Marketing: The brand is the business

"More than half of the total stock market value of corporations lies in intangible assets such as brands (...) The brand is the business," said Shelly Lazarus, chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide at the World Effie Festival 2008. She consluded, "if you can tap into something in which society is wildly interested in at the moment, you have a huge opportunity.”

“Today more than half of the total stock market value of corporations lies in intangible assets such as brands … The brand is the business.” Shelly Lazarus, chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide sumed up why brand building is important for companies at the World Effie Festival 2008 in Singapore.

Lazarus stated that Ogilvy & Mather has found that “if you can go from a big idea to a big ideal; if you can tap into a cultural truth; if you can tap into something in which society is wildly interested in at the moment, you have a huge opportunity.”

The chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide questioned the value generation of new media:


Shelly Lazarus, chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide - The brand is the business.

“A million people downloaded this from YouTube. What does that mean? What does that buy us? What is the role that plays in the total brand proposition? I’m sure it plays some role, but it’s not obvious to me yet that because you download a clever film means your relationship with the brand has changed.”

Lazarus has been listed among an elite group of women in Fortune Magazine's annual ranking of '50 Most Powerful Women in Business.

The consumer's choise
At the festival, Simon Clift, chief marketing officer of Unilever, claimed that the current marketing environment is more exciting now than ever. “If you’re not noticed, you’re dead: In the old days we used to choose which brands became famous. Now consumers choose because they can tune in and tune out on their own terms, and so you have to take risks in order to be noticed.”

The new media provide many new and exciting avenues through which to engage with the consumer, nevertheless this sphere is still limited as compared with traditional media. Simon Clift: “There are some instances when we’ve overestimated the importance of non-traditional media, and we’ve actually had to step back and go back to the battle on TV."

Humour - handle with care
Sir John Hegarty,chairman and worldwide creative director for BBH, in his speech argued that humour and wit play an important role in advertising as it draws people in, making them relax and listen. “Humour and irreverence are interesting and powerful bedfellows. They feed off each other, creating opportunities to enhance each others thought. When put together, they become somewhat profound.”

Not all agreed in this point of view: Prasoon Joshi, chairman, Asia-Pacific, McCann World Group, told INSEAD Knowledge that while humour has been proven to attract people, there is an overemphasis on it in advertising. “Humour is a very good social lubricant. In many categories, humour can only play the role of breaking the ice. Further down, you’ve got to have an intense relationship to be able to get into [the customer’s] life."

Joshi pointed out what little relevance the new media debate has to developing country markets: “(...)when the world is talking digital, you’re talking about a country where many people are discovering television for the first time; who are watching or buying TV’s for the first time … in fact they’re finding it fascinating enough to watch for many more years.”

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read more:
www.worldeffiefestival.com
www.insead.edu