Bindu Nair Maitra
Oct 18, 2010

"Employees must be engaged to deliver on brand experience:" Interbrand's Frampton

Interbrand's group CEO talks to Campaign India on their 2010 Best Global Brands rankings and what these rankings imply for the brands in question.

Interbrand has been publishing its Top 100 list of Best Global Brands annually since 2001. Coca Cola tops this year’s rankings, it remains the same as last year, followed by IBM and then Microsoft. Campaign India caught up with Jez Frampton, group chief executive of Interbrand to understand the underlying trends that the 2010 rankings reflect. 

Frampton explains the reasons behind some of the dramatic spikes as well as declines in rankings from last year to this year and why Indian brands haven’t yet made it to the Best Global Brands list.  Read on for the full interview. 

CI: What are the underlying trends that you have observed with this year's top 100 Brands? 

JF: We are seeing a new paradigm in brand management. With economic recovery there are profound changes in the relationship between brands and their customers. Brands are constantly stress-tested for relevance and value. Customers now expect to buy online, return in store and receive the most up to date offers and promotions instantly. With alternatives only a click away, their patience is ever-shortening – making them not only more difficult to predict but feeling more confident every day. Leading brands from our study are making an effort to adapt to this real-time brand management approach, using social media channels to forge deeper relationships with their customers. 

CI: Every brand that has declined or risen vis-a-vis last year's rankings tells its own story. Which ones stand out for you in this year's Top 100 List? 

JF: The brands that stand out this year are those that are getting brand management right inside their organizations. They understand that the demand of a constant connection with their customers requires a major shift in internal behavior. Employees must genuinely be empowered and engaged to deliver on the brand experience. “Brandwashing” your way through customer relationships will not be a lasting tactic and the smartest marketers are making meaningful employee engagement a priority for their brand and business strategies.

CI: Is there any sector that has dominated the top ten/twenty brands in your list this year? 

JF: This year our top risers in brand value are dominated by the technology sector. Apple leads the way with 37% brand value growth, followed by Google with 36% and BlackBerry with 32%. Also looking within the top ten of our ranking, you’ll find brands like IBM (#2), Microsoft (#3), Google (#4), Intel (#7), Nokia (#8) and HP (#10). 

The technology sector is undergoing rapid-fire change with consumers embracing and interacting with new technology at an unprecedented pace. This innovation is driving verticalization and an integrated experience is helping these brands create value. 

CI: Is there any instance of a brand that has seen a) dramatic ascent b) dramatic decline in its ranking from last year. Could you share examples for each with your opinion of the change in brand rankings? 

JF: Apple continues its sharp increase in value growth year after year. This year, with a 37% gain, Apple shows its model of vertical integration – from hardware, software, connections, apps, and content – is highly successful and leading the way for the behavior of the entire category. Conversely, Harley-Davidson has lost its footing with a value decline of 24% this year. Over the past three years the brand had been in decline as it becomes a less relevant purchase in a time where customers are scrutinizing their discretionary spending. 

CI: There are no Indian Brands among the Top 100 brands in your list this year- are there any Indian brands in your consideration that you believe could make the cut a few years from now? Could you share the reasons for your answer? 

JF: There are a number of reasons for not being on the list. The key criterion being you must be a genuinely global business and brands, and not just have operations across the world. While there are a host of good Indian companies, none have sufficient scale. By scale, I don’t mean in terms of operations alone. Take the Tatas, for instance. The group has a presence across sectors and in a number of countries. There are brands such as Tetley,Nano and Jaguar in its portfolio. Yet the Tata brand is not sufficiently big enough. So yes, the business is big and valuable, and there are notable brands in its portfolio, but as a homogenous entity, there is no Tata brand all over. There lies the problem. Of not being sufficiently global enough from a brand point of view. The principle also applies to other business houses such as Godrej, Mahindra & Mahindra and Reliance. If this issue is addressed, I don’t see why Indian brands can’t make it to the Global list.

Campaign India

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