Wednesday, May 14, 2014


By Roger Pe

How many brands are there in the market across all product categories? Just going to a supermarket near you can be overwhelming.

Brands are all over us – on the road, when you go to a bank, beauty salon, stay in a hotel, frolic in a resort, dine out with the family, hangout with the gang in a coffee shop, cook dinner at home, enjoy a weekend trip or simply just by going to a barber shop.

From automobiles to banks, from household items to telecom services, from appliances to mobile phones, from beverages to fastfood, from soaps to apparel, the list is never ending.

Some people are brands, too. Celebrities, personalities, sport heroes, inventors, artists, professionals in different fields, people who have earned stripes for what they have achieved.

Even cities and nations are brands. When we think of a city that never sleeps, we think of New York. Paris comes to mind when we think of fashion and chic lifestyle. Samba and mardi gras? Most of us will think of Rio de Janeiro.

When we think about ancient civilizations, Greece and Italy come to mind. When we think about chocolates and watches we associate them with Switzerland. And without a doubt, Germany will be the first thing on our lips when we think about cars.

In his “What is Nation Brand?” article, marketing guru Simon Anholt, emphasized the importance of nation branding and wrote why nations should take control of its brand image in a highly competitive marketplace.

He said: “a national brand is national identity made tangible, robust and useful. It is without a doubt, the single most valuable item of intellectual property, which any nation can possess.”

According to Anholt, brands of countries reflect the kind of nation its marketing sectors are building. What kind of brands does our country market? Innovative, hygienic, exportable, can transcend borders, world-class? It would be good to ask that question to Philippine marketers, or better yet, the global arbiter and people who have the final say – the consumers.

Good, Better, SuperBrands

A great brand is like an athlete preparing for the Olympics. It does not plunge right into action when it is not ready. It spends years of hardwork and spartan training to meet definitive qualifying standards.

Great brands know their consumers.
“Their manufacturers usually invest in market research, understanding as much as they can about the human psyche and how to be as useful and relevant to their audiences,” says Karl Treacher in his “Ten Things Great Brands Do”.

Good brands know who they are and why they exist. A brand that doesn’t know its purpose is a disaster waiting to happen, Treacher says. “Those that become top brands consistently demonstrate their purpose and value through consumer experiences,” he adds.

Treacher also mentions that great brands are not different for the sake of being different. Everything they do has meaning and relate back to their core purpose, according to him.

A good brand doesn’t happen overnight. It takes good people with undying passion to make it perfect. In the Philippines, Ronald MascariƱas, President of Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc. is one such. He challenged the poultry industry and introduced a breakthrough product like Chooks-to-Go to be relevant. As a result, the brand today is holding its own against competition.

The brand of the future goes under market tests and painstaking research. It doesn’t settle for ‘the good enough’ until the desired results are met. If needed, a product must be reformulated for the demands of the market.

Chooks-To-Go challenged the conventional way of selling roasted chicken and offered the first-ever oven roasted chicken in the Philippines. It also challenged the traditional lechon manok with sauce by offering pre-marinated roasted chicken that is good even without the sauce.

All these efforts, plus a delivery service in Metro Manila, made Chooks-to-Go the dominant brand in the market. It was also the first to advertise heavily and is now introducing its first ever celebrity endorser, Richard Yap.

All over the world, great brands are not different for the sake of being different. Everything they do has meaning and relate back to their core purpose.

Which brings us to the elite segment, the SuperBrands and why marketing experts worldwide recognize them for their efforts in nation branding.

Superbrands, an independent global arbiter on branding recognizes the world's leading brands. It is not your typical dime-a-dozen award-giving body creeping out of the woodwork where one can buy it. It has awarded over 10,000 brands based on quantitative or qualitative truths over the past 18 years.

Together with selected industry experts and consumers, it defines what a SuperBrand is, based on the following stringent criteria: Market dominance, longevity, goodwill, customer loyalty and market acceptability.

The organization also publishes a series of brand-focused books in over 88 countries including the Philippines. Brands that are rated highly by its council and consumers are eligible for inclusion.

A little backgrounder: SuperBrands came to the Philippines in 1997, making the country the first in ASEAN to be honored with the expanse of its worldwide award seal. It was also a validation of the Philippine’s increasing reputation as makers of quality brands.

The first series of SuperBrand publications in the Philippines was launched in 1998. It featured over 200 models of flawless branding. Because of its improving economy and rise to the ASEAN community, the country caught the attention of Superbrands International Organization in 2010, thus assimilating the Filipino market into the network of key markets where Superbrands operates.

Today, SuperBrands is a confirmation of the position held by powerful international brands on the local market, as well as a celebration of Philippine brands that now participate in a universal circuit enjoying consumer confidence and preference over competing brands.

Philippine SuperBrands

The very best of Philippine brands are listed in the SuperBrand books, all from trusted companies with a heritage of creating quality products proudly made in the Philippines.

The latest to join the august list is Chooks-To-Go, a brand that has become popular among Filipino chicken lovers with its unique selling proposition of being “masarap kahit walang sauce!” - its main differentiator that has led to the overwhelming enthusiastic acceptance of consumers.

The brand offers ten (10) delicious chicken favorites: Sweet Roast, Pepper Roast, Fried Chooks, Juicy Liempo, Chooksie’s Dressed Chicken, Chooksie’s Chicken Cut-Ups, Chooksie’s Marinado, Chooksie’s Spicy Necks, Mickey and Disney Princesses Chicken Nuggets and Disney Chicken Hotdog.

One of the many surprising facts about Chooks-to-Go, aside from it being delicious even without the sauce, is that it is the only roasted chicken brand that offers two flavors– Sweet Roast and Pepper Roast. Aside from oven-roasted chicken, it also offers fresh chicken bought per kilo and fresh and marinated chicken cut-ups.

What is now known as Chooks-To-Go is a successful brand that emerged from a pilot-test in November 2007 with only ten roasted-chicken outlets in the Visayas (Central Philippines) and later embarked on a full-scale expansion by the second half of 2008, and finally sporting the Chooks-To-Go name a year after.

The new brand was officially launched nationwide with a tri-media campaign. By 2010, it gained market leadership with a network of more than 500 stores.

Fast forward, the brand has close to 1,000 stores all over the country today, enjoying word-of-mouth popularity from millions of satisfied consumers. Sales growth has been phenomenal, making it the dominant leader in its category.

With a trailblazing brand like Chooks-To-Go, the Philippines is strengthening its market maturity, proud nation of many world-class brands.