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Whose brand is it anyway?

Guest Tinderblogger
Global Consumer Planning Director

Whose brand is it anyway?

My big thing is learning to understand the consumer. If I can decode what they see, hear and believe and gather the information into something we can tangibly do something about, then I am happy.

In the end, a brand is owned not by the company that engineered it but by the consumer who relates to it. An organisation can have the world’s best marketing strategy, unlimited resources to fund it’s advertising campaign and even be a global giant in it’s field but if the consumer cannot emotionally engage with the product, they will soon walk away and go somewhere else. My aim is to continually reassure the consumer that we take them seriously, we listen to their ideas and, within our parameters we match the brand accordingly. It’s all about remaining flexible and innovative in a highly competitive market.

Really successful companies don’t hold their brand too tightly. If given the freedom, their consumers can give the brand new direction and keep it fresh. Recently, Nike has had success with user-generated advertising, keeping in touch with a youthful audience with this innovative approach. In Japan WOWtv promoted a Tokyo Radiohead concert online by showing a video of the band performing a song. Viewers were able to select which of twelve colour coded cameras from which to view the song, thus creating a rainbow pattern, based on their camera choice. Fans then posted their rainbows online, so creating a kaleidoscope of rainbow colours. It was really beautiful. The iconic, old-fashioned brand, Jack Daniels has now become synonymous with the modern rock star image, successfully crossing over into American popular culture.

Within the company I work for, there is huge scope for people to bring their own creativity and individualism to the brand on which they work. In the past, I have mentored and coached my teams to embrace change, reject stagnation and be familiar with the uncomfortable. It’s my belief that success comes when a team player understands the value of being an individual in a larger organisation. Really great teams leave room for individual flair without compromising unity of purpose. I am a rugby fanatic; in fact, as a South African, I believe it is actually fused into my DNA! In the 1995 RWC final the Springboks made a sudden and last minute change of plan by going for a drop goal in extra time. It was a huge risk but it paid off and it won us the World Cup. That kind of courage, flexibility, stamina and self-belief inspires and motivates me most of all, and it is how I have chosen to conduct my business from the beginning.

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