Taipei Times

FORUM:A Swiss consultant encouraged Taiwan to focus on branding in a bid to increase product value and cross-sector cooperation to boost local economy

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan’s companies should seek to build their own brands and join forces with partners from different sectors in a bid to compete on the international stage, experts said in a forum yesterday.

Branding helps to make a company’s products unique, different and trustworthy, and therefore able to demand higher prices, said Edgar Britschgi, chairman of Combo Management AG, a management consulting service provider based in Zurich, Switzerland, at the creation ceremony of Global Brands Management Association in Taipei.

“Branding helps companies to set their products apart from those of other companies,” he said.

“To build a good brand, the company must be willing to water it, nourish it and take good care of it,” Britschgi said.

A brand must gain esteem, carry relevance, have familiarity and then become a trusted friend, he said.

Companies have to spend a significant sum building a brand, but the money should be considered an investment rather than an expense, he added.

Taiwan and Switzerland have a lot in common in that small and medium-sized companies are the backbone of their economies and branding is important to boost the value of their products, Britschgi said.

National Development Council Vice Minister Hwang Wang-hsiang (黃萬翔) urged local companies to embark on cross-industry alliance to grow their business and influence.

For example, cycling generates huge business opportunities beyond manufacturing bicycles, such as sportswear and constructing bike lanes, Hwang said.

The increasingly popular hobby can lead to the establishment of recreational parks, food and beverage facilities and other related services to meet the assorted demands of bicyclists and their family and friends, Hwang said.

Cross-sector cooperation is desirable and practical since no existing firm or industry can meet all the demand single-handedly, the vice minister said.

“All that companies need is a service-oriented mindset and business strategy to start with,” he said.

“They must try their best to serve their customers while they are on board,” he added.

The government can benefit from cross-sector cooperation as well, Hwang said, given its lack of financial resources to carry out public construction projects.

The government should make would-be beneficiaries of public infrastructure facilities share development costs, Hwang said.

Failure to act in this way means that benefits created by public infrastructure facilities would fall into the hands of a few, the vice minister said.