Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The obsession with brands in Thailand

When I did PR back in Germany, one of our products was helping companies in re-branding and brand development. One reason why it was so important was that it gives the company an identity from what it can develop further. It was to a large extend an internal process rather than just marketing.

It turns out those who did this well get most pieces of the cake, in particular in Asia. Thailand seems to be obsessed with brands. People waiting hours in line to get donuts or popcorn (even when the streets outside are filled with protesters), and spending fortunes in fashion brand products. You will quite often see a writing like "Famous brand from USA" even if its not.

One thing that is quite obvious is the bag issue, in particular with females. Usually the handbag isn't big enough to carry everything (although most men would be surprised about that), but there is always something needs to be carried extra: Shoes, a shirt, lunch boxes.

Walking around with a plastic bags carrying those seems to be a No-No. It has to be a Harrods bag or some fashion designer brands. It can be even a paper bag if it has the appropriate branding. The cheapest, yet accepted form is a paper Starbucks bag, although people will less look down on you if you have the fabric one (the latter requires you making a purchase of at least 30 USD I think. But hey, you get a bag). I was told once that Starbucks tumblers and cups are selling like sliced bread in Thailand.

Of course this is all show off. The urban middle class needs to make a difference between the environment they live in (many in not so well designed apartments or in the same room in the family house since they were born). Public appearance and private matters are totally different. And it is always a surprise to see the same people in their well selected office outfit and wearing a sleeping dress style outfit at home.

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