Pinoy ‘smugness’ blamed for failure to break through global markets

Posted at 06/08/12 9:05 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Local brands fail to break through in the global market because Filipinos hold themselves back, a Philippine Marketing Association (PMA) official said.

“We’re so much limiting ourselves to our environment. We never extend ourselves, never reach out,” Donald Patrick Lim said at a media briefing in Taguig City for the second Asian Marketing Conference this July.

Lim, who heads the digital and relationship marketing arm of advertising firm McCann Worldgroup, added that while brands in Asia have been able to gain popularity outside their territories, local brands are shackled within the confines of the Philippines’s retail borders.

“Sure, we have Filipino brands that have reached other countries but compared to other brands, it appears these have been smug at the levels they’ve reached,” said Lim, also overall chairman of the Asian Marketing Conference (AMC) 2012.

He said while some Asian countries can boast of having won at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the largest and most prestigious global international annual awards for creative advertising and communications, the Philippines appear to easily accept not winning at all.

“And yet Filipinos are looked up to as the best creatives in the industry,” Lim added.

He said, “we never reach our potential because we hold ourselves back. We don’t seem to push hard enough even though we have the talent. We need to get out of our marketing shell.”

PMA President Gwenn Albarracin said this challenge comes at a time when they see a second downturn for the US economy, an extended period for grappling with the European debt crisis and a marked slowdown in China. “Amid this, companies still need to grow and survive and, hence, greater innovative ideas in marketing are required,” Albarracin told the same news briefing.

Lim said these ideas will be discussed in the AMC 2012 dubbed “Asiannovation 2.”

In this conference, experts from Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and other Asian countries will  discuss the evolution of consumers into “pro-sumers,” social networking into social listening and paid to free market research.

Notable among these speakers are Ashok Patro of Singapore, who co-created the online market research software Thoughtbuzz; Khin Ng, also of Singapore, who was behind the logo make-over of local companies WG&A and UCPB; TV host and publicist Eugenio “Boy” Abunda Jr.; and Ricky Alegre, chairman of the Advertising Board of the Philippines.

“Brands in Asia today are becoming really very aggressive and we can’t be left behind again,” Lim said. The 58-year-old nonprofit group expects some 600 participants to the conference, the same number as the first Asiannovation in 2008. Lim said about 20 percent of them would be composed of foreign delegates.