Jio wanted to change everything in no time: Borja Borrero, Interbrand

Interbrand Executive Creative Director for EMEA & LatAm on why Jio's brief to the agency challenged him, working with a legacy brand like Britannia, and everything related to branding

e4m by Misbaah Mansuri
Updated: Sep 28, 2018 9:00 AM

It was not so long ago when brands were seemingly powerful. Any inconvenient truths were hidden by glossy packaging and one-way, big-bang marketing campaigns. But over time, consumers have become more aware, creating a challenge for many brand owners. Most companies are recognising the way perceptions are changing and are adapting their branding strategies accordingly.

Borja Borrero, Executive Creative Director, EMEA & LatAm, Interbrand, who has lent his expertise to the likes of Jio and Britannia believes that how a brand looks is not as important as what it delivers. In a chat with exchange4media, Borrero talks about working with a legacy brand like Britannia, why the brief from Jio challenged him and everything branding.

Watch the video or read the edited excerpts:

Borrero started working with Interbrand, one of the world's leading brand consultancies, 15 years ago. He has been in charge of several international projects, including the historic transformation of Iberia Airlines and the repositioning of the brand as well as the introduction of DIA, La Plaza and Clarel. “I was actually attracted to Interbrand because they were the ones who actually coined the term ‘branding’. And over time, they have been creating and managing the biggest brands in the world,” he confesses.

Speaking about how the agency has grown its roots worldwide, Borrero reveals that when Interbrand started off in 1974, it was just a naming agency. “Interbrand grew its portfolio of services to become the big consultancy that it is today,” he says.

“We are seeing big disruption in the branding field. Branding started off as an exercise of identification and little by little it became more sophisticated. We realised that brands are tangible assets that have value. And this value can be calculated following some formulas. So it’s not so important how the brand looks but it’s about what it delivers. As we evolve across these various stages, we can also see the branding discipline evolving,” he continues.

Borrero is of the opinion that being an agile brand today is the need of the hour. “The world is getting more and more rapid, complex and agile. Brands have to adapt and change. Or even go faster so that they can anticipate what their consumer wants. The strongest brand is not the one that necessarily changes all the time but the one that knows how to adapt to the changing environment,” he advises.

Borrero was involved in sourcing the international creative team in creating the brand identity for telecom giant Jio. “The first thing with Jio was that we wanted to create an international creative team to work with the brand because we wanted to create one iconic brand for India that can be a disruptor and be relevant even beyond the boundaries of India. The brand wanted to change everything in no time. So we had to be agile, flexible and very fast,” he reveals.

Coming back to working with iconic Indian brands, Britannia is another one Borrero has worked closely with. “It was an interesting project. The client knew what they wanted but the process was long because it took us almost one year. When you’re dealing with brands that have such a legacy, it takes time to realise where to go, how to go about it without betraying the history and foundations of the brand. We had to be mindful of the cultural components. But then again, you need to incorporate for the brand, the renewed visions for the time to come. On top of that, we knew that Britannia was creating a bigger portfolio of products by adding dairy products too. So communicating it was challenging. And now, we are in the process of materialising this change through the branding exercise,” he says.

Talking about how a branding exercise is essentially different from an advertising campaign, he opines that with technology, consumers know what they want and advertising is seen as something that comes in the way of their lives. “It is really tricky to connect with consumers nowadays and is just getting trickier. To me, branding is very tactical. It works in the long term while advertising works in a shorter timeframe. Branding is very strategic and sits very close to what the company wants to do,” he says.

It is often said that a lot of good marketing money is spent on advertising and not brand building. Does the branding maestro agree that it is true with companies today? Borrero gives a nod. “Branding is very deep and deploying branding takes copy-writers, designers, motion-graphics, etc. It requires many disciplines integrated and orchestrated to deliver a proper experience. And, at times, we feel that branding is not well-valued among a couple of brands,” he contends.

Around the India-scheme of things, when we quiz him if branding is getting the desired importance from brands and marketers, he says it’s just getting better. “India is very complex because you have a huge population. There is a huge challenge around how to address every level of the population. When we see clients like Infosys, Jio, Britannia, we’re seeing that big branding exercises and budgets are being utilised. Some companies see that their competitors are investing in this, which motivates them too. This will accelerate the process. We’re seeing a lot of progress. Interbrand in India has grown dramatically over the last five years. We’ve tripled our team here and are working with the biggest names. I see a promising future,” explains Borrero.

He believes that the challenge into the future is to offer seamless experience to the consumer. “We’re moving into experience-oriented branding consultancy where we still integrate strategy and creative in 50 per cent weight. So into the future, we will be evolving. We are integrating and incorporating ways and methodologies that will help the consumer at the center stage,” he shares.

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