Ray+Keshavan | The Brand Union – Arvind Hegde


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Arvind Hegde on unlocking growth levers.
—Expert Talk in The Economic Times

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Ray+Keshavan | The Brand Union – Arvind Hegde

  1. 1. >> pg 04 WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2012 Whatarethebigworldwidetrendsinthe brandingindustry? I'm tempted to start by saying "we are"! The devel- opment of world-class brands for and from Asia is the biggest trend we're seeing right now. Of course, I may be a bit biased, but it is a fact that India, China and Southeast Asia have healthy birthrates for new brands and also a healthy num- ber of older brands which are reinventing them- selves as worldwide players. Part of that trend is the realisation by consumers that the world is much flatter today. Products are made around the world. Even on the same store shelf or display rack you'll see T-shirts from Turkey, China, Indonesia and India. And I believe what has been accepted as a norm for products is quickly becoming a norm for brands. I remember seeing my first Japanese car in the UK many years ago -- a small, orange, Honda. People in the street were actually laughing, patron- isingly thinking "ah, isn't it sweet that a Japanese motorbike manufacturer can make a little car..." Fast forward a couple of decades and the laughter died away. The world is ready for a world-class beer brand from China or a world-class finance brand from Singapore and so on for India, Indonesia and Thailand. AsanEnglishmanwhohasspentthelastdecadein Asia,youareverywellplacedtocomparethe westernandAsiandesignworlds.Whatarethe bigdifferences? I've actually been in Asia for the last three decades, which gives me a longer term view. In fact, you could argue that design never went away in Asia, the quintessential feature of "Asian design" has been the way tradition for fine finish and excel- lence of a design concept has been respected. But that is cheating a little. Worldwide, the trend was for price and mass production to be given more significance than fine design, and it is only in the last five or ten years that the importance of design has been "rediscovered" in the West. Design now gets talked about as one of three great new tools -- along with Digital and Data -- the three Ds. Asia's role as a manufacturing centre for western products has allowed Asia's entrepreneurs to see that design has also become a key differentiator for brands. If a brand is the sum of a consumer's experiences with a product or service -- which is a bit clunky, but works as a basic definition -- then "design" of that experience is paramount. In Asia there's a very rich, extant, heritage of craftsmanship and artisanal skill. Of course, it is still something of a jump to go from handcrafted ceramic tea ware to the design of the "hand feel" for a mobile phone. But at least the significance of good design is part of the cultures of Asia. Someone might say "what about Apple?" -- and I'd have to go with "exception that proves the rule", or try to argue that Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive's California is part of today's Asia. Either works equally well. AsianeconomieslikeChinaandIndiahaveexperi- encedhugegrowthspurts.Howhasthisimpacted thebusinessofdesign? In a world crowded with brand choice, design is becoming a key differentiator -- as I've alluded above. If you consider many of the most success- ful local brands in China and India, they often have a history of being able to exploit distribution ad- vantages and early market dominance. Just getting your product into the hands of con- sumers across huge markets was a gargantuan task. That done, big brands owned their markets for a time. But now competition from abroad, from new delivery technologies, from new me- dia, from a growing sense that all brands are available to all consumers...these changes are bringing "design of the experience of the brand" to the fore. The growth spurts of the India and China economies have helped create the heat in the kitchen...and it will be the better designed brand experiences that cope with that best. Adagenciesoftenclaimthattheycandoevery- thingabrandingspecialistcanandmore?How trueisthis? Advertising agencies miss a trick if they undervalue the reach and significance of what a brand consul- tancy can do, especially at the early, pre-communi- cation stage. We are often in the boardroom with the directors discussing the big questions about what a brand can or should be, how it can step apart from its competitors, how it should speak and present itself, even what it should be called. It's like being present at the naming of a child. From there, if you get the process and creativity right, the long, rewarding life of a brand often