Thursday, October 16, 2008

The two aspects of branding

I wanted to share the remarks of two more speakers at the Asia Brand Congress 2008 held in Mumbai. These industry veterans touched upon the various aspects of branding and the mantras to maximize exposure of the brand.

Corporate branding

Harmanjit Singh, general manager, corporate affairs, Godfrey Philips India, emphasized just how important corporate branding is. He said that a brand is an experience and corporate branding is the sum total of all experiences the consumer has with the brand at various levels and at different times. “Even the way the operator deals with a wrong number on the board line contributes to the corporate identity,” Singh said.

He asked the audience what brought Starbucks, Tata, Wipro and Nike the stature they enjoy today. The answer was the experiences they gave to their consumers. “There is no great deal of difference between a Barista product and a Starbucks one. It’s not coffee that differentiates the two, but the experience and the brand value,” he explained.

Singh said he believed that a mere three seconds of logo presence on a TV commercial, or spending Rs 300 crore on a cricket match, do not make a brand. A brand needs to be treated not just as a product, but also as an institution. Corporate branding goes much beyond the product and touches upon aspects such as the vision of the company, customer focus, environmental concerns and technological commitment.

He said that just as Hewlett Packard stands for invent, Body Shop for no animal testing and Sony for innovation, every corporate must consist of an identity that includes core ideology and values. He gave the example of P&G, whose core value is “quality product and honest business”.

In his presentation, Singh highlighted a brand prism that, according to him, formed the framework of building a brand identity. Citing the example of Nike, he said that the brand identity comprises of a physique (swoosh), personality (independent, maverick), culture (never say die spirit), relationship (provoking leader), reflection (individualistic) and self-image (trail blazer).

Integrated branding

Sudha Natarajan, chief operating officer and vice-president, Lintas Media Group, shared an interesting case study on Bingo, for which they had prepared the launch strategy. Bingo marked ITC's foray into the crowded branded snacks segment, which is worth Rs 2,400 crore and dominated by Pepsi's brands, Lays and Kurkure. It was imperative that a buzz be created around the Bingo brand.

Bingo's unique propositions were its varied and weird flavors and the brand name itself. Natarajan said that since the target group, the youth, was passionate about sports and movies, the launch of the snack brand was planned during the ICC World Cup so as to reach out to the target group as a sponsor. “Clutter breaking communication created excitement around the brand and the campaign was highly noticed,” she said.

The snack brand also tied up with a few television channels, one of the prominent ones being HBO. ITC leveraged a comedy film festival on HBO, called it the 'Bingo! Comedy Combo' and created interstitials around that in the style of the ads.

To leverage the radio medium, Bingo tied up with Fever FM for a contest in order to get more visibility through the radio station's launch campaign. Bingo also sponsored the Aerosmith Concert and promoted it heavily on radio. A contest was run on radio, wherein a caller, in order to win passes for the concert, would have to sing an Aerosmith song in any Indian language.

Heavy point of purchase promotions ensured high recall and sales. The snack brand tied up with discotheques for theme parties. A website,, was created and promoted offline. A mobile game, Bingo Factory, was also created.

Natarajan said that as a result of the integrated campaign, Bingo was able to garner 16 per cent share of the market within the first year of its launch. The brand awareness grew to 66 per cent in the first year.

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