Not investing properly in foreign markets could damage brand, says expert

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Not investing properly in foreign markets could damage brand, says expert
In an exclusive interview with USA, Dr. Alain Khaiat advises companies investing in the Asian Pacific market that, “It’s the brand that is at risk of being damaged if the distributor does not do everything properly.”

Dr. Khaiat is the head of the Toiletry and Fragrance Association in Singapore as well as CEO of Seers Consulting, where he advises personal care manufacturers and ingredient suppliers on how best to break into the markets in Asia.

I’ve seen companies fall through foot holes, either by not adapting their offer to the market, choosing the wrong partner or experiencing translation problems​”, he says.


According to the specialist, the attitude of a company can determine its success on the Asian market, “Companies with a pre-determined view on how they will market their product might run into trouble.​”

This, he explains is because the consumer’s daily regime is completely different in Asia then in the US or Europe. Companies, he says, need to be aware that consumers require a different type of product from what they may be used to supplying.

In Korea, for example, women apply seven products in the morning alone, their daily regime is private, very much ‘a time with me’ event, whereas US consumers want an efficient, on- the-go product​,” he points out.


When I was based in Europe, I came across a translation error while working for a prestigious brand on a marketing campaign which was due to be released onto the Italian market​,” Dr. Khaiat reveals.

There was only a small typo in the text, but it completely changed the meaning of the ad, taking the message down more of a derogatory route then the company would have liked. There is no question that the brand would have suffered from it in the long run​.”

When it comes to avoiding this type of mistake on the Asian market, Dr. Khaiat advises companies to hire a local translator, or choose a partner carefully.

Translators can do a good job of translating the language for you, but they don’t tend to interpret the nature of the message a company may be trying to get across like a local would​.”


Regulation guidelines have evolved everywhere in the world in recent years. “Companies need to be aware of the changes or at the very least invest in a partner or consultant that is familiar with the process​,” he concluded.

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