Tom Doctoroff

Japan brands will dominate consumer loyalty in Asia, while China brands will offer them competition only in the long run, although they are learning fast, says JWT’s North Asia CEO Tom Doctoroff in CNBC.


“Japanese brands are built on scale, heritage, product differentiation and significant (advertising) spending,” said Tom Doctoroff, North Asia CEO at J. Walter Thompson (JWT), who points out that much of the creative, brand building responsibilities for Japanese consumer firms have been outsourced to multinational agencies.

Doctoroff believes the country’s brands will continue to dominate consumer loyalty in Asia going forward, particularly because Japanese companies are ramping up their focus on international expansion…

“There is absolutely no Chinese brand right now that is actively preferred to Western or Japanese brands,” Doctoroff said.

However, he added that mainland consumer firms are beginning to understand the importance of image…

One such push by Chinese consumer firms to increase brand recognition is via product placement. The recently released Hollywood movie, Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, featured products from mainland names including PC-makerLenovo, flat-screen television manufacturer TCL and leading dairy products firm Yili.

This may be one small step in the right direction, but Doctoroff points out they still have a long way to go.

“The real barrier is the structure of Chinese organizations and their focus on short-term sales versus long term growth. Chinese CEOs are not solely motivated by gains in shareholder value, they have one eye focused on the market and the other one on political motivations,” he concluded.

More about Japan’s brand names in CNBC.

Tom Doctoroff is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch.

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