Ability to rebound a vintage brand to be super desirable worldwide is a unique thing: Gonzalo Brujo, Interbrand

The CEO, EMEA and LatAm, Interbrand spoke about the current challenges for Indian brands to compete at the global level and shared tips on brand safety, transparency and brands reacting on social media

by Madhuwanti Saha
Published - Nov 2, 2017 8:45 AM Updated: Nov 2, 2017 8:45 AM
For Gonzalo Brujo, CEO, EMEA and LatAm, Interbrand, India and China are two countries that are changing the world. He says this while speaking at the unveiling of Interbrand Best Indian Brands 2017. For the fifth consecutive year, Tata Group continued to hold the top position in this category. In a quick chat, Brujo talks about the current challenges for Indian brands to compete at the global level and shares tips on brand safety, transparency and brands reacting on social media.

Excerpts:

During valuation which brands caught you by surprise this year?

Reliance is moving ahead with their brand activities, from the way that they are thinking. The opportunity to rebound a vintage brand to be super desirable worldwide is a unique thing which very few brands can do. Royal Enfield did that.

I am very passionate about what Tata Steel is doing as a brand worldwide. It’s going to be a flagship brand that represents India to the world. Whatever they are doing right now is interesting. I am also impressed with Tanishq. In financial services, HDFC is also working quite well.

In global context what are the current challenges for Indian brands?

They are already competing with the world. Family businesses need to understand that there has to be a professional legacy. The benchmark is Google and Amazon. Secondly, they have a huge economic opportunity right now because the number of people living in this country is huge. The biggest challenge for Indian companies is the international recession and going global. Thirdly, they need to begin to acquire their complimentary brands around the world. They are buying units not brands. But once Indian economy has more cash, they will begin to buy. Countries with more liquidity will buy more. Like Lenovo bought IBM computers and Motorola.

Tell us about the importance of brand safety in the context of fake news and ad fraud.

Transparency is the most important thing. Companies need to be as ethical as possible and should have the biggest advisors assigned to them. If you are not transparent then you will have leaks. Since all the information is public, you could be having a bigger crisis. This is why companies need to have crisis management. They need to make sure that they can be as transparent and as real as possible. In today’s world, if you hide something, sooner or later it’s going to be spotted.

How difficult is it to regain brand trust once it’s lost in the context of the explosion of Samsung Galaxy Note 7?

It’s difficult. But the end of the day you need to show the public very quickly that things do work. That’s why Samsung recovered so well and has a nine per cent increase. They got their act together. They did research worldwide. They changed everything quickly and communicated with a new strategy and campaign worldwide. They are back to business now.

How can brand position itself to engage with its consumers more directly?

You need to listen to consumers as much as possible. Right now, the problem we have is too much data. Now you need to be careful about what data is real. End of the day, newspapers matter. You need to have good reporters and professional PR people. Sometimes you have way too many blocks that influence things. But you need to tell them what’s real and what’s not. Their only issue is critical mass is really moving the way. So, again you need to make sure you overcome your crisis and over-communicate.

The secret to success with customers is to try to over-communicate as much as possible. You need to make sure you are connected with the real world. You not only communicate but you manage customer journey and customer experience well enough for your clients to understand your brand.

Sometimes you need to tell them ‘Hey Guys! we are new. We created this new line of products. We’ve acquired all these businesses.’ You have to make sure you are in constant communication.

Social media has made brands accessible, but it is also exposing brands to consumer feedback that is not always positive. How can brands react smartly on social media?

Social media is so important that you need to make sure you have someone senior within the organisation to understand how it’s changing the world. It needs to be at the forefront because it’s critical. For more updates, be socially connected with us on
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