Asian brands will you please rise?

Posted by
Asian brands will you please rise?


As a British born Asian I’m no stranger to Asian brands.  As a kid I regularly shopped with my grandmother.  Scouring the shops, finding the best deals. She wouldn’t have dreamt of buying our everyday pantry items from the supermarket.  Fast forward 30 years and the growing expansion of the World Food aisles in supermarkets it’s a very different story.

Convenience is king

The smarter brands have cottoned on to the fact that this generation of shopper’s place convenience above most things. Where can I buy it? When can I buy it? What pack formats can I buy it? But, despite access to so much research & knowledge there’s still a plethora of Asian brands that are getting the fundamentals so wrong.  Here’s our top #5 mistakes.

#1 Don’t get tunnel vision

It’s easy to pigeonhole your target market and assume that only Asians will be interested in your brand. Wrong. Not only do a growing number of British Asians see your brands as dated ‘something my parents would buy’. *But curry is now seen as more than the nations favourite takeaway. It’s now the nations favourite food to make in the kitchen.

#2 Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

In 1972 a family which fled Uganda after being expelled by dictator Idi Amin came to the UK and sold rice to the UK’s fast-growing community of immigrants from India and Bangladesh but quickly realised, they could steal a much bigger piece of the cake. Understanding where the market was going and learning from competitor brands like Uncle Bens, they launched smaller packs, convenient microwavable packs and many, many new flavours.  41 years later it sold the company for a staggering £250m.

#3 Nobody raves about average

Early last year when my brother decided to get married, we started off the ritual of finding ‘the outfit’. It started off so well, but what promised to be a great experience left me very bitter. To cut a long story very short.  We were promised 4 tailormade outfits by a X date. No updates were given along the way.  Our outfits arrived over a week later than promised and certainly were not tailormade. After being altered we refused to leave or pay until the Manager showed up.  £1,600 poorer, his response “You are an extremely ungrateful lady, and never step foot in my store again”.

I never did go back, and I did what any self-respecting person does. I turned to social media to share my negative experience to deter anyone else from buying from him.

#4 We’re not all the same

Don’t treat your customers as just another number or assume you know your market and that they all want the same thing.  When you diversify, you are faced with a whole new set of challenges that can’t be answered with a one size fits all approach.  Understanding that different audiences buy through different channels should help to tailor your communication and your marketing. A single person buying a pouch of microwavable rice isn’t necessarily the person that will by a 10kg bag.  Start building profiles and segment your communication accordingly.

#5 Availability & Convenience

Earlier in the article we touched on convenience and the power it brings to a brand.  We’re all increasingly time poor and want shortcuts to getting what we want.  Think Jamie Oliver’s 5 Easy Ingredients. The Bodycoach’s 15-minute workouts.  They’re all designed to fit around your lifestyle.  Make sure that you consider that when you are looking at pack formats and store listings.  Having to shop in 3 different places because a brand or retailer hasn’t considered my needs will leave me feeling cold.


  1. If your brand is going to survive think about how you connect with a younger generation and how you can grow your market beyond the obvious.
  2. †Don’t be fooled into thinking that price is the main reason for customer churn. Poor customer service is actually the number 1 reason.
  3. Provide regular updates. There are many free tools available that can help you do this
  4. ±A dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience. Whilst 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people.
  5. °92% of consumers trust peer reviews. Bad reviews can cause irreparable damage.
  6. It costs 6-7 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one, so plug that leaky bucket and show yours some love and attention.
  7. In this day and age, your competitor set goes beyond your immediate competitors. Look at the top performing brands in all sectors and think about what learnings you can apply to yours.

If you want to have a chat about how we can help grow your brand, please feel free to give us a call or drop us a line.


* 21.6 percent of 2004 respondents in Ubamarket research stated curry was their favourite food, with a Thai curry topping the list.

± White House Office of Consumer Affairs

Accenture global customer satisfaction report

° Vendasta research


Leave a Reply