Jessalynn Chen – the Asia lead for branding and design consultancy Brandient – speaks to Consultancy.asia on the firm’s regional footprint.
Established in Bucharest in 2002, brand consultancy Brandient less than a decade later entered the Southeast Asian market with an office launch in Singapore – described by the company as together with Hong Kong the most important market in Asia for branding & consulting and creative services. Earlier this year, Brandient announced it was stepping up its broader Asia presence, with the recruitment of former Fitch Singapore business director Jessalynn Chen.
“We welcome Jess to lead our Asian office – she is a critical and strategic thinker, bringing not only the professional acumen but also the character and values that made Brandient a sought-after branding partner in the Eastern world,” Brandient’s co-founder and managing partner Aneta Bogdan said in April. Having spent more than a decade with Fitch, Chen talks to Consultancy.asia on her transition to Brandient and the firm’s local market activities.
Consultancy.asia: What motivated you in joining Brandient, a relatively new player in Asia?
Chen: After coming close to 13 years in a comfortable position within a well-known global retail and brand experience consultancy, I felt more than ready for a new challenge, to learn new things, and coincidentally the opportunity with Brandient came knocking. An entrepreneur once told me, there’s no better time to do something entrepreneurial because every opportunity bears a good fighting chance. For something this hard to come by, I thought why not?
Consultancy.asia: Brandient is a branding and design consultancy, a broad field. What are the firm’s stand-out offerings?
Chen: Brandient is a specialist in brand innovation in emerging markets and industries – having delivered brand advice, creation and transformation to more than 200 brands worldwide for the past 17 years. Behind all this, we always bring a multidisciplinary mix of brains, competencies, and cultural understanding to the table – from marketing to business management and design thinking.
Our DNA and point of differentiation is one of a business consultancy approach together with an award-winning creative and design team. And to add, where we have seen and ensured success in business change is in engaging and aligning the organisation from within, so that the internal and external voice and behaviour of the brand is both consistent and powerful.
Consultancy.asia: And Brandient’s major sectors/segments of focus?
Chen: We have collaborated with investment funds and VCs across almost all industries, from technology brands to fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and regional retail chains to large multi-national telecoms, banks, and new economy start-ups – be that for new brand creation or fixing the entangled brands following a merger or acquisition.
Consultancy.asia: How has Brandient developed in Asia since your appointment?
Chen: The past six months have been used in anchoring our offer, finding our voice – the right amount to get noticed for our strengths and capabilities, and at the right time to be remembered and respected for our passion, expertise and craft – while continuing to deliver projects for our main client in the region, YTL Group (a Malaysian infrastructure conglomerate).
I am also very proud to say that our creation of the Geneco brand for the Open Electricity Market (OEM) in Singapore has done extremely well in just one year after the brand launch. Geneco is now the number 2 brand, with a more than 20 percent market share out of 13 players!
Consultancy.asia: What are the regional ambitions for Brandient in the next twelve months?
Chen: Apart from continuing to serve our existing clients in Singapore and Malaysia, Brandient will extend our business consulting, brand strategy, corporate alignment and internal engagement, design and identity services to more local and regional entrepreneurs and corporations.
Brandient was born out an entrepreneurial approach, and we’d like to work with the like-minded to achieve successful and effective brand innovation and business transformation given current economic times. For us, it’s about being bold and unrelenting in the ever-changing new normal; offering true, smart solutions to a challenging context. If brands are not for value, they are for nothing.
Consultancy.asia: Lastly, Brandient was born in Eastern Europe – how is that international mix blending in with local Asian demands?
Chen: The emergent market environment in Eastern Europe makes a for a good match with markets in Southeast Asia. Also, with this in-depth exposure to the Eastern European culture, I have learnt many similarities between the two markets – the business mannerism, characteristics and values such as the importance of earnest relationship building; an aspect that I am known for delivering in my professional life, and that makes up the ‘Jess brand’!