Consumers at the heart of branding

Lisa: ‘Brand equity is relevant in today’s world to see returns on investment.’

Lisa says being focused and innovative key to success

STEVE Jobs, the co-founder of Apple left the world with great insights on marketing and among the many lessons inspired by him, “focus on the experience” and “innovate or die” were perhaps some words of wisdom that led many firms and marketers to the leading-edge.

Young and Rubicam (Y&R) is one of the many advertising agencies around the world that strongly believes that being focused and innovative are key to ensuring that brands that stand out.

Lisa Hezila, the managing director of Y&R Malaysia shared some of her views and ideas on brand equity, and addressed some of the issues faced by marketers.

She used the Brand Asset Valuator (BAV) model, developed by Y&R Group last year to emphasise the relevance of brand equity and how brands influence financial performance.

BAV, a financial management tool, gives multi-dimensional and an accurate view on a brand as opposed to just one number.

It has since gained traction among consumers and companies around the world, with some being on the platform and using it as a benchmark to see their business performance.

In a market perceived to be challenging yet exciting for some, Lisa, who is also the spokesperson for the globally-accredited BAV highlighted that brands are powerful assets to drive business performance.

“Marketers face many challenges today, including high growth expectations, digital and social-media revolution and stiff competition.

“And with all these factors taken into consideration, brand equity is relevant in today’s world to see returns on investment,” says the passionate Lisa, who brings with her vast experience in the marketing industry.

Brand marketers need to be focused in the present climate and identify what needs to be done first, she affirms.

That said, when marketers are faced with budget cuts, taking the easy route by playing the price war is not recommended, lest they want to fall into the commodity trap.

“When brands commoditise, you can’t command loyalty and lose out on other relevant things over the years,” she adds.

On that note, Lisa thinks that it’s not about spending more or less, but how focused and effective marketing is, adding that strong brand strength and stature will command bigger market share and inevitably drive growth in the business.

But she warned against the idea of cutting marketing spend entirely, as this will inherently create more distance in the relationship with consumers.

While BAV is a financial tool, Lisa explains that it still needs the human elements in it, which means it requires teamwork.

“It’s all about being focused, finding the solutions to the issues at hand and addressing them to see results and these involves loads of teamwork,” she says, adding that diagnosing the problem requires certain amount of synergy as well.

A brand that is unique, authentic and relevant will somehow give momentum and fetch a premium price.

It is a consumer-driven market after all, according to Lisa and firms and marketers have to ensure that they are at the leading-edge in terms of innovation.

On that note, she concluded by stating that firms should place consumers at the heart of their business strategy.

Y&R Malaysia will be hosting the inaugural Malaysia’s Strongest Brands Awards 2016 at the Glasshouse at Seputeh on July 27.

The event will see 30 awards given to 10 brand categories in the banking, automative, insurance, telecommunications, food and beverage, beauty and retail industry.

These awards are based on the BAV Malaysia study conducted from October 2015 to March 2016 involving 900 brands with over 100 categories.

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