Brand new:Emerging-market companies are trying to build global brands

作者: 2012年8月4日 The Economist

AMERICANS can stop worrying about China’s plans to take over their country. The worst has already happened: on July 25th Lenovo, a Chinese computer firm, announced a deal to sponsor the National Football League. America will continue to provide muscle-bound linebackers, but the Chinese will provide the clever laptops and desktops that make their tussles possible.

Lenovo was founded in 1984 by 11 engineers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences who wanted to supplement their meagre stipends. It spent years building its business in China. But then in 2005 it burst onto the global scene—and rattled America’s Congress—when it bought IBM’s ThinkPad personal-computer business. The company is now the second-largest PC maker in the world and hopes to grab the top spot from Hewlett-Packard soon.
Lenovo is one of several emerging-market firms striving to become global brands. They are no longer content to do the grunt work for Western firms, for two simple reasons: non-branded companies typically earn gross margins of 3-8% and are constantly at risk of being undercut by cheaper rivals. Branded firms enjoy fatter margins (15% or more) and more loyal customers.
Yet becoming a global brand is exceedingly hard. Emerging-market firms must struggle with limited budgets and unlimited prejudice. GfK, a consumer-research company, found that only one-third of Americans were willing even to consider buying an Indian or Chinese car. Wipro, a successful Indian outsourcer, points out that its total sales are roughly the size of IBM’s marketing budget. Only four emerging-market brands make Interbrand’s list of the world’s 100 most valuable: Samsung and Hyundai of South Korea, Mexico’s Corona beer and Taiwan’s HTC.
How can others make the leap? “The New Emerging-Market Multinationals”, a book by Amitava Chattopadhyay, of INSEAD, and Rajeev Batra, of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, offers some clues.
First, they must exploit their two basic advantages—economies of scale and local knowledge—to expand into new markets. Some have become so dominant in their home markets that they can hardly avoid expanding abroad. Turkey’s Arcelik, for example, controls 50% of the Turkish market for domestic appliances and is now expanding rapidly in Europe. Lenovo gets 42% of its sales from China and has 40 times more stores there than Apple has worldwide. Some firms use their understanding of local markets to expand globally: India’s Marico produces shampoo suited to the highly chlorinated water that flows from Middle Eastern taps. Others move swiftly to exploit opportunities: Turkey’s Evyap established itself as a leading seller of cheap soaps and scents in Russia when the Soviet Union collapsed.
Messrs Chattopadhyay and Batra argue that emerging-market companies need to add three more ingredients to these basics. The first is focus: they should define a market segment in which they have a chance of becoming world-class. Natura Cosméticos, a Brazilian cosmetics-maker, zeroed in on the market for “natural” cosmetics with ingredients extracted from the rainforest. Lenovo focused on computers for corporate clients before expanding into the consumer market. Haier, a Chinese maker of dishwashers and fridges, focuses on consumers that many of its rivals neglect, such as students.
The second ingredient is innovation: firms need new products and processes that generate buzz. HTC produces 15-20 new mobile-phone handsets a year. Natura releases a new product every three working days. Haier keeps producing new ideas such as fridges with locks on them (to keep dormitory mates from snaffling your tofu), compact washing machines (for clothes for pampered Japanese pets) and freezers with compartments that keep ice-cream soft (for impatient gluttons). Ranbaxy, an Indian drug firm, has developed controlled-release systems that allow patients to take only one pill a day instead of several small doses.
