David has spent most of his life creating, and growing strong, valuable brands that are meaningfully differentiated and grow shareholder value.

See The Top 50

Following yesterdays post many people have asked which brands make up the entire top 50, so here you are… a video that gives you the complete run down of our  “BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Indonesian Brands 2016”. Video by Tuhin…Nice job Tuhin and thanks. And congratulations to every brand that made the 2016 Indonesian rankings.

Pooling Resources – Trend 8

Pooling Resources

Pooling resources One of the ways businesses in China will adjust to slowing economic growth is to focus on efficiency, delivering strong productivity while reducing costs. Crowd-sourcing labour is one way to achieve this, and we expect to see this help fuel agile brands and businesses in the year ahead.

The competitive nature of the in-store environment means brands have had little choice but to use traditional sales and promoter businesses; in a tougher economic climate, the need to connect with stores and consumers is just as important, but the pressure on costs means brands are looking for new ways to achieve this. Crowd-sourced labour – something we’ve seen succeed in many mature markets – is something we expect to see more of in China’s retail industry in the year ahead, particularly in lower-tier cities where there is a hunger for market information but not necessarily the budgets to gather it in the traditional way. Deploying people whose work is paid for in ‘slices’ of time can help give brands a presence in remote places at a very reasonable cost.

This approach has, until now, been mainly used by start-ups trying to minimize their cash burn; this year, we expect crowd-sourced labour to be deployed by more mainstream brands as they work to reduce costs.

The Chinese New Year, known in china as spring festival, is the country’s most important holiday. The Chinese New Year is based on a calendar established about 4,700 years ago. Various legends explain the origin of the Chinese New Year. One describes how people dreaded the New Year because a fearsome beast named Nian annually terrorised the population and devoured children. Then one year a child appeared dressed in red. The beast, frightened by the colour, fled and never returned. That’s why the Chinese New Year traditionally features red lanterns and noisy firecrackers to ward off evil spirits.

The Chinese New Year is based on a calendar that calculates time using both lunar and solar events. Time passes in 12- year cycles, with each year represented by an animal of the Chinese zodiac. Traditionally, people prepare special foods and hope for a future of good luck. They attend many family dinners, starting with a New Year’s Eve feast. Travel home for the family reunion produces a mass migration. The New Year period culminates in the lantern festival, a joyful celebration around the first new moon in the lunar New Year.


Portable Payment – Trend 7

Portable Payments

The role of mobile phones in consumers’ lives will lead to increased use of mobile payment solutions in the year ahead. To meet consumers’ demand for convenience and security, growing numbers of retailers are expected to provide mobile payment options. Accustomed to using mobile phones in every aspect of their lives, consumers in China now want to be able not just to discover products and compare prices on their mobile, but to be able to complete a purchase and pay for it securely without having to look up from their screens. There are huge opportunities for retailers and brands to satisfy this appetite for technology and convenience.

Mobile payment solutions enable retailers to attract new consumers and encourage shoppers to complete a purchase on the spot. The mobile also creates a perfect platform on which retailers can extend their marketing and advertising – and drive loyalty programs. Recent developments in mobile payment include Alipay’s integration into European checkouts, and leading e-tailers developing their own in-house payment solutions, such as Walmart Pay. We expect to see more of these types of solutions in the Year of the Monkey.

These payment solutions have the added benefit of generating valuable data which, when added to the streams of data that retailers already collect, will enable stores to better target consumers with products, services, marketing messages and loyalty offerings that are more likely to hit their mark. All of these pay points are adding to the ecosystem of data and will provide a new axis with which to target consumers, this will shift even more of the control towards businesses like Alibaba and Tencents Wechat.

We see this being a crucial pivot point in the mobile payment power play and perhaps the quickest move away from traditional payment as the resulting data generated from it will increase the influence of those companies that control it

Small-screen social experience – Trend 6

Small csreen China

The rise of mobile commerce is changing not only the way people make a purchase, but also how they research, experience and share information about the brands they consider. Chinese consumers are increasingly sophisticated and technology savvy, and social media content is deepening its influence. Consumers are demanding a more personalized shopping experience both online and in bricks-and-mortar stores. They want great service, they expect products to be available right away, and they want fast delivery. But simply meeting these expectations is no longer enough; it is just the minimum, and there is little margin for error. To mark themselves out among savvy and connected consumers, brands and retailers must now deliver a great experience.

That experience must translate – especially given the growing spending power of the expanding millennial age group – across all platforms. It is now essential that mobile and social media are as seamless a part of the shopping experience as they are a part of consumers’ everyday lives. Content that works on a mobile – from both a function and an engagement perspective – is the first hurdle in the race to deliver a great mobile experience. Demand for more, better mobile content will grow in the Year of the Monkey, driven by the rise in mobile commerce.

This requires a fresh approach to marketing; one that delivers a sense of closeness to the consumer and one that reflects and anticipates the way people use their mobiles to shop. The intimacy with which consumers relate to their mobile phones must translate to the relationships that brands and retailers build and the experiences they deliver.

Chinese New Year Is Approaching

Chinese New Year Celebrations

Apple’s ubiquitous products do not change one iota from market to market.

But they are starting to dabble in limited editions that tap key moments in specific countries consumers lives.

Announced today for Chinese New Year is one such initiative.

Two Apple Sports watches to celebrate Chinese New Year – the year of the monkey. These will be available in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan.

Apple CNY Watch

Expect more of this type of activity by manufactures, especially in wearable tech, in the future.

Apple, Selfridges, Art and Branding

Apple Windows at Selfridges

It was odd.

