Branding & Storytelling

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Branding & Storytelling

14 JUL 2016 – The 2nd session of the Women in Business Southeast Asia series was all about Branding & Storytelling. We discussed how to craft a powerful message and how to tell your story so that customers will remember you and your products or services.

We had three fantastic speakers:

Nantanuch (Nanta) Tangudtaisak, Managing & Creative Director of Anyallerie, a custom-made, fine jewelry brand. A third generation jeweller, Nanta’s creations are inspired by nature and combine precious gemstones with intricate craftsmanship from the family’s workshop.

Oranuch Lerdsuwankij (Mimee) is the Co-Founder & CEO of Techsauce Media, a community for tech start-ups, and Co-Founder of Thumbsup Media, a digital marketing platform focused IT and business.

Shradha Dudeja is Strategy Director at global creative agency Havas Worldwide. Her expertize lies in brand positioning, new launches, brand extension, and sustainability initiatives. Her sector knowledge extends from FMCG to Telecom, Entertainment, Automobiles, Information Technology, and Global Initiatives.

How do you go about creating a Brand strategy when you are starting out or when you are expanding your business?

You need to understand why people buy your products and what you are giving to your customers. It’s about asking the right questions and coming up with the right answers.

Get to your Human Truth: Ask yourself “Why am I doing this?” five times until you get to something deeper than if you had to stop at the 2nd or 3rd ‘why’. You will arrive to a human truth, something that is true regardless of nationality and deeper than your cultural sensibility. For example, mothers might raise their children differently around the world but all of them will do whatever it takes to protect their children. That’s a human truth.

Make sure your story is built on product truth: “Communication and marketing overall have become a bit more complicated now. Your consumers end up knowing more than some of your sales people because so much information is available everywhere so it becomes really important that the story that you are telling is grounded in reality and truth. Consumers are more demanding. You can’t just tell a great story and then your product doesn’t deliver. It doesn’t work like that anymore”, said Shradha.

“Telling a good story is not enough in the tech industry”, said Mimee. “First and foremost, you need to think about your value proposition, what is the value of what you are delivering to your customers. If your value proposition is good enough, you are going to generate revenue and credibility for you business in the long-run”.

“Sometimes you can create an emotional connection not just by telling a great story but also by creating something that really meaningful. This is what Skype did”


  1. Think beyond common knowledge to create something truly unique. Challenge some of the truths that we have inherited. For example, in the Food & Beverage industry, most people focus only on taste. But before the food reaches our tongue, it gets consumed by our brains, eyes, nose. If it’s coffee, we first smell it and we make decisions based on that. If it’s a fine dining restaurant, we make decisions based on how the food looks like on a plate. Before muffins, not many people would have thought of having cake for breakfast. Starbucks changed that assumption by reducing the cake size and making it a “breakfast cake”.
  2. It’s not about being better than the best. It’s about being the only one who does what you do. Come up with a tweak, an angle that makes you the only one that does what you do. For example, LINE started out as a chat platform but has now gotten into mobile money with LINE PAY and a gift shop. Anyallerie is in a very crowded industry, as gems and jewelry are one of Thailand’s top export products. Their differentiator is that they produce custom-made pieces that make full use of colorful precious stones and are inspired by nature and very feminine, so quite different than what traditionally sold in Thailand. All while using high-quality stones and relying on some of the finest craftsmanship, developed over 3 generations. “All our lines are custom-made and custom-designed for each individual customer. That’s why customers feel that everything they buy from us is something unique and special to them.”
  3. Sometimes you don’t have to capture the whole journey, just the purchase. There are many aggregator sites where you can go and book hotel accommodation – such as,, etc. – and at some point many hotels were bleeding because no one was making direct bookings with them. A campaign that Havas ran for Accor hotels highlighted the unfair advantage of making direct bookings with aggregators and as a result, many customers ended up doing their research on aggregators but concluding the purchase on the hotel sites.
  4. Look for deviations and capitalize. Look at what are the unexpected things that you can bring together to create a product or a service that brings value. For example, Tinder has combined Google Maps for location and dating and created a unique benefit. Uber is another example. It’s based on the barter system where people exchange something for something else they need. It’s not new but they just added technology to it. Someone has a car to give and someone needs a ride.

In a time where people are bombarded with so much information, how do you make sure that your voice and message get heard?

A lot depends on the story that you tell. That’s why it’s so important to go through the exercise of asking yourself “Why” five times to reach the core of why you do what you do. You could stand out by taking a unique tone of voice, extremely emotional or humoristic – something really exaggerated, extremely memorable. Or you come up with a character to symbolize your brand.50

Evian was losing business in 2009 during the economic slump so they had to do something that would generate attention. Their message was that their mineral water was purer than others. How do you translate this scientific fact into something that customers can easily relate to? They found a metaphor for it. Something that we immediately associate with pure is babies so they created the Roller Babies ad, which ended up reaching over 100 million views.

“The key is to translate the benefit you are bringing into something that the customer wants to hear and can easily relate to.”

Starbucks distinguished itself not by listing where their coffee beans were coming from – which is what most other coffee companies were doing – but by emphasizing the whole cultural experience of drinking coffee and offering a unique experience to their customers: “the third place” between home and the office.

“It’s all about finding a new angle to the same thing. If you are able to think differently about what everyone is seeing, that’s where a unique story telling is going to come.”

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