Thursday, June 12, 2014


by Roger Pe
Philippine Daily Inquirer
June 13, 2014 issue

Have you read about Joeri Van den Vergh’s “How Cool Brands Stay Hot”? If you haven’t, fret not. You can see the author in the flesh and hear him talk more about his bestselling book. Right here in Manila.

Along with Van den Bergh will be marketing luminaries from other parts of the world, rounded off by the Philippine Marketing Association on the occasion of its 60th anniversary. They will speak in the first Asian Marketing Congress to be held at the Philippine International Convention Center from July 17 to 18.

The event also ushers in an era of unprecedented cooperation and marketing brilliance in the Philippines as the PMA ushers the ASEAN region to be more globally competitive when the Asian Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) takes full effect next year.

The Asian Marketing Federation-supported event will have case studies relevant to telecom, banking, retail and real estate business. Topics such as launching and promoting Filipino brands across Southeast Asia to how brands in ASEAN countries can cooperate to become global contenders will be in the program.

“We want to advocate an attitude of synergy in the region, continuously inspire the local marketing industry by providing cutting edge marketing trends from across the globe,” current PMA President Yayu Javier says who will deliver the welcome remarks on this Asian milestone.

In a landscape of 600 million opportunities where geographical borders are being relentlessly torn down by new media platforms, Javier will pose the challenge: “Is your brand ready to go regional?”

“This is a different time and what passed off as a gospel in the past needs to be reassessed,” Javier states.

Business Friday interviews Javier, also President and Chief Operating Officer and Board Director of Avanza, a pioneer CRM (consumer relationship marketing) company on the significance of the coming Asian Marketing Congress.

Business Friday: Briefly, what is the Asian Marketing Congress?

Yayu Javier: The trailblazing congress is part of PMA's diamond jubilee celebration. It incorporates the Asian Marketing Conference of the AMF, the premiere regional body that promotes and advances the professional practice of marketing in Asia.

This collaboration manifests PMA’s efforts of bringing world-class marketing experts to our shore to prepare the marketing industry for the 2015 Asean Integration.

Plenary sessions and break out topics like how to launch and promote Filipino brands across the region, and how brands in ASEAN can work together to become global contenders will be discussed.

BF: What good will it bring to the local marketing industry?

YJ: The sharing of insights and learnings on how to launch a local brand in Asia, marketing trends from across the globe, points of view from across the globe on the Asean Integration, branding in Asia, marketing after disaster, social media trends, clicks to bricks customer experience are some of the major topics that will prepare the Philippine industry on how to maximize the opportunities of the 2015 Asean Integration.

Delegates will discover the 5 key themes in the lives of Millennials and how to use them in marketing. We will have a special breakfast forum with the Senior Trend Strategist, Maxwell Luthy.

Maxwell will share the Consumer Trend Canvas: an easy-to-use framework that not only helps marketers unpack and understand consumer trends, but also guides them to launch successful consumer-facing innovations.

In one hour, a participant can go from identifying changing consumer expectations, to identifying the opportunities for your business to exceed them!

BF: What is the new paradigm PMA is espousing?

YJ: To become regionally and globally competitive, it is always important to look at all the marketing disciplines and not just one on particular aspect or channel of marketing.

Strategic marketing is something that a marketing professional should always focus on so as not to miss out on the big picture. PMA continues to take this important position that is critical in making a brand successful locally as well as outside of the Philippines.

BF: How can PMA help local marketers achieve cross-border success?

YJ: This year, PMA provides new trends to better equip the marketer for the coming Asean Integration. These learnings are being cascaded through talks by renowned speakers at its General Membership Meetings, Marketing Seminars and the Asian Marketing Congress.

The Asian Marketing Congress will discuss specific topics on how to launch your brand in Asia, marketing trends across the globe, how to use branding, digital marketing, disaster marketing that will help the Filipino marketer achieve cross-border success.

BF: Why will collaborating with competition bring faster growth?

YJ: Collaborating cuts short the learning process. It also reduces costs and losses that may happen due to lack of knowledge in local marketing. It provides an immediate understanding on the legalities of the business in the region such as trade practices, government regulations and industry regulations.

This is quite evident with foreign brands that have made headway in the Philippines.

Uniqlo and Forever 21 entered the local market through a strategic venture
with retail giant SM. They did so to leverage on SM’s retail expertise and
wide geographic coverage.

