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In Asia Retail, Accept Uncertainty, See Reality
Posted on 10.07.11
How do humans react to uncertainty? We look harder for certainty. Western marketers in Asia latch on to concepts that help them start to perceive patterns and make decisions. But some of these Asian retail “realities” have as many contradictions as confirmations. "Realities" like these:
- Luxury brands in Asia don’t need to adapt.
- At retail in Asia, the best price wins.
- China imitates, India innovates.
- India speaks globally, China acts locally.
Anthem’s Kathryn Sloane and Spencer Ball spoke to these notions in “From Mumbai to Shanghai: Fast-Paced Growth and the Impact on Brands,” a BrandSquare Live Session webinar. They pointed out that luxury retailers in China are quickly adapting, such as Louis Vuitton moving into Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities and finding surprising success, and Prada actually using more leather and silk and less canvas and cotton to meet a surprising demand for the intensely upscale.
They showed examples of brand executions in India that were very local or that reflected Bollywood – not Western – influence, and executions of the same product in China that drew heavily on the brand’s Western look.
Their many examples underscored that in Asia retail, conventional wisdom doesn’t hold from region to region or from shopping cycle to shopping cycle. It pays to keep your ear to the ground and embrace a little uncertainty.
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