The windows of the iconic department store Selfridges in London were all covered up with Rolex banners so you could not see in.

Then on Thursday all was revealed.

The covers came off. Not a Rolex in sight.

24 windows with a massive Apple Watch installation.

The theme?

Each window has flowers inspired by the flowers on the “Motion” face of the Apple Watch. Each window features an Apple watch as well.

It’s a tremendous, eye catching piece of art and brand experience.

A fusion of art, retail and brand that we should be seeing more of. And judging by the passers by… head turning and stop in their tracks ‘must take a closer look’… staggeringly impactful.

The “flowers” themselves are created through a number of techniques from 3D printing to more traditional resin casting. There are eight different flower variations decorating the windows, each of which was envisioned, scaled, sculpted, and hand-painted by artists. All in all, they created 24 large, 50 medium, 240 “small plus” and 5,525 small flowers.

The effort and attention to detail is paralleled to the original photography Apple used for the creation of their “Motion” watch face. For those flowers Apple shot them as they were flowering in real time. One flower taking 285 hours and more than 25,000 shots.

See all the windows in this on line flip-book and download the window image montage at the top of this post.

Congratulations to each artist involved. You have my respect.

Advertising? Retailing? Brand Experience? Art? …Discuss…









Now It Gets Interesting


Not content with the established big national and religious holidays being turned into major shopping events retailers over time have invented their own calendar of shopping holidays that no one asked for or really cares about..

Undoubtedly the most successful of these recently has been ‘singles day’. This self-created day has been taken to epic proportions by China’s Jack Ma’s Alibaba.

What began in 1993, as a student led anti-Valentine’s Day at Nanjing University, situated in the capital of Jiangsu province in Eastern China, where single people could buy things for themselves has become a gigantic consumption event.

Alibaba embraced the concept to boost sales it has now become the World’s biggest online retails sales day. It compares with “Cyber Monday” in the US, the Monday after Thanksgiving, which is also marketed as a big online shopping day.

Here are the Alibaba ‘Singles Day’ numbers.

In November 2014, Alibaba rang up record sales of $9.3 billion dollars from “Singles Day” yes that right $9.3 Billion in 24 hours.

Nearly all the 30,000 merchants on the internet retailer’s platform offered discounts the 2014 event attracted the participation of more international brands a well including Japanese label Muji, Spanish clothing retailer Desigual and American outdoor clothing label The North Face.

That 24 hours trading resulted in 278.5 million packages in transit through China. Jack Ma himself appeared to reporters to say the logistics of delivering these packages made him nervous.

To find out more about singles day watch this video


So enter the latest ‘Prime Day’

Slated for today Wednesday July 15.

This time by Amazon. Ostensibly to celebrate Amazon’s 20 year birthday and for the now ubiquitous 24 hour period only.

Billed by Amazon as bigger than Black Friday with deeper discounts and new deals being released every few hours. Its point of difference is that it’s only available for Amazon Prime subscription service members and in only 9 countries.

In normal times that would be that.

But we don’t live in normal times.

We live in a dog eat dog fight in omni channel retail. So enter Walmart to the party. Raining of Amazons parade – or at least trying to.

It is launching 2,000 exclusive roll backs, across categories such as electronics, baby, home and toys and it will last for 90 days. In addition to these Walmart promises some ”atomic deals”


Perhaps a year ago Walmart could have ignored this Amazon move but not today. With its stock having lost some 23% of its value since January 2015, it needs The Street to know that it’s still an Amazon fighting force.

Amazon meanwhile is perusing its own strategy. Whilst it is notoriously fugal with its sales and customer data. It is not too difficult to see the Amazon Prime strategy at work here, on Prime Day.

Signing on more Prime members. According to non Amazon sources 45% of Amazon customers in the US have signed onto Prime. That’s some 40 Million and that’s nice but this is even nicer…

Amazon prime members spend more than double non-members.

Happy Birthday indeed.

The Next Few Days Will Be Crucial


And no I don’t mean Greece and the Euro…

The Shanghai Composite Index has been seeing a lot of Red. Normally in China red is good…But not this type of red.

The Shanghai Composite has lost some 30% of its value since its June 12 peak.

Over the past two weeks of trading more than $3Trillion has been wiped off the value of Chinese companies. Everything in China is big but if you put it into context that is more than the Spanish, Russian, Italian, Swedish and Dutch stock markets combined according to The Financial Times.

Perhaps the most significant element to this is that the policy makes in Beijing have been trying to stop the decline with a number of financial measures, not least buying shares it appears. But, unusually the strong arm of Beijing is having little impact with both direct and indirect intervention.

Bank of America Merill Lynch forecasts the composite to close at the end of December at around 3,600 from the June high of 5,166.

This might not be far off the mark for if this goes on for much longer more investors will face margin calls which will require more liquidation of their holdings…

This is the first time many retail investors in China have felt the pain of the sea of red. Investing in the stock market has been a one-way bet. Now they are experiencing the downside in investing in Companies they really don’t understand and for the first time they don’t like what they see.

Don’t underestimate the Chinese Government determination to bring order back to the market. Thy have thrown a lot at this problem but they still have more left.

Red really is the new black.

Interview with Sir Martin Sorrell

As part of the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable  Global Brands 2015 launch activity we interviewed WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell. Here you can see my interview with Martin. As 2015  is the 10th anniversary of the BrandZ global brand rankings we covered a lot of ground… I asked him first to give his perspective of the last 10 years from a global business leaders point of view. You might be surprised by his answer…

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