Can you imagine Germany without its
What about France without its haute couture?
Or Japan without its sophisticated consumer electronics?
These are perceptions created over the years to position
a country, and perceptions of a particular country can
influence our decisions on investment, tourism, education,
lifestyle or the purchase of its products and services.
Even Malaysia is encouraging its local brands to be
equipped for the global market challenge.
Malaysia’s differentiation is diversity –
in its culture, people and resources. With its rich
heritage and the nation’s Vision 2020, Malaysia
is set to level among developed nations through constant
developments and improvements. Within just 50 years
of independence, Malaysia has given the world celebrated
brands of personality, product, service, structure,
culture and the list goes on. We are also capable of
creating differentiated brands for the world by adding
quality, excellence, design and innovation in the roots
of ‘Made in Malaysia’ labels.
One of the most celebrated ‘Made in Malaysia’
personality is Nicol David. She became the first Asian
woman to be ranked World Number 1 in women’s squash
ngs.asp). She differentiated herself from others in
sports with the power of determination and consistency…
to win. In December 2005, she won the Hong Kong World
Open to become the youngest world champion and even
defended her World Open title in the following year.
Determined as she is, Nicol sets world records to be
the first Malaysian to win the coveted world championship
for two consecutive years, and the fourth person in
history to retain the world championship (www.womensworldopen.com/today2006.htm).
Certainly, Nicol has risen in name while placing Malaysia
on the world map of sports.
Beyond promoting Malaysia in the global arena, the
renowned Perodua is generating great Return On Investments
(ROI) for the country through the exports of Perodua
cars to countries including Singapore, Brunei Darussalam
and as far as the United Kingdom. In 1994, when most
car manufacturers were focusing on medium to high powered
cars, Perodua differentiated itself by introducing smaller,
economical cars to the untapped market. Giving credits
to its remarkable commitment to quality, design and
Perodua saw an all-time high booking of 20,000 units
in December 2007 alone, and closed the year with sales
of more than 160,000 units (http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/
If you speak to a cab driver in Kuala Lumpur, he would
tell you that the first place most international visitors
want to visit is the Petronas Twin Towers. It is clear
that the world equates Malaysia with the monumental
stature. When the Petronas Twin Towers was completed
in 1998, they were the tallest buildings in the world.
Today, the buildings have passed on their ‘tallest’
title and yet, the structures have remained firmly rooted
as the nation’s truly iconic and distinctive symbol.
Another architectural wonder among tourists is the
avant-garde Kuala Lumpur International Airport, fondly
known as the KLIA. Costing to approximately US$3.5 million,
the design was constructed with a differentiated “airport
in the forest and forest in the airport” concept,
surrounded by green space. With the co-operation of
the Forest Institute of Malaysia, a section of rain
forest was transplanted from the jungle and placed in
the satellite building. Since its inception, the KLIA
has become one of Southeast Asia’s major aviation
hubs. Adding to its accolades, the structure of the
nation’s pride was voted World’s Best Airport
for two consecutive years in 2005 and 2006 (www.klia.com.my).
With impressive products and structures that brand
the nation, culture is the essence that shapes the nation.
Malaysia has a unique culture that sets the country
apart with its multi-cultural and multi-racial society.
Cultural celebrations are shared among all ethnic groups,
which strengthen the unity ties and promote harmony
among its people. When cultural festivals happen together
or a few days apart, this gives rise to the joint celebrations
of Kongsi-Raya and Deepa-Raya. These celebrations truly
define Malaysia’s distinctive culture that bonds
its people together.
Malaysia is creating brands parallel to international
standards – from personalities, products, services,
structures and cultures – each with its unique
brand differentiation. It is a clear proof that Malaysians
can compete among international competitors on a global
forefront. The challenge is to continue maintaining
its difference to attract more mind share in order to
capture greater market share. Why? Because differentiation
makes a product branded… and branded means wanted.
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