[Terry Behan] On the one hand we're told don't panic, the world is not falling apart; it's just a recession. On the other hand, jobs are being cut, budgets are being slashed and revenues are falling. The global economic meltdown is hitting everyone hard. Well, almost everyone; there are several interesting market categories that are seemingly doing quite nicely during these interesting times.
[Terry Behan] In a year when Chinese astrology tells us we are all supposed to be making money, 2008 has not started off very well for the globally economy in general and the South African economy in particular. This has caused a shift in how brands view their markets and how their markets respond to brands.
[Terry Behan] Engaging employees without good design and visa versa is like trying to cut a piece of paper with half a scissors: it ends up being a messy job. Good design is the cornerstone of any great brand but design execution in the true sense is often limited to the tangible elements such as the CI or store layout.
[Terry Behan] The less experienced someone is in the field of branding, the more likely he or she is to hold a strong opinion on the subject at hand. No more so than when it comes to the topic of brand engagement: the art of building brand equity inside the organisation, where poorly conceived and executed campaigns are the equivalent of corporate kryptonite – able to reduce the once strong and powerful organisation to the reputational status of an Enron.
[Terry Behan] Much debate has ensued about why brand owners have taken so long to ensure that their brand equity is protected, and there is a reasonably holistic alignment between what their brand promises and what it delivers. Historically, the country has been in an economic super-cycle and there has been no real business need to invest in any real brand development. But moving forward, the business rationale is changing.
[Terry Behan] The bottom line is this - brand owners don't want to get their hands dirty. Managing the brand experience beyond the costly advertising remains largely undefined, ill managed and poorly controlled. And in my experience, there are very few companies that get it right.
[Terry Behan] This year's AdFocus revealed that South Africa's top 100 advertisers spent in excess of R6.5 billion on positioning and building their brands in 2005. Moreover, some individual companies spent upwards of R200 million to drive their brands into the hearts and minds of the South African public. In response, their ad agencies created compelling advertising.