Friday, December 10, 2010








Assalamualaikum W.B.T, Good Evening and Salam 1Malaysia.

Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Lewre Lew,

President of Branding Associaton of Malaysia (BAM);

Mr. Clement Chen,

Chairman of the Working Committee;

Foreign Guests from the beautiful island of Maldives;

Members of the Media;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

1. First of all I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the organisers for their kind invitation for me to officiate this event.

2. I would also like to commend the Branding Association of Malaysia in organising their 10th Anniversary Dinner. Our Ministry fully supports the Branding Association of Malaysia in its worthwhile endeavours and we look forward to assisting one hundred global Malaysian brands to the international fore by the year 2020.

3. The Branding Association of Malaysia has over the last decade proven itself to be a useful organisation that champions both the interests of its members which has the overall effect of contributing to nation-building.

4. I am made to understand that it was ten years ago in July 2000, that a group of like-minded businessmen came together to pool together resources, share market information and create strength through networking. And through this sharing process they created an environment that was receptive to the branding of their products and services, Malaysian made – locally and globally. This eventually spurred brand awareness with a distinct Malaysian character and now 10 years on the Branding Association of Malaysia is a potent organisation with clear long-term objectives.

5. I am told that the the Branding Association of Malaysia’s great vision is to assist 100 Malaysian SMEs to be global brands by the year 2020. To achieve this vision I believe they need to work closely with local SMEs – to introduce, develop and differentiate Malaysian brands in the global market place.

6. The association’s mission is to help micro, small as well as mid-sized SMEs to move up the value chain by connecting the dots in branding knowledge through various means. I understand that some very successful events have been organised annually to this end; events such as the Brand Entrepreneurs Conference and Brand Builders Series provide a platform for entrepreneurs to exchange ideas in the development of brands. I am enthused by the fact that the Branding Association of Malaysia is playing a major role in pioneering brand awareness amongst businesses in Malaysia.

7. As products and services are easily replicable in today’s business environment, the biggest challenge for companies to compete in the open market is the ability to differentiate their products from their competitors. All other things being equal, the only feature that will help consumers identify and differentiate the product in the market is their BRAND.

8. Price and quality are no longer the only differentiators. It is the consumers’ perceptions that determine the perceived quality of your products and services. Businesses must compete with a distinct set of brand values. A well-known internet search engine that displays a singular word in four colours is easily recognizable today by both adults and children. Another icon instantly recognisable is only represented with a tick. The successes of these companies abroad bring us to an inevitable question – What are they doing right?

9. A strong brand image is the most vital asset and identity a company can develop. Companies must invest in building their brands. Branding is a necessity and not a luxury. Branding is too important to be neglected as it is a very powerful tool for expanding and growing trade. It is through great understanding of branding and its adoption that enables a country’s economy to spur to unprecedented heights.

10. Brands are assets that require plenty of nurturing and development. Therefore, the familiar adage of “great brands stand the test of time” still holds true to this day. Branding requires thorough implementation of a brand culture which must start from the top to bottom. It’s not just the registration of a name or a logo; it’s about a promise – a brand promise. It is about constantly exceeding consumers’ expectations through the delivery of superb product or service quality. Most important of all, it’s an assurance of a brand legacy that will be passed on and continue to benefit our future generations.

11. We have to capitalise on our country’s great reputation as a supplier of quality products by branding our products and services for in order to create a unique identity for Malaysia. In a highly competitive global marketplace, we need to develop strong brands to build consumer loyalty and preferences for Malaysian products and services. This is even more urgent now as numerous attractive alternative products are competing for buyers’ attention, a process which is further enhanced with the developments in ICT and the internet. To ensure Malaysia reaches even greater heights, branding must be adopted and practiced nationwide, be it for you or your products and offerings.

12. Today we mark the 10th Anniversary of the Branding Association of Malaysia and I’m delighted to see them taking up the challenge in empowering future Malaysian brand owners with their organisational strength. I am very happy to note that since this association’s inception more than 300 Malaysian brand builders have joined this honourable cause which is why this association has received continuous recognition and support by the government.

13. As Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry invited to grace this event, it is my hope that you will continue to support and nurture home-grown brands.

14. Michael Eisner, the former CEO of the Walt Disney Company puts into perspective when he said that, “A brand is a living entity – and it is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time, the product of a thousand small gestures”.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

15. Being a politician the brand that we are developing is 1Malaysia and the product is our beloved nation. It’s a product that is undergoing tremendous upheavals and change only to find its strengths not in anti-national sentiments but in a shared vision of a peaceful and developed-nation. Ours is a brand not for the disloyal to tarnish but for the deservingly loyal to reap the benefits. It is a brand that guarantees this Government’s willingness to listen to the Rakyat as much as every patriotic citizen makes sacrifices for the country.

16. But we are not the only ones at the throes of change. The world as we know it has fundamentally altered where rich nations aren’t as strong as they were thought to be and the so-called weak nations weren’t as poor as they were perceived to be. Perhaps the truth is that right and wrong ways of governance and the path to prosperity are really just a matter of space and time. Each nation has to determine for itself how best to protect its citizenry and develop. Look a little deeper and you will find that Malaysia was well ahead of current unfolding global events. Our unorthodox responses in the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis was the right response then only to be acknowledged and adopted as such today. For that matter our brand of parliamentary democracy and socio-economic inclusion while far from perfect could teach the world a thing or two.

17. My fellow countrymen, we must not veer from our common vision by reviling our country abroad. Let us regain our momentum and focus with greater zeal to make up for lost time.

18. Nelson Mandela, an extraordinary soul whom after serving 27 years in Robben Island prison rose to the heights of political power only to forgive his captors and forge national reconciliation had this to say, “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb”.

19. My message to you is simple – stand up for your country for every circle begins with an inception point.

20. I personally believe in the quality of integrity and especially in a brand that reveals itself in hard times. Our past success has been dubbed “The Malaysian Miracle”. Let us come together as 1Malaysia and work hard with perseverance to create another Malaysian miracle for the next generation to enjoy. And with that I take my leave.

Thank you.

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