| Siti Hajar |
WITH the consideration that local opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) growth is limited, local businesses are being urged to explore their potential through continuous improvements by way of ensuring that the future of their establishment remains relevant in an ever changing environment.
Speaking at the opening of the ‘Art of Branding Workshop’ organised by the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) yesterday, Haji Yahkup bin Haji Menudin, Chief Executive of AITI, expressed that branding is very critical for growth and allows SMEs to take their products beyond Brunei’s borders.
Carrying the theme ‘How to Build a Tech Brand that Shapes the World’, the workshop was attended by about 80 participants comprising representatives from AITI Accredited Business (AAB) Status businesses, those from the ICT industry, production houses and members of the public.
Rebranding is looked at by conservatives as changing marketing collateral but it was highlighted yesterday that a business brand goes beyond skin deep and changes from the inside needs to be taken into full consideration.
In an interview with workshop facilitator Lawrence Chong, Co-Founder and CEO of Consulus Singapore who has had experience working with a number of Bruneian companies, it was pointed that the branding of a company including SMEs boils down to its human resource experience that provides customers with exactly what they need.
“The human resource structure in Asia is very traditional where collaboration and the ways people are promoted need to change. It isn’t about an era of excess competition but rather, getting the right fit and right model for people to compete healthily and not in a negative way,” he said.
He further explained that Brunei is lacking the understanding that the business model and organisation need to change before the brand can be effective and although there is resistance against change, “what we are trying to do is tell people why we are changing and that is what is important”.
With many local businesses encouraged to go international, branding is an essential part of the first steps to making it big in a bigger world.
“Branding is a given because when you go out there, you need to present your services clearer, how to communicate your values and what you are offering and if you don’t brand properly you won’t be able to sell,” which involves the participation of staff who must be aligned with the company’s objective and ambitions.
The mindset of SMEs also need to change, he stressed, “Because many Bruneian companies think that they cannot compete on an international level”, and what they need to be as well is realistic in their processes and decision making.
“They need to be honest about their strengths and work on this along with their weaknesses. They have to be factual about their issues and then try to work with others to get help and really sort out in terms of what works and what doesn’t work,” he reminded.
The Chief Executive of AITI also reminded SMEs to be “mindful of protecting their trademarks and intellectual property as these are vital in enhancing a value of assets to an organisation”.
A first in a series of knowledge sharing, the workshop was aimed at promoting industry awareness on the techniques and strategies to sustain and grow a tech business focussing on several topics on the various methods to brand-building, creating a strategic brand roadmap and a step-by-step approach of building a brand whilst at the same time learn of the challenges currently facing IT brands in Asia.