Building the equity for a brand and retaining it has been a difficult task for many companies. A session dedicated on this topic, chaired by Dilip Venkatraman, Director-Marketing, CNN-IBN, presented the audience with different methods adopted by several brands to establish their image.
Speaking about the growing proliferation of media in today’s world, Venkatraman set the stage for the other speakers by pointing out some of the challenges facing the process of building brand equity.
Cynthia Gordon, CMO, MTS-Russia, spoke about how her organisation has been adopting some novel initiatives for maintaining the image of the brand. She noted that brands are important for a company as it unites all the employees under a single influence. “All touch points of a brand need to deliver the promises given by the company for retaining the brand image,” she added.
Suresh Rangarajan, President, Times of Money, cited the example of how unwanted tele-callers have diluted the image of Citibank. In his presentation, Rangarajan talked about the importance of ‘name’ for a brand in the online space. Noting that it is vital to have a simple name along with a consistent imaging, he remarked, “Brand equity is how others perceive you.”
Vahid Mehrinfar, Executive Principal and Chief Brand Futurist, Vahid Associates Brand Futurists, talked about how brands should be built by keeping the future in mind, and not by looking at past performances. According to him, “Brand equity is based on future intent.” Continuing further, he elaborated how brands need to realise the opportunities in future and work towards building their brands in such a manner.
Building a culture for the brand is of utmost important. In a session chaired by Paritosh Joshi, President-Advertising Sales and Distribution, STAR India Ltd, well-known figures from the industry shared their views and gave several examples of successful brands that have developed strong brand ethos by adopting to various techniques such as experiential marketing, building trust and embracing the power of communication.
Karine Barakat, GM, Starcom Worldwide, presented a case study of Starcom that faced dire crisis with people, from top management quitting, losing its faith among the lower rung of employees, and hampering its reputation in the market. But by building strong ethos around the brand and using the power of communication, she said that the company was able to turn the table around at the right time. “It is the era of communication, and brand managers should communicate effectively not only with their customers, but also with their shareholders, employees, and more importantly, with the press,” explained Barakat. She further emphasised on giving bigger roles to middle level managers and the need to empower them, and make them feel that they are up for something great in the business.
Sanjay Lal, Managing Director, PDM International FZ, LLC, gave instances of companies like Camlin, Emirates, Pepsi and Wills Lifestyle that successfully created experiences for their customers. “Experiential marketing is a tool to convert prospect customers into customers, and customers in loyal customers for your brand,” explained Lal.
The two-day Asia Brand Congress 2007 summit culminated with eminent speakers like Sachin Khandelwal, Head Creative Cards, ICICI Bank; Promod Khera, CEO and Managing Director, Aptech Ltd; and Teodora Migdalovici, Founder, Migdale Amare, giving presentations on the future vision and their own perspective on how to build a strong brand.