4 pieces of advice of Philip Kotler
With the world No.1 Marketing expert as Philip Kotler, each of his advice is considered a "golden rule". In his 30-hour visit to Vietnam, the "modern marketing' guru" talked to and we're pleased to quote 4 pieces of advice for Vietnamese brands intending to expand their markets.
Think South East Asia
This is also the name of the book (Think Asia) that of which Philip Kotler is a co-writer. He advised that Vietnamese brands should be careful when deciding to enter the big playground. At first, a brand must be strong in domestic market because this is the market where the brand is most supported by the customer. Some brands such as San Miguel, Acer, and Lenovo also start from domestic market before expanding into the region.
And if deciding to expand the market, Vietnamese brands should find a suitable playground. “In my opinion, Vietnamese brands should firstly think South East Asia. With the population of 500 million people in 10 countries, this is a considerable market, if not to say it is huge. Besides, the differences between these markets are smaller compared to Asia and the world”. He said, “Even if one would like to expand into American market, it’s better to start from the West coast where a big Asia community is living before penetrating the East coast .”
Philip Kotler created the PDB Principle, which stands for positioning, differentiation, and branding. Part of this principle is to find new markets, which is mentioned in his book “Lateral Marketing”, afterwards it was developed into the blue ocean strategy by two strategic marketers W.Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. According to him, exploring a new ocean helps the brand have a competitive position as well as setting a new competition principle instead of swimming in the same ocean belonging to bloodthirsty sharks.
In the seminar and dinner, he often used X-Men as a typical example for the blue ocean strategy – it is a shampoo for men. Philip Kotler did not hesitate to give free advice, “X-Men should research to understand more clearly about people who have not used its products yet and find out the reasons. X-Men should also expand its product range. The first step is to have customers, the second is how to keep your customers, and the third is how to make them continue buying more other things in the future.”
It should also be added that X-Men of ICP and Pho 24 of Nam An Group were chosen to be “the best Vietnam marketing solutions” by the professional committee of Saigon Marketing Magazine – in order to have a friendly dinner with “the greatest brain in the management world”.
Some people said that in some specific fields, a brand can be positioned to follow national position which has been set – for example, France is known for cosmetics and Italy for fashion.”This is an intelligent strategy. I know there is a leather manufacturer in Taiwan. After manufacturing the products, the color printing step will be proceeded in Italy to get marked “Made in Italy”. And that helps selling the products at 3 times more than normal price. Philip Kotler affirmed “If X-Men products get marked “Made in France”, they may have opportunities in American market.”
Many people attending the dinner were afraid that how to compete with big and experienced brands. “Concentration and differentiation are the key points to develop and protect yourself from the giants. For example, a company in German only concentrates on producing parasol and becomes the world’s biggest parasol manufacturer.”. “When specializing in one thing, we have the competition power to grow internationally. Products like food and clothes are products that require strong local identities; therefore, small companies often have competitive advantages against big companies.”
“Concentration strategy will allow the brand to make competitive advantages. Sometimes it is not so big but enough to be different. For example, Cross pen with lifetime warranty policy. A company producing Cimex cement installed GPS on each of its trucks to shorten the waiting time of the customers from 2 hours to 30 minutes. This is the key for brands to make a difference to compete and succeed.”
Thoroughly explore new tools
Communication cost maybe the biggest obstacle to Vietnamese brands. Advertising on TV, newspaper,and radio will make Vietnamese brands discouraged. For instance, an advertising page on The Wall Street Journal in America costs 500,000USD. Similarly, one page on Ashahi in Japan costs 430,000UD. Kotler said “30s TVC is a prerequisite but not the absolute condition. Brands must find how to win customers’ mindshare, then their heart share and finally thier soul share.
Therefore, he specially emphasized the new but effective communication tools such as online, word of mouth, blogs, SMS, MMS, webcasts, podcasts and social networking. The costs for these tools are not as expensive as the traditional tools. If a brand knows how to fully take use of these advantages, it has a chance to win.
(Saigon business - 25/8/2007)