Branding Innovation Centre


Dato’ Sri Mustapa bin Mohamed

31 March 2010

Branding Innovation Centre Launched To Develop Local SMEs


Salam satu Malaysia.

Saudari pengacara majlis.

Yang Berbahagia Asih Che Mat, Chairman of the University Council

Yang Berbahagia Datuk Seri Osman, Deputy Chairman of the Council

Datuk Nazaruddin representing Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing

Tan Sri Rahman Mamat, Secretary General, Ministry of International Trade & Industry

Datuk Alamin, Chairman of SMECorp

Datuk Habsah, CEO of SMECorp

Senior management of Limkokwing University of Creative Technology

Senior management of SMECorp

Special guests, ladies and gentlemen

Firstly let me congratulate both LUCT and SMECorp for organising this function. It’s great to be back here again. We’re here this afternoon to celebrate the collaboration between Limkokwing University and SMECorp, to celebrate the partnership, hopefully it’s going to be a strong one in ensuring that our SMEs continue to progress. This is the year of innovation—ini tahun inovasi—this is the year when we are expected to work harder. Yesterday the PM launched the new economic model. It’s no use having a grand model if we all do not buck up, if we do not work hard in order to realise the dream of our Prime Minister.

We are here this afternoon to ensure that all the principles and vision highlighted by the PM yesterday would be realised. It is most fitting that we have this occasion today, Wednesday, the 31st of March, the day after the launch of the new economic model. Hopefully this will provide content to the promotion of Malaysia as a premier destination for investment. Hopefully this will further enhance the profile of Malaysia and more importantly, hopefully this will enhance the performance of our small-medium enterprises.

This collaboration brings together two giants, LUCT is a giant, is a good brand name, is a global brand name, recognised not only in Malaysia but throughout the world. It also brings together SMECorp which is involved in the promotion of SMEs in Malaysia. Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing has been involved in many collaborative efforts with the government of Malaysia. We’ve acknowledged his big contribution to the country and this is yet another step in direction of closer collaboration with public and private sectors. He has done us proud, he has built the Malaysian global brand, he has built the Malaysian brand not only in Malaysia but throughout the world. It is my hope that SMECorp might latching on to the expertise of LUCT, would be able to add value to small-medium enterprises in Malaysia not only to penetrate the global market but more importantly to grow bigger. We want our SMEs to grow bigger in the years to come. This is a very exciting year. As you know there are three pillars to the new economic model: to be high income economy, to ensure that development is sustainable, and finally to make sure that growth is inclusive. SMEs is about inclusivity. If you develop the big ones, it expands the small ones. If you fail to bring up the small ones to become bigger, if you fail to devote attention to the rural economy for example, then we are not going to be inclusive. Therefore, this is a very important initiative and it is my hope that this initiative will result in Malaysia being recognised as a country which has given a lot of priority attention to the development of small and medium enterprises.

Ladies and gentlemen, the current global economic environment and increased liberalisation has indeed brought about a more competitive environment, with an increasing number of new entrants into the market. To remain relevant and competitive, it is critical to enhance the competitiveness of products and services offered through improved design and branding, as well as to deploy innovative marketing strategies. In this context, branding has become an increasingly important component of product marketing.

As consumer preferences become increasingly sophisticated, there will obviously be greater demand for higher quality and more personalised products and services. It is pertinent, therefore, for companies to keep pace with the rapidly changing trends in demand patterns of consumers to ensure the sustainability of their product brands.

I would like to quote from Jeremy Bullmore, a very important figure in the advertising scene: “Ordinary people can spread good and bad information about brands faster than marketers.”

Ladies and gentlemen, we all agree that ‘brand’, whether it is a product or service, or a country for that matter, is actually a collection of perceptions in the minds of the consumers. Separating the mundane from the excellent it is “the degree which the brand leaves its mark and cultivate loyalty”. The brand can evoke a positive or negative aura over the country’s products and services. For example, perception of a place can influence investment; tourism and consumers buying power. For instance, when France is mentioned, what comes to mind are, images of sophistication, cosmetics and high-end fashion. Malaysia, which carries the brand “Truly Asia”, reflects a country that is home to a unique potpourri of Asian cultures—Malay, Chinese, Indian—along with many indigenous groups displaying the richness of a plethora of food and culture. In fact, 1Malaysia itself is a brand and it brings with it attributes of national unity, ethnic tolerance and government efficiency. Indeed, branding has evolved into a very important element of development, it has become a way of life!

I have taken note that much have been done to achieve the brand vision, including initiatives such as the ‘Made in Malaysia’ and ‘Malaysia’s Best’ label. These highly commendable efforts notwithstanding, we must double up our efforts to work towards ensuring Malaysian brands are the preferred global products and services globally. Although we have yet to see the day when Malaysian brands can reach the stature of brands like ‘MERCEDES-BENZ’, ‘NIKE’ and ’COCA-COLA’, today we can stand tall and be very proud of the fact that some of our own Malaysian brands such as ‘PROTON’, ‘PERODUA’ and ‘MAS’ and AirAsia have shown a remarkable commitment to quality, design and innovation, making its mark in the international market. Other notable success stories of Malaysian brands include Lewre Shoes, Secret Recipe—our best cheesecake—Top Glove, Parkson; these are some examples of very successful Malaysian brands.

Ladies and gentlemen, to ensure the sustainability of Malaysia ‘s best brands in the market place, the Government is giving an added focus on promoting quality brands to build consumer loyalty and along the way is able to differentiate Malaysian products and services in the market. The pursuit of such quality requires rigorous improvements, particularly in the areas of product design, packaging, labeling and marketing. In fact, this focus is very much amplified in the Third Industrial Master Plan (IMP3) which incorporates brand strategies and policies at three levels that is national, industry and corporate levels. Various support programmes have been undertaken by a number of government agencies to assist Malaysian companies. In MITI, MATRADE and SME Corp. for example, conduct seminars and workshops for Malaysian companies to keep abreast with changes in the business environment as well as to enhance their knowledge on branding.

