Renowned Branding Guru Prof. Leslie de Chernatony says that the time has arrived for marketers to radically review the purpose of their brands and how well they could redeploy their budgets in order to create greater value. He mentioned this at the CIM Branding Summit - "Evolving Dynamic Brands", held recently at Cinnamon Grand Colombo. The event was made possible by Sri Lanka Telecom, the Strategic Partner of the event.
Characterised by well structured frameworks and replete with success stories of some international brands, the session discussed details of the characteristics of market driving brands, strategies to drive greater value, capitalising on brand belief and about challenger brands.
Getting down to the basics of Branding, Prof. Chernatony said "Brands are investments. The return of which is derived as value". He further said "Brands that drive the market are those that promise a unique experience, by challenging market norms either through radical ideas, innovatively redeploying assets or with a unique business system." Illustrated through numerous case studies such as the Filthy Food Company, Build a Bear workshop, Zopa.com, Crunch Gym, Jones soda etc, he characterised the visionary, exciting and unconventional characteristics of these brands which have offered leaps in customer value. Speaking of the customer perspective, he explained that 'value' is a trade-off between benefits and sacrifices from the point of view of the customer; and how organisational culture and competencies could contribute towards harnessing value. He emphasized on the role of a transformational leadership which articulates a vision that provides stimulation to the entire organisation.
'Strategic canvas' and the four action frame works to reconstruct brand values which he called "ERIC" were two useful analytical tools and frameworks introduced at the programme. Through these two frameworks participants were educated on how to rationalise the functional attributes of a product or service offering and optimise its value.
There he identified 4 types of attributes; ie features that should be eliminated as no longer create value; features which should be reduced as they are well below the industry standard; features which should be increased well above the industry standard; and new features which could be introduced as never offered before. Explaining the rationale that underpins these frameworks he said "Do not compete among your competitors but the purpose of your brand". He stated that companies lose their strategic focus by trying to compete among their competitors. In order to bring their brands to greater heights, marketers should continuously strive to invent ways of meeting the purpose of their brands, better. He stated it is advisable for a brand to highlight the emotional aspects of a brand if the market in general harp on the functional aspects and vice versa.
Prof. Chernatony said that with the increasing focus on corporate social responsibility, organisations should decide what they are good at and what is good for people; what values will still hold when the world moves on and what they should be doing in order to stay true to their values.
Nearly hundred participants availed themselves of this full day effort which was first of several key programmes scheduled for this year by The Chartered Institute of Marketing Sri Lanka Region. Through this effort, The Institute intends to reinforce the significance of branding as a strategy for corporate success and empower marketers to take the lead in facing the challenges posed by the global economic downturn.
The Chartered Institute of Marketing is the world's largest and most prestigious professional body for marketing with over 50,000 members in over 80 countries around the world. CIM Sri Lanka Region is the largest CIM Region outside the UK and is the fastest growing CIM body with nearly 1200 members and 3000 student members. For the fourth consecutive year, CIM Sri Lanka Region won the Best Overseas Region Award in 2008 at the CIM International Chairmen's Conference in recognition of the excellent value created towards its membership.