The Yin and Yang of Marketing: Navigating Brand and Demand in Asia 

How can brands harmonize brand marketing and demand generation for sustainable growth? 

In the bustling markets of Asia, where tradition dances with innovation, the battle between brand marketing and demand generation rages on. As companies vie for attention and market share, they grapple with a fundamental question: Which path leads to sustainable growth?  

Brand Marketing: The Art of Storytelling

Brand marketing is the soul of a company – the narrative that weaves through its DNA. It’s the symphony of colors, fonts, and emotions that evoke recognition and loyalty.  

In Asia, brand marketing transcends mere aesthetics; it encapsulates cultural intricacies. It is about preserving heritage while embracing the future. It is the delicate brushstroke that paints cultural nuances, the scent of incense in a bustling marketplace, and the whispered promise of authenticity. Imagine your brand as a tea ceremony – an intricate choreography of leaves, water, and time. Each cup tells a story, and every sip carries centuries of tradition. Moreover, Asia’s consumers crave authenticity. They seek brands that honor their roots while embracing modernity. Your brand is not just a design; but a bridge between generations.  

Take MUJI for example, the iconic home goods retailer, whose “no-brand” philosophy echoes Japan’s minimalist aesthetic and lifestyle. Their products design and eco-friendly practices embody simplicity, functionality, and sustainability. Similarly, up and coming fragrance brand To Summer artfully marries traditional Chinese scents with contemporary sensibilities, symbolizing a bridge between legacy and innovation. At the core of its product designs, To Summer is committed to restoring Eastern botanical scents, while incorporating modern elements in its packaging and retail experiences. 

Demand Generation: The Science of Conversion

Demand generation, on the other hand, is the alchemist’s potion – data-driven marketing that turns curiosity into action. It’s the digital bazaar where clicks become conversions.  

In Asia, it is the neon glow of a night market, the haggling over prices, and the thrill of discovery. Picture your demand generation as a street food stall with the inviting sizzle of skewers and aroma of spices. For Asian consumers, demand generation is synonymous with urgency, akin to a street vendor’s cry of “Limited stock, last chance!”  

Luckin Coffee’s rise in China exemplifies this urgency, capturing consumers’ attention through exciting product launches and brand partnership campaigns. This allowed them to seize the China market with break-neck speed, swiftly surpassing industry giant Starbucks last June. In 2023, Luckin Coffee launched 102 new products, including one Baijiu-infused coffee in collaboration with China’s esteemed liquor brand Maotai. 

The Dance of Growth

Harmonize the Yin and Yang

Successful growth in Asia requires a harmonious blend of brand marketing and demand generation. They are not rivals but rather synergistic dance partners, with brand storytelling setting the stage while demand generation fills the seats. The key lies in regularly fine-tuning your brand-to-demand ratios based on the goals of your brand, the product/campaign and audience response. Brand and demand teams also need to commit to open communication and engagement to achieve an integrated decision-making process.  

In the past two years, Prophet has interviewed brand and demand marketing leaders across the world to understand how these functions can be brought together to drive greater impact. Our research found that the majority (60%) of marketers have a ‘balanced approach’ to Brand and Demand. It’s the orchestration of both channels that often defines their effectiveness. (Download our global report here.) 

A great example of how balancing brand and demand can drive uncommon growth is Lululemon. Consumers in Asia are increasingly health-conscious, yearning for meaningful experiences with physical and mental wellbeing. Capturing these unmet needs, Lululemon markets a healthy lifestyle by placing a great emphasis on building confidence and empowering people through innovative products and positive experiences. By focusing on its core values, Lululemon creates a brand that resonates with its audience. On the other hand, Lululemon focuses on creating a deep connection with its customers through community building on top of brick-and-mortar and e-commerce expansion in Asia. This creates a sense of scarcity while urging customers to join its events. It also allows Lululemon to listen more closely to what the local customers need (e.g. launching Asia Fit line). This strategy helps Lululemon to continuously drive demand, loyalty and advocacy. 

Localizing the Choreography

Asia isn’t a monolith; it’s a mosaic. Brands must adapt their moves to each cultural tile. While it is important to adhere to consistent brand essence and offerings across all global markets, local cultural nuances must be considered when developing a go-to-market strategy for each Asian region. From Japan’s deep bows to India’s respectful nods, cultural sensitivity is paramount in crafting a bespoke go-to-market strategy tailored to each locale. Localization isn’t a checkbox; it’s a pas de deux with the fast-evolving tradition, subcultures and behaviors of the diverse region.  

For example, UGG sought to enhance its relevance and engage Gen-Z consumers globally in a compelling and authentic manner. Partnering with Prophet, UGG embarked on a comprehensive segmentation research, delving into multiple APAC countries to craft tailored consumer journey maps that accounted for regional nuances and cultural intricacies. 

Similarly, Prophet’s collaboration with The North Face yielded a unique positioning and localized customer experience for its loyalty program in Greater China. The brand hoped to expand on the types of benefits provided by the program beyond monetary rewards, ensuring representation of the organization’s brand DNA while elevating consumer perceptions, building greater engagement and further differentiating itself from competitors.  

Orchestrating Moments

In Asia, cultural festivities serve as pivotal crescendos for brand narratives. From Chinese New Year’s jubilant fireworks to Diwali’s vibrant rangolis, brands must choreograph their presence amidst these cultural symphonies.  

Singtel, a Singaporean telecommunications conglomerate, has made a tradition of releasing heartwarming short films for Chinese New Year. These films celebrate the power of technology in connecting families and friends. For instance, their 2023 film, “Don’t Worry, Be Hoppy!” showcases the role the telco plays in bringing families and friends together. Continuing the tradition, Singtel launched a three-minute film titled “A Date With Spring” in 2024 which is a nod to the power of technology to inspire and empower all generations. Singtel’s previous Chinese New Year’s series since 2020 collectively garnered over 50 million views to date as their commitment to storytelling resonated strongly with viewers. Furthermore, Singtel recognizes National Day, one of Singapore’s most significant holidays, by creating annual tributes. Last year in 2023, Singtel released a powerful documentary “From Mudflats to Smart Nation”. This 23-minute film explores Singapore’s remarkable journey of innovation and pivotal role of technology in shaping the country into a smart nation. 


Amidst the flickering neon signs and fragrant incense of Asian markets, growth is a harmonious interplay between brand magic and demand science. Marketers are urged to embrace this fusion, letting Asia’s vibrant rhythm propel you towards prosperity. 

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