In just a few months of operation, the third largest convenience store in Japan, Family Mart, has opened several outlets in the Philippines through a partnership with the Ayala and Rustan’s group by utilizing the expertise of the Tantoco family in the retail business.

BF: Why is "Synergy" important when engaging with foreign brands?

YJ: In the same way that is important for foreign brands to collaborate with its competitors when entering a new country, it is also important for brands to synergize with local entities to become successful entering into the local market.

There are several Filipino brands that have become global, such as Bench, Oishi, Jollibee, San Miguel, Max’s, Goldilocks, Figaro, Ginger Snaps, and many more.

Oishi entered China through local manufacturing and establishing networks through local dealers. From China, it was able to expand to various parts of the Asian region such as Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia.

These are examples of Philippine brands that took on the challenge of going beyond our shores with a focus on synergy. They were able to make inroads in new markets abroad. Tying up with local companies can increase a Filipino company’s chances of being successful as it can then quickly immerse with the culture and local market conditions.

BF: Common challenges by local brands in marketing their goods abroad?

YJ: Knowing the local market. A brand may be highly successful in its country but this will not guarantee success in other countries.

It is very important to understand the behavior and profile of your consumers or customers in the country so that you would know if there is a need to change your product/service to suit the local market. Oishi, for example, continues to introduce various flavors of its snacks based on taste preferences of the local market.

BF: Challenges by foreign brands entering the local market?

YJ: Foreign brands entering the local brand would have the same challenge as a local brand entering a foreign country. If a foreign brand, however, is a large corporation it would have the advantage of looking at best practices from other similar regions as well as global processes that it can utilize in entering the local market.

Tying up with local companies can increase the company’s chances of being successful as it can quickly immerse itself in the culture and local market conditions. Family Mart, for example, would have food products from Japan but also local food products that Filipinos love on their shelves.

BF: Your formula for making our GNP continue to rise above 6% annually

YJ: The government’s role in various aspects of the economic growth such as infrastructure and education of course will play an important role but the marketing industry can play an important part in boosting the growth in our country.

Continuous learning, keeping abreast with trends across the globe, knowing the tools that are available for faster communications, deriving insights from data analytics of your consumers or market, should remain to be the responsibility of a marketing professional to make his/her brand competitive in the region and help contribute to the GNP of the nation.

BF: Who is Yayu Javier when not as PMA president and COO of Avanza?

YJ: Marketing is my passion and I live that passion even in my personal life. Marketing is all about making life more inspiring that is why I always look at different experiences in my life as source of insights.

As a mother of two boys (or rather men), who now live their lives their own way, I have now taken on a different role to mentor them not just on the new challenges of grown-up life but also the challenges of a career and business.

One of my sons has decided to take on a career in the corporate world while my other son has taken on his passion in the culinary arts.

I find myself talking to them more as friend rather than just as a mother as they are now in that stage of being able to make decisions by themselves and hope and pray each day that they make the right the decisions with the help of God.

As a grandmother, I have realized how different the children are today, how technology is fast tracking their knowledge skills but at the same missing out on the other social skills. That is why I try to bring back the activities I used to do with my sons when they were little such as egg painting during Easter.

My grand daughter, Natalie enjoyed it so much that she candidly said: “This is more fun than watching TV.”

As a person, I live by the basic principle of always doing good to others and making time for advocacy. With these basic principles, God continues to provide blessings to the tasks that is given to me and my family.

With my busy schedule in PMA and Avanza, my husband has been most supportive. He understands the passion that drives me to be part of these challenges that I have committed to undertake.

Despite that, I put aside time for them during weekends. One of best ways to show I care for them is by cooking their favorite dishes, which they say is the best they’ve ever tasted. Who else but your own family would be your best fans? We always make sure that we have time together even during dinner (when I am not in meetings), to share what has happened during their day.

About PMA:
The Philippine Marketing Association is the country’s leading organization in promoting marketing as a science and profession.

About Avanza:
More than 20 years of experience has made the company most equipped to comprehend, quantify and predict the actions and change behavior of its target market through its customer and trade relationship marketing and loyalty programs. The company’s extensive experience across a range of industries and product categories in several countries has resulted in the development and implementation of a proven systematic approach that successfully drives revenues and increases the lifetime profitability of its customers.