In tandem with the aforementioned programmes and initiatives, the importance of branding as a National Agenda was further underscored in the 7th National SME Development Council meeting, chaired by the PM. A decision was made to introduce an integrated approach to branding among Malaysian SMEs, recognising the fact that competitiveness among SMEs is vital in ensuring higher contribution to the country’s GDP, employment and exports, SME Corp. together with MATRADE undertook various initiatives to enhance the level of awareness on the importance of branding, that is using branding as a means of facilitating better access to markets. In this regard, a new initiative named the “SME Brand Development Programme” was introduced to enhance the visibility of SME products and services in both domestic and international markets. Through this programme, MITI would like to change the public perception that SME products are of low quality, not reliable and unattractive in terms of packaging, compared with the big successful brand names.

I am pleased to inform that one of the key components of the SME Brand Development Program is the introduction of the “National Mark of Malaysian Brands” launched on 2nd March 2009. The first level entry requirement to the National Mark of Malaysian Brand, requires companies to meet the minimum 3 star rating under SME Corp.’s SCORE (SME Competitive Rating For Enhancement) programme. SCORE is a management tool used created to measure the performance and capabilities of SMEs.

For companies to be certified as “Malaysia Brand”, they will need to go through a stringent process of auditing and monitoring to ensure conformity to the set criteria.

Only deserving companies will be awarded with the National Mark, for which their products and services are given the right to carry this Mark for a period of two years. Annual reviews will be undertaken to ensure that companies conform to the criteria set. Through this initiative, it is hoped that Malaysian companies, Malaysian brands are developed not just for the local market, but more importantly they are able to penetrate the international market as well.

This mark ladies and gentlemen will later be extensively promoted by MATRADE together with Tourism Malaysia to the international market. As for companies which are awarded the National Mark, I am pleased to inform you that MITI through its agencies SME Corp. and MATRADE have lined up a number of benefits for the National Mark recipients. I am very pleased to announce that
these benefits include:

  1. MATRADE will facilitate companies’ access to ongoing local and international promotion activities, and advertising and promotion activities
  2. special passes to MICCI-SME Corp. mentoring programmes to facilitate their participation in the global marketplace directly or become suppliers to internationally renowned corporations; and
  3. qualified SMEs will be invited to specific training opportunities organised by SME Corp. and its partners

In this regard, it is my hope that Malaysian companies especially SMEs will grab this golden opportunity and come forward to participate in these programmes and avail themselves of the various incentives that have been put in place. I believe that through the various SME development programmes that have been put in place and with the cooperation rendered by various other ministries and agencies, SME Corp. would be able to spearhead the development of dynamic, competitive, resilient and innovative SMEs, able to integrate itself into the New Economic Model of the country.

Ladies and Gentlemen, moving forward, today we will witness a historical event that leaves a mark in the country’s journey of branding. In this regard, I congratulate once again SME Corp. Malaysia, and LUCT for their collaboration in establishing the “Brand Innovation Centre.” This strategic collaboration clearly shows that the Government is serious in reaching out to meet the industry needs and requirements.

This program is very much aligned to the Government’s efforts to enhance the visibility of SMEs products and services in both the domestic and international markets. I am pleased to note that the focus of the Centre is not just promoting awareness on the importance of branding and packaging on site, but that it had also included off site initiatives as well. The bus is a case in point. I have been informed that the Centre will provide training on branding and packaging to SMEs across the country through its SME Branding and Packaging Mobile Gallery which is expected to be launched later this year the YAB Prime Minister.

Through this initiative I strongly believe that the partnership between SME Corp. and LUCT will lead to great outcomes. This memorandum that will be exchanged this afternoon will seal the commitment from both parties to work together towards developing SMEs in Malaysia, a very important sector indeed, namely in the areas of branding and packaging. I firmly believe that we can collectively realise our mutual objectives at a much faster pace, with outcomes desired by each party, delivered with passion, commitment, integrity.

Before I conclude, let me enlighten you with a quote from Stephen King. I quote “A product is something made in a factory. A brand is something that is bought by the customer. A product can be copied by a competitor. A brand is unique. A product can be quickly outdated. A successful brand is timeless.”

Ladies and gentlemen, once again I would like to thank Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing and his team in LUCT for agreeing to collaborate with SME Corp as you’re aware this discussion has been going on for a few months, and today is the climax, today is the peak of all this collaboration. It’s just the beginning of course there’s more to come. And we hope with this collaboration, we’re going to see stronger collaboration between MITI and LUCT. This cooperation has been going on for many years between Tan Sri and many agencies in government. This is yet another testimony to the close collaboration between the public and private sector in Malaysia. From our point of view, SMEs play a very important role. SMEs indeed are expected to play a very important role in achieving the new economic model of being highly successful, highly developed country by 2020. 99.2% of enterprise in Malaysia, if we ignore them, if we marginalise them, then we’re in for greater trouble. Therefore it is only right that we devote a lot of priority to this very important segment of the economy.

And I would like to reiterate once more, that the success of this company, of this country depends a lot on the success of SMEs, the success indeed success of the new economic model will hinge upon the successful development of SMEs.

It is my hope once again that this collaboration will enhance branding and packaging of SMEs in Malaysia. It will result in SMEs in Malaysia being able to penetrate the global market and in the process bring about greater development and progress to Malaysia both rural and urban. Thank you ladies and gentlemen once again.

On that note dan dengan lafaz bismillah saya dengan segala sukacitanya merasmikan Brand Innovation Centre. Terima kasih assalamualaikum.