The Nation

Brand Guru

The unassuming and quiet Danai Chanchaochai is busy ticking double the time to meditate, write books and do the myriad other things he loves. Those who've seen him in action have often wondered: What makes Danai Chanchaochai tick at double the speed of most ordinary men on an ordinary working day? Could it be the prestige of his title? The power of his position? The lure of filthy lucre? Nope. I have achieved all of those," says Danai quietly, CEO of MDK Consultants (Thailand) Ltd. He is still the gentle person I met 12 years ago, when he was one of MDK's directors. For this PR guru, humility, selflessness and empathy flow from Buddhist teachings and meditation. In fact, despite his hectic schedule, he has even found the time to translate and write books. Capitalising on the global and domestic trends in brand building, Danai has just written the Thai-language "Thai Brands ... It's Time to Fly". DMG Publishing House undertook the initial printing of 5,000 copies. I was inspired to write this book so that Thai brands are exposed to the world. Of course, Ian Batey's best-selling book 'Asian Branding', that I translated into Thai, also propelled me to this project," admits Danai over lunch. Danai's book features case studies of more than 14 local brands that have the potential to become global power brands. This book," he reasons, "analyses why some local brands have vanished from the marketplace and consumers' minds - like Thanin Radio and Frog Battery - and identifies what opportunities exist for Thai brands to become global leaders like Microsoft, Coke, Nestle, Unilever and Starbucks." Also presented are the people behind the success of each Thai brand: William Heinecke of the Minor Food Group, Tiem Shokewattana of Saha-Pattanapibul, Chaleo Yuwittaya of Red Bull, and Charoen Siriwattanapakdi of the Carlsberg Group. Even modern-day entrepreneurs harbour misperceptions of branding. But even without a bumper advertising budget, businesses can still promote their products through three key components - quality, reliance and consistency. Building brands is the most critical communications activity in today's competitive global market. Having strong brand equity is like having the stamina to take your product or service through the ups and downs of your market environment and through crises, both in the short- and the long-term. This book should educate and inspire Thai entrepreneurs and marketers to capture more of the global market." Brands that are featured include Mama instant noodles, Red Bull Extra energy drink, Land & House, The Pizza Company, MK Restaurants, Grammy, Oishi, Major Cineplex, DTAC, Orange, Saijo-Denki air conditioners, and Baanrai Coffee. Industry Minister Somsak Thepsutin, commenting on the book, says: "Thailand needs to build global brands to further strengthen our position. The government is taking initiatives to help Thailand's brands to be accepted worldwide, and several Thai brands are now being recognised internationally. A good example of this is the government's efforts to brand Thai clothing for export markets. In future, this will add value to the products, by as much as a factor of three, based on international comparisons. This book should prove very useful for SME entrepreneurs and larger companies." Parames Rachjaibun, the president of the Advertising Association of Thailand, says: "Entrepreneurs need to pay attention to brand building. When successful, brands are an invaluable asset. Brands stay in the consumer's mind and have a great impact on buying decisions, sometimes over and above any other factors. This book is very timely and is well-written by Khun Danai, who is known for his in-depth knowledge of branding from both theoretical and practical viewpoints." Brands come and go all the time. But successful brands can survive through all ups and downs. It's important to study the secret of success of brands for any business, large or small. The case studies and marketing communications strategies presented in this book are well worth reading," says Assumption University Alumni Association President Chalit Limpanavech. Danai, who has translated seven best-sellers from English into Thai says: "The response has been good to 'Thai Brands' and we may print more copies. Pearson Education of Penguin Books in the United Kingdom has approached me for the publishing rights in English. Nothing has been settled yet." One of the books Danai has translated is "The Big Mango". Jake Needham, the author, says that rights for the movie production have been given to James Gandolfini, lead actor of 'The Sopranos' series on HBO. It is expected that Demi Moore will play the lead actress, and Michelle Yeoh, the Asian star will play the supporting role. "The English version was first published in 1999. I translated and published it with DMG Publishing House. Visit www.mambosmile.com." We made a strong effort to maintain the original energy of the novel. When reviewing the translation with the author's wife, Pintuporn Sawamiphakdi, she felt that the thriller-quality and humour translated well, that the Thai version is every bit as engaging as the author intended." I was as excited to see it translated into Thai. Having the novel published only in English limits its readership; the people who have the most fun reading the book are those who live here in Thailand. I hope to reach a broader audience in Bangkok with this translation," says Needham. Ken Ywin The Nation

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