Ref: IMD-7-1542

Case study

Reference: IMD-7-1542

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Royal Selangor: The evolution of a brand over four family generations

Joachim Schwass

By Emeritus Professor Joachim SchwassJoachim Schwass and Willem Smit

KUALA LUMPUR, MAY 2014. Tan Sri1 Yong Poh Kon, managing director of Royal Selangor (RS), the world’s largest pewter company, was in a meeting with his son Yoon Li and nephew Chen Tien Yue, both executive directors of the company, to decide how to build on the brand’s current success.

Since graduating from university, Poh Kon had led the third generation family members for 30 years. During that time, he had witnessed a complete transformation of the company’s branding strategy, from primarily focusing on mass communication to integrating multiple consumer touch points, including new and advanced ones like social and mobile media.

It had been almost 10 years since Tien Yue and Yoon Li had joined the fully owned family business. Together with their family and employees, they had successfully grown the brand through innovative product design, frequent collection launches and intensified internationalization. To establish RS as a truly global luxury brand, the two cousins and Poh Kon knew that further growth and a rethinking of RS’s branding strategy was critical for the almost 130-year-old company. All three were aware that it was not the first time RS had repositioned itself.

To define the next steps for RS, Yoon Li, Tien Yue and Poh Kon decided to first assess how the brand and the family business had evolved and how the family, through the generations, had adapted and upgraded the brand. And, during periods of change and transition, how did the generations learn from each other and develop the new practices and capabilities needed to build and reinforce the luxury status of RS’s brand?

Learning Objective

  • Role of the owning family in regards to branding and innovation
  • Trans-generational learning
  • Family business based brand identity
Keywords Branding, Family, Family Business, Family Constitution, Generational Transition, Governance, History, Identity, Strategy, Succession
Settings Global, Indian Ocean, Malaysia
Royal Selangor
Type Field Research
Copyright ©2015
Language English
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Reference: IMD-7-1542

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Reference: IMD-7-1542

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