How do local brands stay relevant in a global landscape

by Adwright, 4 April, 2019

When you think of the brand giants of Singapore, nothing comes closer to names such as Singapore Airlines, Razer and Tiger Balm. Over the course of decades, these brands have grown alongside Singapore, synonymous with the nation’s successful development.

Just like Singapore, what makes these brands different from their competitors?  At the beginning of these brands, they were already facing competition that has a global presence. Singapore Airlines was facing Pan-Am, Tiger Balm was meeting a scientifically superior western counterpart- Vicks, and Razer, a relatively fresh start-up in a competitive world of gaming peripheral products brands endorsed by legendary gamers. A classic tale of David versus Goliath, we pry deeper into how these Singaporean brands managed to take on their established counterparts and eventually got a foothold in a world stage.

Crafting a difference

During the inception of Singapore Airlines, the airspace of the ’70s was dominated strongly by Pan-Am, one of the first airline carrier that offered flights to almost every thinkable destination. The 1970s presented a time of technological innovation; nearly every airline carrier was promoting their technological and hospitality superiority alongside the destinations they offer. On the other hand, Singapore Airlines promoted their services by marketing it as a lifestyle, a refined way to travel, a stark contrast to the promotion tactics of airline carriers of that time. In a spark of brilliance, Ian Batey from Batey Ads came out with the impressionable and sophisticated Singapore Girl image. By giving a very personable and emotional appealing connection, Singapore Airlines stood apart from its competitors. The results from the Singapore Girl campaign were phenomenal, as it positioned the airline on the aspect of human nature in hospitality. Batey’s philosophy lies behind creating messages that connect to people. Prioritising a personable brand image over technical features allows Batey to establish a wholesome yet human-natured image for Singapore Airlines. Such that even when aerospace technology advances with time, the Singapore Girl remains relevant and closely synonymous with Singapore

This example is branding at its finest. Often referred to as a Blue ocean strategy in marketing, it encourages brands to step out of the competitive space that their competitors are rivalling in and find a unique, differentiated offering. By seeking differences in your brand’s offerings, it can let your brand stand out amongst the others that are directing the same messages.

Understanding your Unique Selling Proposition

Tiger Balm, a brand that has established itself worldwide, started on a pushcart in Singapore nearly a hundred years ago. Today, Tiger Balm is still relevant to a generation influenced by social media, rivalling alongside brands with international presence like Procter & Gamble’s Vicks. Tiger Balm positioned its unique selling proposition since the 1920s and continued its stance until today.  The brand’s sole message is to convey its capability as a pain-relief rub that could treat any ailments. Muscular aches, mosquito bites to even a clogged nose, everything can be seemingly alleviated by Tiger Balm.  The other pharmaceutical giants that created similar products prides itself for the scientific and innovative findings instead of conveying the most fundamental point of pain-relieve. That is the difference between Tiger Balm and many other scientific pharmaceutical brands. Today, Tiger Balm has branched out from their traditional rubs into a variety of products that seeks to cater to different needs. From mosquito repellent patches, sprays, body ache patches to even glucosamine joint gels, Tiger Balm has extended its expertise into more specific segments.

Therefore, identifying your unique selling point is imperative to the longevity and identity of a company. In a closely connected world, where your brand is exposed continuously to similar and new competitors both locally and globally, the need to differentiate your brand is ever more critical.

Personifying your brand

Curating a brand image where people can relate to, has a significant impact on a consumer’s brand recall.

When you think about soft drinks, Coke comes up. When you think about sports apparel, Nike and Adidas show up. Likewise, when you think about gaming devices, Razer glows. Brand Recall is extremely important for a brand. It works even when a brand does not send out directed messages to the consumer. Brand Recall works on the subconscious memory that serves as a positive association with a brand. Hence, having strong Brand Recall could potentially increase awareness, thus transiting into sales smoothly.

Brand recall is a direct effort of brand personification, personalising the image of your brand with a personality that consumers can identify. One of the most successful companies that execute personification is Razer. Unlike other gaming peripheral companies, Razer’s approach to promotion and marketing is very different. Having relevant authorities representing the brand such as prominent gamers using Razer product makes Razer more than just a brand, but an aspiration. The belief of owning a Razer product equating to being a step nearer to be amongst the best gamers on a global scale. Over the decades, that image continues to serve its purpose. Similarly, Red Bull, the energy drink is favoured by athletes because of its association to endurance, creativity and boldness. It also sponsored and hosted many extreme sports events that stand out from all other energy drinks.

Branding has always been about trying to be different while understanding the purpose of your product and how you can use this knowledge to curate a personalised identity that can differentiate your brand from its competitors. Together, brand differentiation, a unique selling proposition and a strong brand personification, comes a brand that would always linger in the minds of the consumers.  At Adwright, we aim to identify the possibilities that a brand possess before determining its position. With over 20 years of experience, in helping brands discover their potential, we are continually pushing ourselves to help brands stay relevant.

To find out more about the services that Adwright provides, call us today on +65 6227 7227 or email



Talk to us today to see how we can help build your brand further and beyond.