something for your mind
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
branding stimulus package
the seven P’s of branding
creativity and pitching
why should agencies
pitch for free?
yeah, we did this
work recently completed
by the grow team
sounds kinda 80’s, but
we promise you it’s not
2 thoughts. 03.09
03.09 thoughts. 3
BY KEVIN RANDALL — DIRECTOR OF BRAND STRATEGY & RESEARCH AT MOVÉO INTEGRATED BRANDING.
Follow the 7P’s
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
“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
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,” Interbrand.com, 2008).
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
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.
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,” HarvardBusiness.org, 2008).
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.
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 Money.com, Jim Collins, 2009).
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!
Ben Scicluna (Your Country Needs You)
6 thoughts. 03.09
we did this!
03.09 thoughts. 7
BY ANTHONY RYMAN — MANAGING DIRECTOR AT GROW, AND
MICHAEL TUCKER — CLIENT EXECUTIVE AT GROW
SEALINE PROMOTIONAL ITEMS
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
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.
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.
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.