Monday, 21 October 2013 00:00
Lanka Soy crowned as the ‘next biggest brand’
Prof. Liyanage highlights next big challenge for brand custodians
Fantastic brand story; the ‘extra’ that marks the great from good
By Cheranka Mendis
Ceylon Biscuits Ltd. dominated the 12th edition of SLIM Brand Excellence Awards with their soya based product brand, Lanka Soy winning the prestigious ‘Brand of the Year’ title amidst much cheer and celebrations.
Lanka Soy also bagged the Gold for ‘Product Brand of the Year’, ‘Local Brand of the Year’ and ‘Innovative Brand of the Year’; while CBL’s Samposha won the Silver for ‘Best New Entrant of the Year’, ‘CSR Brand of the Year’ and ‘Local Brand of the Year’, and bronze for ‘Innovative Brand of the Year’ and ‘Product Brand of the Year’.
The company’s Munchee brand of biscuits and its chocolate brand Ritzbury also contributed to their wins at the event.
Held at the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre, the much anticipated award ceremony under the theme ‘Will you be behind the next biggest brand?’ recognised and honoured the best practices in branding, raising the standards of local brands to the global scale through a stringent criteria of principles judged by an panel of 15 professionals headed by Akzo Nobel Paints General Manager Automotive Coatings Graham Marshall. This year, SLIM received a record number of 100 entries for the awards.
Sharing his thoughts at the award presentation, Advisor to the organising committee Prof. Uditha Liyanage who has been associated with this flagship event of SLIM from the inception noted that there are two laudable objectives of the brand excellence awards; first is the fundamental and vital role to reward good to great brands and the second to establish a robust branding structure process to develop strong brands.
While the success of the awards which has grown in status, size and stature in the past 12 years is witness to the evolution of the industry and its progress, going forward brand managers also known as brand custodians must note the important mega trends unfolding in the arena.
Prof. Liyanage noted that marketers must realise that contrary to traditional marketing research and the fundamental assumptions that customers know what they want, consumers in fact, do not know what they know.
“The answer to the questions of customer aspirations and desires is in their subconscious more often than not. You have to employ new research methods to uncover what the consumer doesn’t know consciously,” he said.
Another point to remember is the depth of average: “Increasingly we are looking at a segment of ‘one,’ i.e with data, particularly analytics to zero in on individual customer.” He asserted that the currently marketers are moving towards personalisation. “If you are not up to it then perhaps you would lose the plot.” New technology must be used to focus on individual customers who belong to a given segment.
Liyanage also explained that there were four sets of criteria; brand intent, brand content, brand process and brand performance used in evaluating applications. While the first three are the drivers and enablers and the fourth, the outcome or the results achieved, the challenge for the judges was to establish the connection between what you did and what you got. The outcome only received 50% of the total marks as sales/performance/profit can be affected by external factors as well.
“The whole process of brand excellence awards is underpinned by six P’s of marketing,” he further added. The six P’s are a re-conceptualisation of established knowledge he said noting that the first two, person and positioning directly relates to branding in particular.
“The first P is the person; how to identify a market, how do you segment it and how do you zero in on your consumer. Identifying your target market is the first P, the person. The second P is positioning.”
A profound concept, positioning is rooted in cognitive psychology and has been borrowed from psychology. “I would argue that many marketers do not understand the significance of this concept. This is not the same as brand composition or brand promise or top of mind. It is about identifying a mental category in the consumers mind and locating a brand there.”
Chief Guest Hemas Holdings Chairman Lalith De Mel commending SLIM for recognising brands commented on the essence of marketing.
“The essence of marketing is identifying the needs of consumers and producing goods and services that meet these needs. In an individual business, doing so would result in success. If you look at it across the board, this process of identifying consumer needs and producing goods and services that meets these needs, improves the quality and welfare of society. Looking back, you can see the improvement in all the new products that have come in.”
The role played by marketers in this endeavour must be acknowledged, De Mel assured.
“The vehicle for delivering goods and services is the brand. Brands are the most valuable assets in any business.”
Even though a value cannot be placed on brands on a balance sheet, it is brands that create the market value of a business. “This is the price per share multiplied by the number of shares – market cap. What determines the price per share is by current earnings and prospects of future earnings. The share price today is the net percent value of future earnings. The role of brands is key, so although you might not see brands in the balance sheet as an asset if you look at the earnings of a business that is earned and owned by brands. This is the important role of brands.”
Head of the Panel of judges Graham Marshall also shared key observations and comments of the panel after reviewing the 100 entries that came in.
Marshall noted that companies must look at the establishment of a stronger link between the brand process, strategy and brand health while investing in research. “Measure brand health; it is well worth the effort spent,” he said. Brands must also demonstrate and articulate a more insight based approach to the brand strategy. The results could be anticipated on a mid to long term period.
“We identified that how an organisational capability and process excellence manifest itself as a consumer facing USP or value proposition was not coming out,” Marshall said. “This is brand excellence. True enough some may have state-of-the-art factory but how does this manifest in your value proposition – this must come out.”
Judges also looked for movement in results. Presenting a snapshot is totally inadequate and what was looked at was whether a brand lost or gained market share or in terms of top of mind awareness.
“Ensuring data is consistent and true integrity of data is important – compare apples with apples. If internal data is used assumptions must be sound; if it doesn’t, data lacks veracity.”
While most entrants had great business case and superb business stories, the won that won had a fantastic brand story, he said. “This is the extra that the winners had.”
With the economic boom anticipated in the future, the role of a brand will only get bigger, SLIM President Gamika De Silva said: “SLIM has a clear mandate to uplift the professionalism in marketing. Within our objectives, adding value to stakeholders is noted as an important factor under which reward and recognition of the marketing fraternity is key.”
Along with SLIM Brand Excellence Awards, SLIM also hosts recognition programs such as the Effies and the National Sales Congress (NASCO) to further encourage quality in the industry.
Pic by Lasantha Kumara