Archive for September, 2006
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–> Lauching of Malaysian Identity Research Website!
Today i officially launch the Malaysian Identity Website! I’ve been working on it for nearly a month. The whole process of learning to get the site up is trilling. But I manage to get it up here!
The website purposes is to investigate how people understand the perceptions of, and potentials for, Malaysian product development. It will focus in exploring communication design and it’s potential contribution to such developments. It will also explore the relationship between communication design, branding processes, cultural identity and product development.
The central of this research include the cultural implications in the process of creating Malaysian product, locally and internationally. This study intends to contribute to contemporary discussions about the cultural engagement and its implication in branding practices and their impact on countries and local industries.
That’s it, and one more thing, very
This is a research site. All the post and information from this site can be use in my PhD research. It under copyright of RMIT University and CreativeComments2006.
Durio zibethinus – a.k.a. Civet Fruit
Having one of the most pungent odors of any fruit in the world, the durian is either scorned or adored. Many regale its nutty, caramel tasting flesh, calling the durian the king of all fruits. Others will not go near it, for the intense odor, often overwhelmingly noxious, destroys any chance at enjoying the flavor. Flavor is sometimes described as a unique blend of nuts, spices, banana, and onions mixed together. Fruit is very large, sometimes over one foot long, and is covered in sharp, hard spikes. In Malaysia, most hotels will banned any visitors to bring in durian to the room. Usually you will see this sign at the entrance of the hotel.
The rambutan, is a fruit considered exotic to people outside of its native range. To people of Malaysia, Thailand, the Phillippines, Vietnam, Borneo, and other countries of this region, the rambutan is a relatively common fruit the same way an apple is common to many people in cooler climates. This may change for the rambutan over time as availability and distribution improve. The clear white flesh similar to lycee have a sweet taste and yet watery. In French, rambutan is called -ramboutan or ramboutanier and in Dutch, ramboetan. Note that the hairy skin is not to be eaten. If you interested to know more about rambutan and how to open the skin this website might comes handy – http://www.rambutan.com/
Garcinia mangostana – a.k.a Mangosteen
The mangosteen grows on small trees native to tropical Malaysia. The mangosteen has a tough, leathery purple rind that encloses white fruit segments. The flesh is juicy, sweet and slightly tart. The mangosteen is ripe when its outer skin is slightly soft to the touch and its purple color is fully developed. Ripe mangosteens keep well for 3 to 4 weeks in storage at 40 to 55 F (4.44-12.78 C). Longer periods cause the outer skin to toughen and the rind to become rubbery; later, the rind hardens and becomes difficult to open and the flesh turns dry.
Is it really a need to brand the country? What will be the outcome of this? What are the things that we aim to achieve from this process? What will be the impact of branding the country. And what will be next? Branding the nation. Or perhaps it is now. Branding according to the New Oxford American Dictionary, 2nd Edition is an identifying mark burned on livestock or (esp. formerly) criminals or slaves with a branding iron.In this contexts branding is to identify the certain things about the country. Or to project certain ideas of what the country is?
Wally Olins (2000) chairman of the branding consultancy Saffron in London and Madrid, warns that sometimes this idea of branding places is does work, but the relationship between the product and place branding is by no means simple. While there may be similarities between product and place brands, “the idea of nation as a brand is a very big mistake’.
–>What if….just to fly free with our imagination….
What if the Malaysian brands/products have the elements of Malaysian Identity? Can the product successully promote Malaysia? Can the product fly out of Malaysia and fly back witth lots of message from others who wants to know Malaysia?
Just for a minutes let us just imagine if the product is the pigeon, and the pigeon was in the colors of Malaysian Flag or with the image of Petronas Twin Tower. Can people identify that this pigeon represent Malaysia?
Illustration by Nurul Rahman
Malaysia’s flag is based on that of the United States, a country whose democratic ideals the young nation sought to emulate upon gaining independence from Great Britain in 1957. The 14 stripes represent Malaysia’s states, while the square in the upper left contains the moon and sun of Islam.
When Simon Anholt wrotes about his briliant ideas to help the developing countries by branding their places and product, I’ve ask myself about one little things that he might missed, the identity of the country. What is the country without its nation and citizent? What is the ingredients of the country? The people, the culture, the lifestyle, the history and the tradition. And to brand this? How? Is it possible, i’ve asked? His words sound easy, but i’m sure it’s not as easy as it sound. The places is a attraction of the country. Yes indeed, but how can this be branded? I would argue it it is imposible, sometimes it does happen, coincidentally not on purpose. But being branded, being label? As what the country want the others to believe?
In one of the paper I have read from brandchannel.com, by Randall Frost (19 April 2004) open up a discussion about the possibilities of branding the countries. Qoute back from the texts from Frost:
“Many think a country, place or region constitutes a brand, and now a few countires are currently working on strategies to spruce up their brand images. In the case of exports, the thinking goes sometimes like this: once a country has become known as an exporter of quality branded goods, the country’s product brands and its place brand will work together to raise expectations overseas. Country branding should then become part of a self-perpetuating cycle: as the country promotes its consumer brands, those brands will promote the country.”
Realistically, the relation between product and places brands is by no means is simple. Does it works? Sometimes? While there may be similiatities between product and country branding, the ideas of a nation as a brand, is a big mistake. (Wally Olins).
In principles product and places is the same. It’s all about identifying, developing and communicationg the parts of the identity that are favourable to some specified target groups. But the analysis of identity and of target groups perceptions, coupled with brand building activities, are much more complex for places that for products. It is much more difficult to obtain a fully intergrated communication mix in place branding. (Magne Supphellen)
I personally like the idea of the self perpetuating cycle or shall i call it the cycle of sustainability. If the country help to promote the product, the elements, the brand and the representation of the product by it self (if it’s successful) automaticlly promotes the country. The product have to hae the elements of the identity that represent the country, to promote the country. Because by knowing the product, people wants to know where the product come from or made from. To make it easier, why not designing the product with the elements of the country identity?
Credit Image from www.matrade.com.my
Sample of Malaysian Products
HIBROSS is a brand of roselle fruit cordial and dried roselle fruits in Malaysia. All products are made from fresh roselle fruits which are processed immediately after harvest. It is 100 per cent natural with no artificial flavouring or colouring. HIBROSS is further fortified with vitamins and minerals for nutrition and has traditional medicinal values. HIBROSS is manufactured by Malaysian Roselle Industries (Trg) Sdn Bhd.
This Malaysian product does have opportunities to extend the market. It would be much more helpful to Malaysia, if this brand have a elements of Malaysia in their packaging, or promotion pack. I think this is a win win game. No one will lose. It’s a cycle of suntainability.