needs the expertise of an advertising agency to bring it alive, make it resonate for consumers, make it memorable. That's a symbiotic relation- ship. HaveyoubeeninteractingwithIndianclients? Anyobservations? Yes, I've been spending more and more time in India and with clients and potential clients. My ob- servations are still quite fresh and perhaps naive. I try NOT to go around saying "in China...", or "in Indonesia...", or "while I was in Thailand...". India is Asia, but even within itself there are more differ- ence between clients and corporate cultures than their are markets in the region. But from the clients I've met so far in India it's clear that there is a great appetite for talking about the experience of the brand. I have found Indian clients instinctively warm to this idea, it seem to tally with their own experience of brands and of doing business in India. I think it's a universal truth -- and I look for- ward to finding out just how far we can take this approach in India. A logo for tomorrow’s billion dollar enterprise Arvind Hegde is Director Consulting at Ray+Keshavan /The Brand Union. Arvind has helped clients of all sizes identify growth levers via corporate branding exercises. W e have witnessed an interesting phe- nomenon over the years. Conversations with mid-size clients begin with the need for a logo, but quickly move to discussions about shareholder value cre- ation. This switch is prompted by a single question that con- tinues to occupy us. Of the 30,000 odd listed and unlist- ed Indian companies, why are there only 1,334 that have more than INR 1000 crore in total income and assets? Our experience leads us to be- lieve that primary causes are short term vision and the lack of the ability to define a clear execution agenda. We say to these firms – embark on a corporate branding project. You may think your destina- tion is a logo but the journey will actually unlock your po- tential to be a billion dollar firm. UNLOCK POTENTIAL TO CREATE VALUE Any responsible corporate branding project begins with intensive stakeholder re- search as well as in-depth in- dustry and competitive analy- sis. This includes leadership teams, employees across lev- els and functions, business partners, suppliers, cus- tomers, investors and any other relevant stakeholders. This exercise can be mined for rich insights that can help shape the future of a busi- ness. These insights could be market-related like innovative business models, new com- petencies, the need for M&A, etc. They could also be inter- nal like the need for employ- ee engagement, culture shifts or changes in HR practices. Because the brand is cen- ter-stage of the exercise, it al- lows for a critical emotional dimension that typical corpo- rate strategy initiatives do not capture. REINVIGORATE YOUR ORGANISATION One of my favourite quotes is from the CEO who said: “Our greatest assets walk out the door every single night and walk back in next morning.” Regardless of whether you are a product or a service company, it is finally all about people. Your people are the single biggest determinants of your company’s fortunes. A corporate branding initiative reinforces this in many ways. First, it sends a clear signal that the company is commit- ted to growth and not afraid to change. Second, it gives everyone a chance to be heard and to feel like their opinion counts. Finally, it is an opportunity to unleash pride and energy within the organi- sation. Most corporate brand- ing exercises pave the way for further employee engage- ment and motivation exercises. SORT OUT YOUR PORTFOLIO Brand architecture – or the system of linkages between the elements of your portfolio – is too often driven by inter- nal considerations. A brand- ing exercise exposes the weak and redundant links and helps you allocate re- sources in a way that max- imises return on your invest- ment. GET THE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE Branding, by its very defini- tion, is based on sharp differ- entiation vis a vis the compe- tition. With conventional competitive advantages di- minishing, corporate reputa- tion is emerging as a new strategic advantage that is hard to copy, not environ- mentally controlled and not dependent on external vari- ables. Corporate reputation is increasingly influencing the choices that all stakeholders make. Yourpeoplearethesinglebiggest determinantsofyourcompany’sfortunes ALAN COULDREY “In a world crowded with brand choice, design is becoming a key differentiator” Alan Couldrey is Chairman, Asia Pacific, The Brand Union. A WPP group veteran, Alan has extensive experience in branding, advertising and marketing across the globe. Excerpts from the interview... THE $ SIGN The origin of the "$" sign has been variously accounted for, however, the most wide- ly accepted explanation