The Art Of Branding

2012

Mr Luke Lim has probably shaped many leading brands you see today in Singapore. After all, he is the CEO and founder of multiple award-winning branding and business growth consultancy A.S. Louken, which has been forging countless successful identities for companies here in the last 11 years. Its impressive portfolio – with names like Philips Lighting, Sony Singapore, BreadTalk, Charles & Keith, Jean Yip, Tangs, Ben & Jerry’s and Tung Lok group of restaurants – lists like a “Who’s Who” of corporate Singapore and leading SMEs today. A.S. Louken has been awarded top local brand consultancy for two times in 6 years, top 3 for the last 6 times.

Mr Lim takes carefully calculated approaches toward his clients and in the running of his 60-man strong company, true to his educational background in engineering. Although A.S Louken sees tremendous success, their active efforts to promote themselves as such have appeared minimal. They have no need to, simply because their clients’ impressive achievements and growth rates are more than sufficient in proving A.S Louken’s brilliant brand developing capabilities.

Mr Lim is also a frequent guest speaker at many branding and business related venues and universities; a testament to his highly sought-after opinions and the valuable commentary he provides. He is also often invited to judge various business awards and competitions, such as the Franchisor of the Year award, the NTU Business Plan Competition and the World Retail awards. To top it all off, he also authored a growth strategy book called Secrets of the Little Red Cow, featuring many of his clients’ success stories as examples to illustrate the power of effective branding.

Some of his successes can be perhaps attributed to his early career as a trade officer at the former Trade Development Board, known today as International Enterprise Singapore. The two-year stint opened up his horizons and allowed him to see the disparity in how local and overseas SMEs market themselves. He differentiated A.S. Louken from his competitors – especially consultancies from overseas – by understanding their needs in the local business scene, and importantly the common local lingo as well. Mr Lim saw the opportunity in helping these local businesses realise their potential and the rest, as they say, is history.

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

What are some of the toughest challenges for your business?

Branding strategy was really not a popular notion 10 years ago when we started. People talked about advertising, promotions, marketing, but there was just not enough exposure to the power of branding in Singapore back then. Convincing local companies was really a challenge, and we had to depend on word of mouth to get our ideals going. Grooming capable leaders to maintain our goodwill is also something we have to constantly achieve, even today.

What keeps your company so unified?

It is the shared vision of wanting to the best brand and business growth development agency. This vision really unites the whole team and becomes the source of motivation for us.

How do you manage your employees? Any particular leadership style you prefer?

Leadership improvement and grooming is really an important aspect for us. I pick out those with both the hardware and software – technical skills complemented with a positive, committed attitude – and empower them with the right approach for them to bring out their potential.

Most people believe that Singaporean clients are really a difficult bunch to deal with. What do you think?

I disagree. I’d say a company has to really manage expectations, gain customer confidence and if things go wrong, you have to go all out and recover that trust. Cultural differences do create a sense of novelty, but every customer is different and they all have their own quirks.

What inspires you?

The strengths of every successful entrepreneur always impress me. I look up to a lot of these  people and their ability to hone their strong traits into something that defines them.

“We live to build business.”

Source: Small Medium Business Association