World Brand Congress: Of connection and innovation

By Sapna Nair , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Marketing | November 06, 2009
Experts discussed about what makes holistic brand building possible

Brand building, experts believe, does not end with crafting a mass communication; that is just the beginning. A brand is built on the perception it creates at various consumer touch points. This was what panelists such as Alok Bharadwaj, senior vice-president, Canon India; and Harmanjit Singh, general manager, Corporate Affairs, Godfrey Philips spoke about at the World Brand Congress.

Canon has been in India for a little over a decade. A Japanese brand, Canon lays special emphasis on crafting different marketing strategies for the Indian market. In fact, it has tried to talk to various sections of India by designing specific modes of communication. "For us, innovation and marketing are two important facets. Innovation to refresh our propositions constantly and marketing to connect with our customers," Bharadwaj said.

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Through marketing and sales tie-ups, Canon is able to ensure higher visibility. For instance, the company has sales tie-ups with Dell, Lenovo and Kores, which make available Canon products. Marketing tie-ups create a pleasant brand experience, he said, citing Canon's tie-up with McDonald's -- along with a Happy Meal, the family gets a free picture clicked and framed.

Another step towards creating a consumer interface is through Image Lounges, which enable consumers to touch, feel and experience Canon products.

Associating with a good cause also helps create a respectful image of the brand. Harmanjit Singh can vouch for this. Godfrey Philips India has been indulging in cause-related marketing since 1990. Quoting statistics from a study, Singh said, "89 per cent American citizens (age between 13-25 years) would switch from one brand to another of a comparable product, if the latter was associated with a good cause."

Besides enhancing the company's public image, CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiatives also help boost sales and employee morale, along with building a strong bond with customers. Singh cited the example of American Express, which raised $3 million to help renovate the Statue of Liberty. The company donated a dollar each from every new card sold; and within four months, it collected $2.5 million. There was also a 47 per cent rise in the new cards sold during that period.

Closer home, he gave the example of Tate Tea's Jaago Re campaign, which has been widely discussed and written about. Tata Tea brilliantly extended its catch line 'jaago re' to bring about awakening. "Appreciating a competitor in this regard clearly shows what a good job they've done," Singh joked.

Godfrey Philips Bravery Awards have been active for a quite a while, covering 16 states. In addition, the company is also tying up with NGOs for various causes. The latest one is with 'Amodini', which is for the empowerment of women. The purpose of the project is to enable rural women to be financially independent and live with dignity and pride.

"Through this initiative, we have partnered NGOs to provide basic education and vocational training to the women," he added.