Is Confucianism the Secret to Brand Success?

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In an article published by adnews.com.au, the authors credits the success of many Chinese brands in today’s global market to the country’s fundamental education system of strict discipline and high academic achievement culture strongly influenced by East Asia Confucian values. They believe that workers that emerge from this type of education system adopt a strong work ethic in their workplace that ultimately leads to better outcomes for an organisation.

They further discuss Asia based airlines such as Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines and propose that “these prestigious airlines have built brand awareness through their high quality workforce providing Asian caring service, putting the customer first.”

These two airlines have both ranked in the top three best airlines in 2015 (SKYTRAX)

The strong staff work ethic and customer focus values from both airlines is evident within their respective advertising campaigns. Consider the following images from Cathay Pacific’s  current campaign:

Credit: cathaypacific.com

The common theme across the above messages is a harmonious and respectful interaction between their staff and customers and within staff themselves which runs parallel to East Confucian emphasis of maintaining harmonious and positive relationships in all aspects of life.

Singapore Airlines has also changed their advertising message recently to reemphasise their flight attendant’s dedication to creating a harmonious relationship with their passengers. As explained by Singapore Airlines’ Sheldon Hee, Vice President – Marketing Communications & Development, “The campaign is very much about the spirit of Singapore Airlines and the lengths that we go to make sure that each and every customer feels at home, feels that their needs are anticipated and taken care of.”

Since 2014, Qantas attempted to rebuild their tarnished image with a “Feels like home” advertising campaign consisting of real passenger homecoming stories including:

– Young women to returning to Sydney from London to reunite with her mum and sister
– Miner coming home to his family after a work excursion in rural Australia
– A mother living in Hong Kong, bringing her baby home to meet her grandparents for the first time

This campaign also demonstrates a strong sense of Confucianism through the importance of family relationships and filial piety.

Applying Confucian values in education systems and workplace culture has achieved brand success in Asian brands, and it appears that Western brands are starting adopt some of these values into their future business strategies.

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