Dr Erich Joachimsthaler, an internationally renowned authority on strategy, marketing and branding, began his two-day workshop at the CII Brand Conclave in Kolkata on July 19. He urged the Indian industry to go the branding route rather than the price advantage led commodity approach taken by China.
For most part of the first day of the Conclave, Dr Joachimsthaler held forth on the diminishing relevance of traditional branding approaches in today’s context in the face of trends like channel proliferation, consumer fragmentation and media convergence. Hence, the need to turn to what he called ‘third wave’ branding techniques, which were more oriented towards creating long term competitive advantages and value propositions.
According to him, the ‘first wave’ branding was essentially an image led approach and saw communication and standardisation as its main tools. This subsequently gave way to a brand identity led approach, what he described as the ‘second wave’, which was a more holistic approach to branding.
The ‘third wave’, however, goes beyond that and its precepts include techniques like cultural branding that seek to leverage existing cultural myths, viral marketing aimed at making the consumer an active partner in its process and of course consumer behaviour based innovations around daily habits of consumers, what Dr Joachimsthaler termed as the 1440 approach that kept an eye on the consumer.
Without undermining the power of advertising and indeed in deference to its high cost, Dr Joachimsthaler underlined that advertising could no longer be the sole engine in brand building. According to him, modern successful brands like Starbucks, Google and Hewlett Packard drew their strength from their identities and architecture rather than from their marketing communication.
He, however, cited Mastercard’s memorable and highly emotive ‘For everything else there is Mastercard’ campaign as an outstanding example of his 1440 approach that made it steal a march over its mightier rivals Visa and AmEx.
Dr Joachimsthaler also stressed on the criticality of brand portfolios over individual brands and dwelt on different strategic approaches to this like Branded House, Endorser Brand and Sub-brands.