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Water Interbrand to become Interbrand India from 1 January

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MUMBAI: Months after Omnicom‘s buyout of DDB Mudra Group, brand consultancy Water Interbrand will be renamed Interbrand India from 1 January 2013.

Interbrand India will come out with Most Valuable Indian Brands list in the first quarter of next year. This will be in line with what Interbrand does for naming the best global brands list.

Interbrand London CEO Graham Hales was in India to make this significant announcement. After ringing the bell at the Bombay Stock Exchange, he said that Interbrand India would use the same methodology and analytics that the Best Global Brands report uses.

Talking about the Best Global Brands 2012 report, Hales noted that Samsung broke into the top 10 and had used the Olympics effectively as a marketing tool. Toyota was back in the top 10, while Amazon’s value rose by 46 per cent. Coca-Cola has been at the top of the Global Brand list for a long time.

Hales singled out Apple’s products which have huge anticipation and loyalty. "The iphone 5 launch saw people camping outside stores for three days so that they could be the first users. On the flip side, companies like Nokia and Blackberry are struggling and need to get innovation out there. Yahoo! does not have the presence that it did earlier. Facebook is a new entrant but the coming year will be more interesting to see what it comes out with and where its share price is at," he added.

Hales noted that it is important that a company’s employees feel engaged and believe in the brand. Otherwise the repercussions could be negative which is what happened with Goldman Sachs when a former employee vented out his frustration and wrote a letter.

Godrej has used Interbrand when it decided to make the brand central to its business strategy. Godrej head Strategic Marketing Group (SMG) Shireesh Josh said that the aim was to articulate what the brand stood for. The focus rested on four pillars which were progression in terms of making better products, empathy in terms of understanding consumers, expression in terms of letting consumers express themselves and experience in terms of not just being a physical product. One of the things done was creating a design architecture which involved a younger looking logo. Godrej’s employees were also engaged in terms of which were the leader product categories within the group and which categories had a smaller role to play.

An important part of what Godrej does in engaging consumers through activities like ‘Live Out Your Dreams’ which is for students. “The result is that share performance has been ahead of share investment. Buyers of one category of our products are increasingly buying other categories. The journey of brand Godrej though is not over. It has started.”

Water Interbrand is headed by chief strategist and head Asish Mishra. "The team in India has been working extensively with the Interbrand professionals to learn its processes and about brand creation and brand management. The toolkits used by Interbrand are strategic. Apart from this, we will be doing seminars for the corporate to educate them about brand building," said Mishra.

After Omnicom‘s buyout of the Indian advertising agency through its network agency DDB, the entity was renamed The DDB Mudra Group and an extensive restructuring took place. As part of this exercise, the strategic branding and design consultancy Water became the representative of Omnicom‘s brand consultancy Interbrand in India.

In its first three months of operations, Water Interbrand expanded its client base and the scope of its operations. It added new projects like PepsiCo GNG brands Quaker and Tropicana, Asian Paints PPG‘s corporate branding and environment design, XLRI rebranding, MoneyGram brand expression, and EMMBI‘s brand strategy, identity and engagement assignment.

Mishra said that the aim is to have three clientele tiers. They are MNCs that Interbrand already works with on a global basis like Samsung. The second is Indian companies. The third are entrepreneurs. “The challenge is that most Indian companies only think of brands as a name and a logo. We have to change that mindset and dispel that notion. Our aim will be to create an organisational role for brands. Our aim is to see that a company’s brand strategy overlaps with their business strategy. This means that the brand impacts various departments like HR, R&D. There should be engagement of brands with organisations. This is how brands create value for organisations.”

“Our aim is to create brand centric organisations that create immediate business value. For this to happen companies will have to change investments and internal budget allocations.”

He conceded that during a slowdown companies focus on the short term and forget about brand building for the long term. "The focus tends to be on cutting costs and better pricing. The challenge is that this should not affect drivers that have built a brand. Otherwise consumers could see a brand negatively," he added.

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