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Learning from the new kids on the block

In a country where life is increasingly being lived online, there are key lessons to be learnt from some of the most dynamic and fast-growing technology brands.


These are brands that don’t necessarily qualify for inclusion in the BrandZ Top 50 ranking, either because they don’t yet have the scale to make the list, or they are not publicly listed companies, but they are playing a growing role in people’s lives – and shifting consumer expectations in sectors far beyond their own.


While these brands are shaking things up with the way they do business, challenging norms for their categories and redefining category boundaries, they are often following a text-book approach to building strong, valuable brands that perform well in BrandZ rankings. They are meaningfully different to their competitors, they have a strong sense of purpose that goes beyond what they do, they communicate in a distinctive and prominent way, they are focused on the customer experience, and they are always innovating. These brands are building powerful, emotional connections with consumers that rival those of brands in any category.





Share of life


It is easy to imagine that technology brands are in a category of their own and should be considered apart from other brands. But these brands are occupying a growing proportion of people’s time, and making themselves part of people’s lives in ways that stand to impact on many non-tech brands and categories. And their potential to disrupt and grow further is immense.


The poster child in this area is China’s Tencent, which began as a simple online chat app and now offers services that encompass shopping, payment services, social networking and entertainment. Tencent now has a brand value of US$108.3 billion, making it the eighth most valuable brand in the world, according to the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2017.


In Indonesia, there are three tech brands setting the pace for brands across the board.


* Traveloka started as an online flight-booking service and has grown to become Indonesia’s biggest online booking service for flights and hotels. It is among the top 10 biggest spenders on TV advertising in the country, and sells itself on the message “What you see is what you pay”. This commitment to clear pricing and a best-price guarantee make choosing easy, and innovations also look to take the pain out of shopping around. The brand has formed partnerships with Tripadvisor and AiryRooms, a local version of Airbnb, and makes it easy for customers to amend their bookings. Traveloka has 61.7 percent of the brand equity in the travel sector.



* Go-Jek was a pioneer when it launched as a motorcycle ride-sharing app, but has expanded into other transport-related services, so you can send parcels by Go-Jek, have takeaway meals delivered, and even transfer cash via the Go-Jek app. It’s about growing its share of life, in much the same way as Tencent has done in China. Go-Jek has 25.8 percent of the brand equity in in the transport category.



* Tokopedia is one of the biggest online marketplaces in Indonesia, and succeeds in a highly competitive market. The brand stands for three key things: the cheapest products, a vast range, and secure, easy shopping through a payment system that means the seller only gets their money once the customer receives their order. In this way, Tokopedia has overcome some of the major barriers to consumers shopping online. Growth has come about through repeated innovation, including a partnership with Go-Jek for one-day delivery, a points-based loyalty program, and regular lucky deals offering cash back for both buyers and sellers. The brand’s broader mission is to shape a better Indonesia via the internet. Tokopedia has 18.3 percent of brand equity in the e-commerce sector.



Taking it offline

What other brands can learn from the tech pioneers



  • Push category boundaries to get closer to people and play a greater role in consumers’ lives, even in small ways. 
  • Collaborate with other brands if it makes your consumers’ lives easier.
  • Make innovation something that happens constantly. But it must be meaningful innovation that serves a purpose. Everyone can see through novelty. 
  • Provide an experience that is deeper and more emotional than simply delivering what you promised.
  • Make it clear through your communications what your purpose is and why your brand exists.