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Featured: In episode 2 of adobo Talks x Usapang Design, Antidote Branding’s Kendrick Co talks about Philippine branding

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — A lot of businesses have started when the pandemic hit last year, but even before that, the Philippines still lack in terms of branding according to Brand Creator and Antidote Branding’s Kendrick Co.

In the second episode of adobo Talks x Usapang Design, Kendrick Co talks about Antidote, a brand venture studio that specializes in creating brands from scratch, and the importance of branding.

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Branding is something that Co was most passionate about way back in college, and he admits that the reason why he created Antidote was because of the nagging feeling that branding can play a role in nation-building.

Co shares 3 things they always say at Antidote Branding that made them switch in creating their own brands like Lagu, Early Bird Breakfast Club, A-Game, Bub & Weave, Bababum, Spudbuds, and Samson “Hates” Delilah.

World-class creators, not consumers.

Whether it is a product, film, or food, Filipinos are proven to be world-class consumers. For Co, what we need right now are world-class creators.

From products like brand new shoes released by a foreign brand to a fast-food restaurant franchise in the Philippines, Co says “we’re always so excited when a new brand is coming to the country.”

He cites IKEA as an example wherein the Philippines has been waiting for the Swedish brand to come here for almost a decade as they target mid-class to mass market, but he then questions the absence of Filipino furniture brand that would want to compete with IKEA.

Co says “I’d appreciate a Filipino brand competing with a global brand.”

Export brands, not people.

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are a big part of the economy. Co believes that there is a need for us to export more Filipino brands to the world rather than exporting our people.

“The fact that we are exporting our people [that means] we’re sending out our talents instead of using their talent, instead of our best people creating from the Philippines, creating for Filipino companies or Filipino brands, and exporting their works to the world, [instead] we are actually exporting our best people where they find a better opportunity working for foreign companies and brands.”

Populate the world with Filipino brands.

The Philippines is mostly known for its white-sand beaches, festivities, and hospitality trait, but there are only a few Filipino known brands in other countries like the fast-food giant Jollibee and Filipino Dubai-based designer Michael Cinco.

Co believes that the country needs more Filipino brands to be known globally. He says “It doesn’t always have to be one major world-beating brand. Create a brand from things that you love, things that you’re passionate about, and bring it to other countries. With social media and the Internet right now, it’s a lot easier to get discovered [and] to find people who’ll be interested in your brand.”

Lagu, the world’s first sand repellant beach blanket, A-Game, a revolutionary recovery sprays for athletes, and Samson “hates” Delilah, the world’s first foam pomade, are some of the Filipino brands they have created under Antidote Branding that made it to the global market.

Co encourages Filipinos to cater products outside the Filipino market. “We can uplift the quality of brands that we’re giving to the Filipino market, at the same time push ourselves creatively to create something that doesn’t exist in another country.”

Co then paraphrases “the Filipino is worth branding for.”

“What do you think is the best practice in creating a new brand that would sell especially for the people with low budget?”

Co says that budget is and should not be a big consideration in creating a brand. “People don’t realize…business is hard in general and if you [are] really not passionate about what you’re doing, it’s gonna be easy to give up on it.”

He reiterates to “always start with something that you care about, something that you like and you can start small.”

For their own brand Lagu, he shares that the total capital for the brand was P50,000.

Co concludes with a message to the Filipino creatives. “I’d like to encourage everyone to create something of their own because life is too short to not be creating your life’s work.”

Usapang Design is a series of insightful and inspiring sessions on visual communications organized by the Communication Design Association of the Philippines and adobo magazine.

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