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"Mark, thanks for your comments.
I can see how a “purpose-led” approach to branding may be still somewhat ahead of the evolution curve for brands in Asia’s emerging markets, such as China.
If we look at Asia’s more established economies, e.g. South-Korea and Japan and to a degree Taiwan, purpose-led branding is already far more culturally entrenched. And while I agree that the approach to branding in China in many cases is still often driven by a sales-centric marketing approach I have my hopes that China will accelerate, if not leapfrog ahead of the learning curve when it comes to “purpose”. I base my assumptions on the observations of Chinese consumers becoming increasingly informed, demanding, connected and shapers of global trends. Also we all remember recent disruptions in brand trust (tainted baby milk, among many) which may lead to consumers questioning the model of “profits at all costs”. Also, according to Landor’s recent global green brand study http://www.landor.com/index.cfm?do=thinking.artic... we seen an increasing appetite for sustainability as a value-add to the products they buy- which can be an indicator of a move towards brands with higher purpose.
And as China keeps moving up the ladder of leading global economies, kicking the US off the clean energy pedestal http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-128... and overtake the US in scientific output by 2013 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-128... I think China’s brand visionaries will also leapfrog up the Maslow Pyramid towards purpose-led brands.