Talk on branding and brand essence by Mr. Lakshmi Narayanan, former CEO, Mudra Communications.
The afternoon began with Mr.Lakshmi opening with a statement that the students of BIM were a step above their counterparts at most of the other B-schools and that he had always found them to be outstanding. The session continued with Mr.Lakshmi surprising the students with a quick quiz on different logos used by brands. He was met by quick and accurate answers and thus rested his case by proving what an impact the brands had made in the students’ minds. With the theme of Crescita 2014 Swarupa meaning essence, brand essence was one of the multiple topics discussed, where Mr.Lakshmi defined brand essence as a brand’s promise in simple single minded terms, of how Dettol just brings “germ-killer” to mind, with powerful brand essence being rooted in a fundamental customer need or want.
One point that was kept being reiterated was that a brand was owned not by the brand manager but by the customers. Companies have now become brand custodians while it is the customers who dictate what a brand can do. Then came a series of printads of United Colors of Benneton and some other ads of brands that clearly identified and communicated what they stood for.
Superstar Rajnikanth became the perfect example of brand power with the illustration of how customers of brand Rajnikanth are okay with the unrealism of the movies while for some other celebrity, the same might not be accepted by the public. The audience was treated to a video of the Superstar himself addressing his fans and joking about the pairing of Aishwarya Rai with him in the movie Robot.
Trends in strategic branding were discussed with Mr.Lakshmi calling out trends he had identified over the length of his career. Customers can now be identified as swarms as opposed to herds with the difference being swarms have a mind of their own. Customers of today are empowered with technology and have the information they need at their fingertips. He identified word of mouth as the key to credibility and how many marketers were changing their strategy to tap on this trend.
The most important factor he said, was the Moment of Truth – the moment a customer experiences a brand. The point when a customer comes in direct touch with any aspect of a brand, the experience he has then is what is called the moment of truth where the impression about the brand is formed in his mind.
The session was studded with a number of videos on brands like IKEA, Lifebuoy’s Kumbh Mela Campaign, Honda’s “The cog” video among others that communicated the marketers’ different approaches to communicating the essence of their brand. Mr.Lakshmi had the crowd enthralled and excited with his experiences and it was a great experience on the whole.