Building Brands, Building Hope

Congratulations to Miguel Belmonte, Gracie Go, and the rest of their team for winning the Marketing Company of the Year Award.  This award has eluded the RFM group up until now despite beating some market leaders (hope the judges would read this).  Kidding aside, building a brand is what makes a company valuable. Entrepreneurial marketing is what separates the men from the boys.

If we look at how entrepreneurs develop brands, there is no other way to do it but to be a brand specialist.  What do I mean by this?  Filipinos have very simple minds in the sense that when you think of ice cream, burger, cellphones, only certain brands would come to mind.  This is why it is important to be the top of mind brand for the consumer.  For example, when you think of bookstore, National Bookstore comes to mind for many people, for hamburger fastfood, Jollibee.  For malls, it would probably be SM that would be the top of mind of many.

The danger in the process of building a brand is when one extends the use to so many different products which will only confuse the consumer. The success of building a brand will spell the difference in one’s ability to achieve success in a business model.

There are businesses however that are not sensitive to brand building, like for commodities such as sugar, flour and chicken.  For these products price is usually the key.  And yet, there are those who are so good in finding differentiations like in providing better services or better quality than others. 

Thus, one could still achieve in creating value even in a commodity business.  What Gardenia achieved in branding loaf bread is remarkable, positioning it using the freshness approach. Once one is able to infuse entrepreneurial marketing into a business model, then that person has a chance to move forward and surpass others.

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On December 15 to 17 we will be having the Go Negosyo for OFWs and Balikbayans in Market! Market! Trade Halls A&B. Why do a Go Negosyo for OFWs?  A lot of Filipinos think that the migration of workers is due to the lack of jobs here. To some extent it’s true but let’s keep in mind that the economies of the world are bigger and have been growing like those in the Middle East, United States, Europe and Japan.  These countries have a huge demand for managerial and skilled workers.

These economies are huge compared to the Philippines, take for example the Middle East countries which are the largest oil producers.  These countries tap talented overseas workers that have relatively more reasonable rates than their locals; and yet these rates are considered higher with respect to Philippine standards. Let’s look at the good side.  Many of these people would not be able to find jobs anyway that would pay them the rates they would get there.
The OFW market, and if we include the Balikbayans, are so big today that they are major contributors to the country’s GNP.  They are the biggest buyers of real estate today and also in effect, the angel investors for a lot of Filipino families getting into business.
It would be timely to have special forums that hopefully will guide these OFWs and Balikbayans on viable business opportunities and alternative investment instruments where they can put their money wisely so when they come home, they have a business that is running well.  The expo and forum will showcase different business models and try to move away from the usual sari-sari store.  Maybe we can introduce them to the sari sari store of the future which will have more of the “convenience store look” with an internet center along with it or a VoIP center. 
We will also have Francisco Colayco, known for his book “Pera Mo, Palaguin Mo” to guide them on investing their money.  Anthony and Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan will also discuss family values which is very important as we see a lot of family-related problems. 
We are working closely on this project with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) led by their dynamic administrator Nito Roque.  The President will also be there on the second day to award the Most Inspiring OFW Entrepreneurs and hopefully will be able to join a forum with the  entrepreneurs and the top 3 sea-based agencies like Rica Limcaoco of Philippine Transmarine Carriers (PTC), Robbie Delgado of  Transnational Diversified Group (TDG), and Doris Ho of Magsaysay Maritime Corporation.

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me share another inspiring story. His name is Andrei Gonzales but most people call him Chico. He is a 26-year old web designer who founded Handycap Media. Why the business name? You might ask. He had an accident 13 years ago which had him paralyzed from waist down. He still cannot move his right arm up until now and he has to use a device attached in his throat in order to breathe properly. His dad got him a laptop three years ago and he eventually got interested in web design.

Chico enrolled in a crash course in web design and eventually sought out clients, mostly thru referrals from friends, looking at billboards and watching TV. Right now he meets his client every Thursday to discuss the progress of the life-insurance community website which is almost finished and is right on schedule.

Together with two of his friends, Chico formed Handycap Media which he hopes will someday grow into a tri-media production outfit that will not only include web design but video editing and desktop publishing as well. I was really inspired by this story because Chico is an example of a person who did not let his disability hinder him from getting a job as a freelance web designer and eventually become an entrepreneur.

His story not only reminds us to be grateful for blessings of having a healthy body but it also inspires us to overcome our own adversities. I wish him the best of luck and hopefully his story will inspire everyone out there to pursue their dreams despite the odds and serious challenges in life.

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Dear Ms. Resureccion,

A very good day to you!  Just call me Mr. Dubai kasi nandito pa ako sa UAE nagtatrabaho. Gusto kong malaman kung anong negosyo ang pwede ko ng simulan kahit andito ako sa Dubai.  Hindi naman lagi kasi nasa abroad ako at gusto kong meron akong negosyo bago ako tumigil sa Pinas.

Salamat ng marami! Yung pasalubong sa bakasyun ko nalang.

Mr. Dubai,

It’s a good thing that you are already thinking of a business even as you continue earning as an employee now. I suggest you save as much as you can and do your business planning now. Kung gusto mong magbusiness habang nasa Dubai ka, look for problems there na kaya mong sagutan and earn from that. For example, kung mahal ang gupit ng buhok or massage dyan, start an informal barber service or massage business. Kung maraming gustong magpadala sa Pinas, ipunin mo ang mga padala nila tapos ikaw ang magtake care ng pagpapadala by bulk – a la informal LBC. Basta look for problems ng mga tao dyan and transform them into opportunities.

You did not tell me about your job. Why don’t you learn as much as you can about that business where you are now working and see if you can do the same business here?

Finally, prepare for the business you will put up here when you come back. Make a thorough business plan so that your hard earned money will not go to waste. Generate as many options as you can first, then screen those options well so you can come up with the most feasible and viable one.

Hope I was able to help.


(Ms. Resurreccion is the President of the Competency-Based Economic Thru Formation of Entrepreneurs (CEFE) Network Foundation.  She is also the General Manager for the Passion for Perfection Consultancy. )