grow Thoughts Issue 3


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grow Thoughts Issue 3

  1. 1. 03.09 MAGAZINE ISSUE thoughts. something for your mind INSIDE THIS ISSUE branding stimulus package the seven P’s of branding PLUS creativity and pitching why should agencies pitch for free? yeah, we did this work recently completed by the grow team wordology sounds kinda 80’s, but we promise you it’s not
  2. 2. 2 thoughts. 03.09 03.09 thoughts. 3 credits BY KEVIN RANDALL — DIRECTOR OF BRAND STRATEGY & RESEARCH AT MOVÉO INTEGRATED BRANDING. Issue Writers Editors Anthony Ryman Michael Tucker Kevin Randal Raj Fernandes Lui Rogliano Creative Director Garry Behling Typesetting Graphic Elements Photography Cover Artwork Lui Rogliano Lui Rogliano Jason Anonuevo Lui Rogliano enjoybanking1 Follow the 7P’s yeah, we did this! Every day we are bombarded with numbing news about the economy: bank busts, bailouts and buyouts, rising unemployment figures, homes being re-possessed, declining consumer confidence, and national budgets in crises. QTEL INTERNATIONAL HR FOLDER the branding stimulus In the marketing world, we endure a similar drumbeat regarding the fallout: dismal corporate earnings, company layoffs, cuts in advertising and marketing budgets, and redundancies. There is a sense of turbulence, malaise and gloom. Our industry is witnessing a diminishing commitment to long-term brand building. The mission of the moment is driven by the CFO, not the CMO, and calls for cost-cutting and short-term revenue-generating activities represent the only immediate focus.Tender committees are overriding the marketing departments. Campaign pitches are being judged not by the quality and depth of creative work and strategic thinking but by the grand total on the budget page. Lead generation is “in.” Demand stimulus and call to action are the rage— perhaps partly because the term stimulus now enjoys so much currency. Brand strategy and market research are “out” of fashion. Will the decline of brands and branding follow? No. A weighty and consistent body of historical data shows that marketers will do harm in the short- and long-run to their businesses and brands by knee-jerk budget slashing and running scared. Challenge grow was briefed exclusively to create a top-quality HR Pack for Qtel International aimed at potential candidates wanting to embark on a dynamic career in companies within the QTel Group. The objective was to produce an exclusive HR pack that would attract best-of–breed candidates to come on board QTel International. Strategy Being a communication company, these QTel collateral’s aimed to create a dialogue between the company and the user. Keywords such as “inform”, “engage” and “communicate” are foiled on the items to spark interest. The colours used on the outside are stark and moody, but once opened, revealed a bright pink interior which is a metaphor for open communication. Results Realising QTel’s vision to be one of 20 telecom companies by the year 2020, grow responded by creating a pack incorporating QTel’s striking corporate colours. The result was a smart, sophisticated and effective piece of corporate collateral. Hundreds of studies of marketing over ten recessions in the 20th century have concluded that not only did sales and profits decline for brands that cut brand-oriented advertising during the recession, but also that performance continued to lag upon the recovery. Here’s Proof: McGraw-Hill analyzed 600 companies from 1980 to 1985. The results showed that B2B firms that maintained or increased their advertising during the 1981-1982 recession averaged significantly higher sales growth—both during the recession and for three years following—than those that eliminated or decreased advertising.
  3. 3. 4 thoughts. 03.09 03.09 thoughts. 5 A study of 1,000 firms during recessions between 1982 and 1999 identified key differences regarding the strategies of the best and worst performers, with the measure of performance being changes in the company’s market-to-book ratios. Notably, the best performers had increased their marketing and advertising spending not just relative to their competitors, but also compared to their own spending in better times. (“Learning to love recessions,” Richard F. Dobbs, Tomas Karakolev and Francis Malige, McKinsey & Co., 2002). Today’s brand leaders would be wise to consider and follow these 7Ps of Branding as a guide for the recession and beyond: 1. Profit “We have a philosophy and a strategy. When times are tough, you build share.” ¬ AG Lafley, CEO, Procter & Gamble Marketers now have a golden opportunity to profit and establish real competitive advantage by exploiting the current situation. They can increase brand value and market share now relatively more easily and cheaply than during good times. With competitive noise levels reduced it is easier for a brand to stand out in the marketplace. Interbrand CEO Jez Frampton argues for “protecting and growing a brand… a company’s most valuable asset — and a far less volatile asset than others during a time of economic uncertainty,” (“Interbrand Announces the 2008 Best Global Brands,”, 2008). 2. Persistence Corporate brand directors need to stay the course by going against the grain and not following the marketing herd. Even if budgets are trimmed in some areas, there should be a core of strategic and tactical activities that endure (the former initiatives tend to be less budget consuming even in good times). Such brand perseverance will provide reassurance during uncertainty to both the existing customer base, an especially critical target now, and to internal stakeholders. 3. Planning Despite the strong economic headwinds, brand builders should remain committed to pursuing long-term visions and executing plans while selectively and pragmatically improvising marketing tactics. IBM (the second most valuable brand in the world according to Interbrand/BusinessWeek, and a B2B brand) during the recessionary early 1990s and Southwest Airlines after 9/11 are examples of brands that never wavered from their long-range strategic compasses and profited enormously by doing so. These brands did not and do not meander based on quarterly results. The strongest, top-performing brands are built to weather the various storms that come along. 4. Performance Brands (and their communications) will be judged and rewarded now by delivering on “value” over merely price. Some marketers have and will cut prices. Brand leaders do need to (re)define the value of their offering while not compromising the quality and experience customers expect or need (despite across-the-board corporate cutbacks). Harvard Business School professor John Quelch also recommends investing in opportunistic, focused market research since there is a real need to define “performance” and “value” and gauge what is relevant to customers in the shifting environment (“Marketing Your Way Through a Recession,”, 2008). 