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International firms should localise but creative consistency is imperative

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MUMBAI: With the world eye on India, more and more global companies are setting foot here in order to flourish in a nascent but booming market. In a scenario like this, it is imperative for companies to localize and manage their brands according to Indian sensibilities.

The session titled 'Managing an International Icon Brand' had speakers from Walt Disney and Cartoon Network throwing light on the strengths and weaknesses of international icon brands and personalities in local Asian markets.

The Walt Disney Company vice president retail sales and marketing and emerging markets Asia Pacific Ken Chaplin listed the four Bs of branding as badges, bonus, beacon and best bet. "The missing ingredient here is that of love. The reason why brands won't cut it anymore is because they are worn out from overuse, no-longer mysterious, they don't understand consumers anymore, they have been captured by formula and they are smothered by conservatism," he said.

Chaplin explained the meaning of a 'Lovemark' saying it is "when a brand experiences loyalty beyond reason from consumers, is owned by the consumers who love them, moves beyond irresistible to irreplaceable and moves from most respected brand to most loved."

He pointed out that a company will only make money when loyal, heavy users use their products all the time. "Having a long term love affair is better than having a short term relationship," he said.

Chaplin pointed out Disney's nine priorities for managing an international icon brand. They are as follows:

Get people to experience our best entertainment products
Do a good job branding
Make local content live up to the brand
Keep the brand fresh and broadly relevant
Make the brand's commercial exploitation positive for consumers
Keep the right company
Evangelize the brand, inside and outside the company
Take the floor with the press

Cartoon Network Enterprises Asia Pacific executive director Sashim Parmanand said, "Brands are not names, symbols or designs but rather they are personality of the product. All brands have specific values and it is these values that make up the different facets of a brand."

The key thing, she pointed out, was to know your product and target market. "Once that is clear, research and market testing is important. A brand should gain local insights through researching target demographics and then develop a positioning statement for the brand," she said.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that the brand positioning and creative process around the same is consistent. "One should localize but at the same time creative consistency is imperative," Parmanand added.

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