Branding expert sees potential of local companies

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=213119

Business Interview
Communications at new frontiers
Create bigger, better brands
Branding expert sees potential of local companies

Manfred Abraham

Md Fazlur Rahman

Bangladesh Brand Forum in association with Cannes Lions launches today the Communication Summit 2011 at Westin Dhaka. Global and local advertising professionals will come up with insightful lectures on effective communications strategies, marketing dynamics and brand evolution at the summit. Star Business sits with Allein G Moore, a founder of Creative Circle Singapore, and Manfred Abraham, head of Brand Strategy of Interbrand Global, UK, in exclusive interviews. Both Moore and Abraham are now in Dhaka to attend the summit. We also bring out a write-up by Nirvik Singh, chairman and CEO of Grey Asia Pacific, on this occasion.

Bangladeshi companies should try to create brands that are globally recognised and also cater to the country’s rising middle class population with a growing buying habit, a top expert said yesterday.

“I see a huge potential for Bangladeshi companies to establish a number of brands,” said Manfred Abraham, head of Brand Strategy of Interbrand Global, UK, one of the world’ largest brand consultancy firm.

Manfred is a leading practitioner in brand strategy in the UK, having extensive international experience with some of the world’s leading businesses and across sectors. He is an excellent and engaging presenter, and he shares learning and insights from world’s leading brands to nurture innovative business thinking to maximise returns.

He is now in Dhaka to attend a daylong summit on the importance of communications in business today. Bangladesh Brand Forum (BBF), in collaboration with The City Bank, is organising the “Communication Summit 2011” at Westin Dhaka.

Manfred said this kind of a summit is important, as it gives scope to industry people to share their knowledge and forge bonds. It will also give an idea on how to create and manage a brand.

He said branding helps a company establish a strong presence in the market and reach more customers. “It actually manages the value of the company substantially. It ensures the long-term growth.”

The 40-year-old Austrian is aware of companies’ reluctance to pay much attention to branding. “Branding is such a straight-forward way of building a successful business. We have seen in the past that many companies cared very little about branding.”

“For example, when they realised the value of packaging their products well they paid attention because it allowed them to charge more money. That is just one area. All global companies around the world have strong focus on their branding,” he said.

“The Bangladeshi companies who have so far paid little attention to this area should try and look into the possibility of creating a brand. At first, Bangladeshi companies need to identify what they need to stand for,” he told The Daily Star in an interview.

He said branding helps a company grow both internally and externally.

He said branding allows companies to charge a premium. “If you do not have a brand, it will be tough for you to realise a premium. It also gives the company loyalty among customers, what the world’s top brands such as Coca-Cola, Apple or Intel enjoys today.”

Manfred said perhaps it has been a missed opportunity for Bangladesh to not have a strong brand. “If you look at India, you will find that they have established a number of brands in the last few years. They are investing heavily to brand their companies.”

“Bangladeshi companies have the potential to do the same. They should not wait any longer. You can see the differentiation between a brand and non-brand company.”

He said with the rise of technology, media and the mobile phone, Bangladeshi companies can reach customers more easily, even if the country does not have the traditional channel of branding products. Why doesn’t Bangladesh have any global brand? I do not see any reason.”

The Interbrand official also said communication and marketing play an important role in building a strong brand. “They are actually an integral part of branding. They help change perception.”

fazlur.rahman@thedailystar.net

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