5. Positioning Brand owners must uphold and defend their core positioning and resist the temptation to sacrifice quality, reduce innovation efforts or cut prices. A study of more than 1,000 companies showed that firms that cut manufacturing and administrative functions in a recession did tend to reap the benefits while those that decreased spending on new product development, quality and marketing suffered. Leading brands will stay there by offering and communicating their enduring relevance and point of difference. Recessions and discounts come and go, but trusted brands and their appeals tend to transcend and outlast these events. 6. People There needs to be an appreciation of the link between top talent and top-performing brands. Hiring, motivating and keeping the best people (who exemplify the brand) while competitors are pruning overhead is a key source of proprietary advantage. Management guru Jim Collins chronicles the cases of Boeing, Hewlett-Packard and Procter & Gamble, who bucked the trend during tough times by investing in talent (when their rivals were shedding critical human capital) only to thrive and outperform the competition (“Crisis into opportunity,” CNN, Jim Collins, 2009). 7. Principles Brand leaders should work with CEOs to make sure their brands and organizations are integrated and that employees internalize and externalize a set of values that don’t change. According to Kanter, IBM’s and Procter & Gamble’s strong financial results today are partly owed to their focus on corporate brand values, ethics and social mission. Valued customers and employees will be more loyal if they are reassured on principles—by the brand and by its chief executive and sponsor. This is especially critical in the B2B world, with its large transactions and numbers of stakeholders involved in the customer experience. Long live strong brands whose adherence to the 7Ps of Branding will ensure the best return on investment! Editing Anthony Ryman Raj Fernandas Images Lui Rogliano member: Ben Scicluna (Your Country Needs You)
  4. 4. 6 thoughts. 03.09 yeah, we did this! 03.09 thoughts. 7 BY ANTHONY RYMAN — MANAGING DIRECTOR AT GROW, AND MICHAEL TUCKER — CLIENT EXECUTIVE AT GROW SEALINE PROMOTIONAL ITEMS creativity and free pitching Why should agencies pitch for free? It’s a painful issue for agencies in Qatar. There’s a hugely unbalanced relationship between companies (clients) and agencies (suppliers). A partnership of equals could create a campaign of excellence, worthy of awards. A client/supplier dynamic will not. you got that wordology? Ideas are power The way we research and roll out a carefully planned brand strategy is a skill, honed not only from years of practice, but also a deep learning and understanding of behavioural psychology. Articulating this strategy through creative visual expression to resonate with the customer is an art. When asked to submit creative work to ‘bid’ against other companies, we’re selling our ideas. ECHO EFFECT It’s a changing world and we at grow take that very, very seriously. So what better way to get into the swing of it than with a lesson in vocab... vocabulary, that is. We’re often on the fringes of futurology (we love our ‘ologys’) as we search for macro-trends that can shape or influence our clients’ business in the here and now. On our travels we meet a huge number of new words with new meanings. So we thought we would introduce a new word in every newsletter in the hope you’ll sporadically use it as ‘Tai’ did in the movie Clueless. Echo Effect When a slogan or jingle gets into everyday talk. Example: ¬ Just do it. ¬ Not happy Jan. ¬ I’m lovin’ it. Source: Urban dictionary Image: Flickr member Sayzey Let’s not forget: it’s the thinking that makes the creative, well, creative. Ideas are the foundation of our business; it’s our intellectual capital. Free pitching undermines our credibility, our status and the ownership of our ideas. Sure, we may have legal ownership over our designs and strategy through international copyright laws, but is a small company, for example, really going to pursue a lawsuit if their idea is stolen? How much money and time will that cost? Time is money Free pitching requires valuable time spent to develop a meaningful positioning and direction and then expressing it through visual concepts. This costs money, which could be allocated to client projects. Free pitching is an inefficient practice for clients and agencies and rarely delivers outstanding creativity or thinking. Free pitching opens up a massive tank of subjectivity! How can agencies explain the thinking behind the creative expression and brand strategy? The agency requires the stimulus of client exchanges to get under the skin of a company and find out what makes them tick, what makes them special and why should people believe in them, their offer or their product/service. Thomas Edison said “genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”. This is how a creative agency works. Palpable enthusiasm and optimism, married to extraordinary talent and incisive thinking. The best creative work comes from this interplay of relationship between client and agency. This is the creative process and how great campaigns are built. Qatar is increasingly competitive. The global credit crunch has knocked the market and businesses are vying for work. Does this force an agency to pitch? Yes it does. Tougher regulation surrounding intellectual copyright and a formalised process for pitching, together with a coordinated approach by all agencies to set up a charter should begin the process of formalising creative agencies’ code of conduct. If clients want quality work from quality agencies, why not introduce a standard pitch fee? After all, would you get free work from an accountant, a lawyer, a doctor, a dentist or an architect? Creativity should not be tendered; it must be earned, through a partnership of equals where the goal is to create meaning, relevance and added value. We build understanding through clear thinking and beautiful design to reinforce your company’s positioning, its distinctiveness and its brand value. It’s time for organisations to recognise the value of creativity in design – not just economic value but also the value to a nation’s lifeblood, its confidence and its ability to reach beyond its grasp. That’s how great brands are built.
  5. 5. 8 thoughts. 03.09 grow 3rd Floor Thani Bin Abdullah Complex Ibn Seena Street, Doha, Qatar T +974 444 6222 F +974 431 4982 E W © grow 2008. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior written permission of grow. The contents, layout and design are copyrighted and are protected by worldwide copyright laws and treaty provisions including Qatar Law No.9 of 2002 on the protection of copyrights and related rights.