is that the symbol is the result of evolution, independently in different places, of the Mexican or Spanish "P's" for pesos, or piastres, or pieces of eight. The theory, derived from a study of old manu- scripts, is that the "S" gradu- ally came to be written over the "P," developing a close equivalent of the "$" mark. It was widely used before the adoption of the United States dollar in 1785. THE @ SYMBOL Ray Tomlinson first used the “at” symbol to format an e- mail address using ARPAnet in 1971 for a message he sent to himself from one computer to another to test the system, and amusingly, he's repeatedly been quoted as saying he doesn't remem- ber what message said—it was just some forgettable test message—because he didn't think it was a big deal at the time. NAZI SWASTIKA SYMBOL It was not a nazi symbol. Hitler adapted it as his own for its meaning of luck and prosperity. The symbol dates back over 3,000 years and has been seen on Buddhist temples, ancient India and Greece and native American cultures. It was used during WWI by the boy scouts and other companies world round. After Hitler adapted the symbol others de- nounced it as he had tainted it. THE RED CROSS SYMBOL There is more than a century of tradi- tion behind the Red Cross emblem as a symbol of hu- manitarian protec- tion. The idea developed from an international meet- ing in Switzerland in 1863 on improving care of the wounded on battlefields. One of the recommenda- tions called for volunteer medical personnel of all countries to wear an easily recognised sign: a white armlet with a red cross, sometimes referred to as the "Geneva cross." An international treaty known as the Geneva Conventions was signed on August 22, 1864, by the rep- resentatives of 12 countries. It established the fundamental principle that "wounded or sick combatants, to whatever nation they may belong, shall be collected and cared for." It adopted the Red Cross em- blem as the international symbol to identi- fy personnel, material, and fa- cilities used to care for the sick and wounded in times of armed conflict. By the terms of the treaty, persons and facilities bearing the sym- bol are protected from attack. Over the years the protection of the original Geneva Convention has been extend- ed beyond the battlefield to include the shipwrecked, the prisoners of war, and the civil- ian populations affected by armed conflict. OLYMPIC SYMBOL According to most accounts, the rings were adopted by Baron Pierre de Coubertin (founder of the modern Olympic Movement) in 1913 after he saw a similar design on an artifact from ancient Greece. MEDICAL EMERGENCY SYMBOL In medical circles, there are two very similar symbols that represent healing. One is known as the Caduceus. The other is the staff of Asclepius. The Caduceus symbol, which has two snakes on a pole that's topped with wings, is most closely associ- ated with the Greek god Hermes (known to Romans as Mercury). Asclepius, however, was a Greek physician, the son of Apollo. By the 5th century BC, he was widely regarded as the Greek god of healing and medicine because of the amazing healing pow- ers he possessed. In fact, he was so skilled at surgery and the use of medicinal plants that it was believed he could restore the dead to life. It's the staff of Asclepius that's most commonly used as the symbol of healing on medical emergency id bracelets. Asclepius' staff has only one snake, and no wings at the top. It is the em- blem of the American Medical Association. The daughters of Asclepius are well known to us today as Hygeia, goddess of health, and Panacea, goddess of healing. THE RUPEE SYMBOL The new sign is a combina- tion of the Devanagari letter Ra and the Latin capital letter "R" without its vertical bar. The parallel lines at the top (with white space between them) are said to make an allusion to the tricolour Indian flag.[2] and also de- pict an equality sign that symbolises the nation's de- sire to reduce economic disparity. How did these logos originate? IN CONVERSATION EXPERTTALK This issue has been conceptualised by The Resource 24x7 (theresource24x7@gmail.com) Marketing Coordinators: Vivek Menon, Hitesh Bhartia, Runa Benjamin, Ambika Ganguly Editorial: R Sridhar, Sheetal Srivastava Reddy Design: Resp-Art The copyright and trademarks of the logos referred herein belong to the following companies. We acknowledge their exclusive rights in the same. This is a special feature for the benefit of our readers to appreciate the spirit, vision and thought behind the creation of these great logos. *ET1M121212/ /04/K/1* *ET1M121212/ /04/K/1* ET1M121212/1R1/04/K/1 *ET1M121212/ /04/Y/1* *ET1M121212/ /04/Y/1* ET1M121212/1R1/04/Y/1 *ET1M121212/ /04/M/1* *ET1M121212/ /04/M/1* ET1M121212/1R1/04/M/1 *ET1M121212/ /04/C/1* *ET1M121212/ /04/C/1* ET1M121212/1R1/04/C/1