LOOKING BACK (JOHN GOKONGWEI JR.’S AD CONGRESS SPEECH, EDITED, PART 10 OF 10)

Don’t miss out THE IRREPLACEABLE LOSS (PART 1), HARD-WORK (PART 2), OPPORTUNITY (PART 3), GROWING (PART 4), PERSEVERANCE (PART 5), DETERMINATION (PART 6), INNOVATION (PART 7), REAL PROMISING (PART 8),ASPIRATION (PART 9)

 

We should not be afraid to try-even if we are laughed at. Japan, laughed at for its cars, produced Toyota. Korea, for its electronics, produced Samsung. Meanwhile, the Philippines‘ biggest companies 50 years ago-majority of which are multinational corporations such as Coca- Cola, Procter and Gamble, and Unilever Philippines, for example-are still the biggest companies today. There are very few big, local challengers.

But already, hats off to Filipino entrepreneurs making strides to globalize their brands.

Goldilocks has had much success in the Unites States and Canada, where half of its customers are non-Filipinos. Coffee-chain Figaro may be a small player in the coffee world today, but it is making the leap to the big time. Two Filipinas, Bea Valdez and Tina Ocampo, are now selling their Philippine-made jewelry and bags all over the world. Their labels are now at Barney’s and Bergdorf’s in the U.S. and in many other high-end shops in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

When we started our own foray outside the Philippines 30 years ago, it wasn’t a walk in the park. We set up a small factory in Hong Kong to manufacture Jack and Jill potato chips there. Today, we are all over Asia. We have the number-one-potato- chips brand in Malaysia and Singapore. We are the leading biscuit manufacturer in Thailand, and a significant player in the candy market in Indonesia. Our Aces cereal brand is a market leader in many parts of China. C2 is now doing very well in Vietnam, selling over 3 million bottles a month there, after only 6 months in the market. Soon, we will launch C2 in other South East Asian markets.

I do not forget the little boy that I was in the wet market in Cebu. I still believe in family. I still want to make good. I still don’t mind going up against those older and better than me. I still believe hard work will not fail me. And I still believe in people willing to think the same way.

Through the years, the market place has expanded: between cities, between countries, between continents. I want to urge you all here to think bigger. Why serve 86 million when you can sell to four billion Asians? And that’s just to start you off. Because there is still the world beyond Asia. When you go back to your offices, think of ways to sell and market your products and services to the world. Create world-class brands.

You can if you really tried. I did. As a boy, I sold peanuts from my backyard. Today, I sell snacks to the world.

 

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