Brand Building and Thinking Big

By Danial Norjidi

Dr Paul Temporal from Oxford University. – MIPR

Brand building is “absolutely critical”, and is “much more than a logo or advertising and promotion”.

This is according to Dr Paul Temporal, Visiting Fellow, Said Business School, Oxford University, United
Kingdom, who gave a presentation yesterday during the International Halal Market Conference (IHMC)
2009 at the International Convention Centre (ICC), entitled ‘Global Islamic Branding and Marketing – The
Way Forward’.

In an exclusive interview, when asked what Brunei needs to do to branch out into the global market, Dr
Templar said:

“Brunei is a small player at the moment, but could be a big one, so I think it’s got to think big, but in the
initial stages I think it’s got to really focus, and I think it’s got to look at niche kind of markets and niche
strategies. It has to become a good, strong regional brand before it goes out into global markets.

“It has to create greater awareness, because Brunei is not really known for Halal foods and Halal things, so
a lot of awareness needs to be built. And then there is a need to differentiate the brand of Brunei and
articulate what it means – what it stands for, and why it is different and better than all the other branded
countries and branded companies that offer those products.”

When asked for his thoughts on the Brunei Agro Technology Park, he said: “I think it’ll be good for the
economy, I think it will attract investment, it will certainly generate jobs, it will put Brunei on the global
map for some industry rather than oil and gas, which has been its tradition in that kind of relevance.

“So, it’s going to open up the world to Brunei, and it’s going to really attract people in from all over the
world, and I think given the willingness of the government to do this, the investment that’s going to be put
in, and the kind of people that we’re getting involved in producing this, I think it’s got a great opportunity,
particularly in the Halal area, because no one really has got this organised in one big consolidated way, and
I think it offers a great opportunity for Brunei to be a first mover in this kind of way.”

When asked what he hoped to achieve with his presentation, he said: “I hope to, first of all, convince people
that branding is more than just a logo. My second is that, given the state of industry today where everyone
can copy your technology, your services, your products, your packaging, your accreditation or whatever,
the only thing that is going to lead to a point of difference and success is developing a brand.

“This is because the only thing that someone cannot copy these days. Other country or company cannot
copy your brand image, so it’s absolutely critical that Brunei as a nation creates its own brand image, and
promotes that, and so does the industries like Halal industry, and so do the companies within Brunei, so it’s
absolutely critical to do brand building.

“What I’m also going to put across is the need to understand more about the markets that you’re going into,
because there’s a lot of activity going on, on the manufacturing and the infrastructure side.

“However, my feeling is, as yet, Brunei companies and institutions do not really understand those consumer
markets, and if you don’t understand markets you’re not going to get products sold at the end of the day
because you don’t understand what consumers really want, so again, I’ll be talking about the marketing
aspects of that.”

He then added, “I think overall, I feel very positive about the strides that Brunei is taking, and they’re
beginning to move now with a bit more speed, and I think that what’s needed is that you’ve got to be very
fast, you’ve got to be very agile, and you’ve got to be very relevant to target audiences who you’re

“I think that if Brunei can concentrate on speed, agility, innovation and understanding in consumers, I think
it’ll go a long way to enhancing the diversification of industry in Brunei and creating an even better image
than what Brunei already has.”