BEF 2017 aims to improve SMEs branding awareness

By FARA AISYAH

Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) and the Branding Association of Malaysia launched the Brand Entrepreneurs Conference 2017 (BEF 2017) yesterday, with the aim to improve branding awareness especially among the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Matrade deputy CEO Sharimahton Mat Saleh said branding is a key business pro- position often overlooked by Malaysian companies venturing abroad.

“The conference is an effective platform for companies to enhance their knowledge in branding. Good and effective branding is a necessity for any brand to succeed globally and it is not an optional investment,” she said.

According to Sharimahton, this event which is supported by the International Trade and Industry Ministry, is one of the training programmes organised by Matrade with SMEs as its main focus.

Among the reasons for this initiative is due to the fact that the contribution from SMEs to exports is still low at 17.6%, and it is targeted to increase to 23% by 2020.

“The Malaysian market is so small, so you have to export your products. You cannot wait for people to come in. Since Ali- baba Group Holding Ltd has come to Malaysia, there will be changes in the e-market. If you are not visible and noticeable, you will be affected,” Sharimahton added.

The conference also aims at educating entrepreneurs on the importance of innovation, digitalisation, brand culture and understanding the Malaysian landscape.

Meanwhile, Branding Association of Malaysia president Datuk Eric Chong said brands are assets that require plenty of nurturing and development, following the changes happening in the modern business world.

“In this advanced era, businesses require a thorough implementation of innovations, digitalisation and a powerful brand culture. It is not merely about sustaining the business, it is about making a brand promise,” he added.

The conference targets approximately 600 participants preferably from young entrepreneurs.

“We would like to listen to their ideas. These are the people who have created new business models that are changing the conventional branding,” Chong said.

The BEF 2017 will be held on Aug 7.