Brunei Darussalam; Melvin Tan, Managing Director at Cyclect, an engineering services group in Singapore; and Lawrence Chong, CEO at Consulus, the brand consultancy firm that organised the event.
“I think the conference had the right focus. There are more than three billion people in Asia. Our share of the world’s GDP is growing, which means our companies, our business and political leaders need to step up and drive business”, Vasi said.
“When you talk about growing a brand, it’s not just about the look and feel but it’s how you change business practices and how you go about implementing and executing on your business imperatives”, he added, saying that senior executives handling strategy and business development would benefit from attending the conference.
According to Tan, the ideas presented would be particularly useful for companies that sought to expand out of their home countries into and beyond the Asia Pacific region, as participants “received different perspectives and ideas on how to steer the businesses into that direction”.
Attendee Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive at iDA Singapore, shared Tan’s sentiment.
“For many Asian companies this is a great opportunity, because Asia is indeed a growing market. I strongly recommend this [conference] to Asian companies who are trying to see how they can penetrate this fast-growing market”, Khoong said.
Three interactive workshops or Brand Labs gave participants opportunities to practise applying purpose-driven approaches to leadership strategy, organisational strategy and customer service strategy.
“[We] talked about how we give people the first impression of our company, how we condition the people, how we engage our customers and what kind of memory we want to leave with our customers”, Lim Cheong Kee, Managing Director at Life Transcends, a startup that specialises in coaching, training and mentoring, said.
“It’s been a very insightful event. I’ve learned that when I start up the company is the best time to prepare it with a purpose—not just for the company to earn money, but how we can add value to society as well”, Lim added.
The purpose-driven approach to branding showcased at the conference struck a chord with Oquiñena, who champions volunteerism through his work in Gawad Kalinga, a non-government organisation that builds communities to end poverty.
He mentioned that he saw the conference as a platform for collaboration in collectively addressing global challenges and exploring how Asian brands can become more purpose driven and sustainable.
“The Shape the World Conference is becoming a forum for Asian leaders who are interested to network and to use their power wisely to shape a new Asia, one that goes beyond profit and impacts corporate cultures and helps drive sustainable innovation”, Chong said.
Among the objectives of every Shape the World Conference is to come up with tangible action plans. This year’s discussions led to an agreement to form a leadership network to encourage collaboration and drive partnerships among the members.
Attendees also started plans to launch an award for emerging Asian leaders at the next Shape the World Conference, scheduled to be held in October 2012 in Singapore.