The third ingredient is old-fashioned brand-building. Emerging-market bosses must grapple with many traditional branding puzzles. Should they slap the company’s name on the product (as Toyota does) or another name (as Procter & Gamble does with its stable of brands, from Gillette razors to Pampers nappies)? How can they market themselves effectively in multiple countries without busting the budget? Lenovo has hired an expensive American marketing boss, but saves money by doing most of its advertising work in Bangalore.
It is easy for companies to botch brand-building. The quickest way to build a brand is to buy one—but bought brands can be difficult to integrate (as Lenovo discovered with IBM’s ThinkPad) or can take a long time to pay off (as Tata Motors is discovering with Jaguar). Building a brand from scratch can take decades. And managing a portfolio of brands is complicated and demanding: people who made their fortunes manufacturing things may not be suited to the airy-fairy world of brand management.
Will the next Toyota be Chinese, or Indian?
Still, there is little doubt that emerging-world brands are on the rise. HTC is one of the biggest-selling smartphones in America. Huawei, a Chinese firm, has just overtaken Sweden’s Ericsson to become the world’s largest maker of telecommunications equipment. BYD, another Chinese company, produces 85% of the world’s lithium-ion batteries for mobile phones.
Emerging-market firms are evolving in much the same way as Japanese firms did in the 1960s and 1970s, from humble stitchers to master tailors. In 1985 Philip Kotler of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management observed that Japanese companies had shifted from “injuring the corners” of their Western competitors to attacking them head-on. The same pattern is beginning to repeat itself, but on a much larger scale.
美国人大可不必担心中国人图谋“鸠占鹊巢”的不轨行为。糟糕透顶的情况已然发生:2012年7月25日,中国联想(Lenovo)电脑公司宣布达成一项赞助美国国家橄榄球联赛(National Football League)的协议。美国将继续提供头脑简单,四肢发达的中后卫球员而中国人则提供更加精巧的笔记本电脑和台式机,使得两国人之间的攘权夺利成战一触即发。
1984年,中国科学院(Chinese Academy of Sciences)的11名工程师想补贴捉襟见肘的津贴收入而创立了联想。联想在中国市场已耕耘多年。2005年,联想却出其不意将IBM的ThinkPad收入旗下,站到了世界舞台上。当时,联想令世人大跌眼镜,同时,也让美国国会(America’s Congress)坐立不安。该司现是全球第二大的个人电脑制造商,而且希望在不久的将来从惠普(Hewlett-Packard)手中夺得头把交椅。
然而,要打造成为国际品牌,难于登天。处于新兴市场的企业必须与有限的预算和无休止的歧视作斗争。 消费者调查公司捷孚凯(GfK)发现甚至只有三分之一的美国人愿意考虑购买印度或中国制造的汽车。威普罗(Wipro)是一家经营得风生水转的印度外包商。该司指出,它整体的销售与 IBM的营销预算规模不相上下。只有四家来自新兴市场的品牌荣登国际品牌公司(Interbrand)“全球100家最有价值企业排行榜”:韩国的三星电子(Samsung)和现代(Hyundai)、墨西哥的科罗娜啤酒(Corona Beer)和台湾地区的宏达国际电子股份有限公司(HTC)。
其他公司如何才能飞黄腾达?欧洲工商管理学院(INSEAD)的授阿米塔瓦·查托帕迪亚(Amitava Chattopadhyay)和密歇根大学罗斯商学院(the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business)的拉杰夫·巴特拉(Rajeev Batra)合撰的《新崛起的新兴市场跨国企业》提供了一些参考。
首先,要想开拓新市场,他们必须利用两大基本法宝——规模经济效应和本土知识。有些公司是国内市场的龙头老大,以至于无法避免向海外扩张的命运。例如,土耳其的阿奇立克(Arcelik)家用电器打下了本国市场的半壁江山,而现长驱直入欧洲市场。联想在中国的市场份额为42%,在中国设立的专卖店是苹果全球店铺数的四十多倍。有些公司将对本土市场的理解推而广之至全球市场:印度马力高公司(Marico)生产的洗发精适合于从中东(Middle Eastern)的水龙头流出的高度氯化的自来水。其他公司先发制人以发掘商机:当苏联(Soviet Union)解体时,土耳其的艾维亚(Evyap)便一跃成为俄罗斯销售低档肥皂和香水的企业巨擘。
查托帕迪亚(Chattopadhyay)和巴特拉(Batra)这两位先生认为,新兴市场的企业除了要发挥这两大优势外,还应再加上三大要素。首先,要做到心无旁骛:他们应定位能有机会成为世界级企业的细分市场。巴西的纳特拉化妆用品公司(Natura Cosméticos)全神贯注于“纯天然”化妆品市场。这些化妆品的成分均萃取自热带雨林。联想在染指消费者市场前专心致志于为公司客户制造计算机。中国的洗碗机和电冰箱制造商海尔公司一门心思地为那些被大多数竞争对手所忽视的消费者,如学生提供服务。
第二大要素是革故鼎新:公司需要新产品和新流程以产生口碑效应。宏达电每年生产 15-20款新式手机。纳特拉公司每隔三个工作日便发布一种新产品。海尔推陈出新,创意不断,如生产出带锁的电冰箱(以防止室友揩油)、压缩版的洗衣机(专洗日本宠物的衣服)和配有隔层,能软化冰淇淋的冰箱(专为急躁的嘴馋者设计)。印度兰伯西(Ranbaxy)医药公司已开发出一种控制-释放系统使得病人一天只服一片药就够了,而不用分几次服用。
新兴市场公司的演化过程与二十世纪六七十年代的日本大同小异,都是从地位卑微的缝纫工一跃成为裁缝大师傅。1985年,美国西北大学克洛戈管理学院的菲利普·科特勒(Philip Kotler)注意到,日本企业已从被西方竞争对手追杀得“遍体鳞伤躲在角落中”的游击部队成长为迎头痛击敌人的正规军。历史将开始重演,只是来势更凶猛。


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