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Branding Observatory returns to Barcelona to analyse the importance of establishing more humane relationships between brands and people
Branding Observatory returns to Barcelona to analyse the importance of establishing more humane relationships between brands and people

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  • Communities are gaining more and more value as spaces for brand contribution.
  • Segmentation continues to be an essential tool to establish a relevant relationship with the public, but it must go beyond demographic segmentation.

In recent years technology has experienced phenomenal growth, achieving outstanding creations. Due to this growth, it is imperative for brands to establish relationships that are increasingly humane and friendly with their audiences and communities. This was among the main conclusions of the most recent edition of the Branding Observatory in Barcelona, which was hosted on 18 October at Telefónica’s Torre Diagonal One. This event was organised by the Marketing Association of Spain (AMKT), the Leading Brands of Spain Forum (FMRE), GfK, PONS IP and Summa Branding, with the goal of analyse and discuss the current state of relationships between brands and their audiences. Over 130 branding and marketing professionals from every corner of the globe gathered for the event.

Victor Conde, AMKT’s general director, and Víctor Aguado Martín, Branding Research and Positioning manager at Telefónica, which is a collaborating company in the current edition of Branding Observatory, hosted the event. Conde highlighted that “in this edition of the Observatory, we wanted to address a topic that we consider to be highly current and relevant: the relationship between brands and people. Or in other words, between companies and people through their brands, and how these relationships, although it may seem paradoxical in an increasingly technological world, are increasingly humane relationships”. For his part, Aguado Martín pointed out that “we are living in a complex world in which brands can help to provide answers. Using technology we have helped people in the countries in which we operate, reinforcing and highlighting Telefónica’s purpose: to make our world more humane by connecting people’s lives”.

The first presentation of the event was given by Federico Martínez, Business Development Director at GfK, under the title ‘Segment and conquer. How to grow through a dual strategy that balances short and long term’. Those responsible for branding in companies no longer have to choose between generating a brand and boosting sales: “Both objectives are perfectly compatible when a correct segmentation of target audiences is carried out, grouping consumers of a given brand according to the triple criteria of psychographics, consumption values and moments. By doing so, we can unveil areas of demand for short and also long term”, he said.

Next, Rafael Soto, Head of Creative and Experience at Summa Branding, presented ‘Communities: the new playing field for brands’. In his presentation, he explained that audiences are currently regrouping in new ways while welcoming the adoption of new roles by the brands. “With these new roles, opportunities abound for connecting with individuals and becoming a benchmark brand in each community. In fact, as internal leaders spring out of these communities, being positioned at that level offers an enormous competitive edge to brands. Summing up, new spaces are opening to brands and it is the time to understand them and make the most of them”, he highlighted.

This speech was followed by a roundtable discussion with the participation of Anaïs Durand, Director of Marketing and Communication at TOUS; Jordi Torrente, Global Head of Social Media and Metaverse at CUPRA; and María Díaz, Director of Communication, Brand and Institutional Relations at Esade, moderated by Tamara Pirojkova, Director of Marketing at FMRE.

The roundtable participants agreed on the importance of connecting in a more humane way with each of their audiences and communities in order to generate lasting and relevant relationships. Experiences are key for this: “The current trend lies in the metaverse and at TOUS we are clearly backing innovation. We are facing a key moment for connecting with the consumer and the metaverse has allowed us to work in a new environment in order to create a new experience: TOUS Manifesto”, Anaïs Durand explained, referring to TOUS.

With regards to Esade, María Díaz explained that “our community is one of our brand’s fortes. This is a privilege we enjoy and it is crucial that our community breathes our values, as the individuals that make it up are the builders of the Esade brand”.

For its part, Jordi Torrente pointed out that, in the case of CUPRA, the creation of new experiences, both physical and virtual, to connect with the consumers goes hand in hand with innovation as a brand intrinsic value: “the company directors are keen on both innovation and disruption and this helps our brand to evolve. Innovation is a matter of attitude”.

To bring the round table to an end, moderator Tamara Pirojkova restated that “experiences help to build trust, and this factor constitutes the foundation for significant and enduring bonds between brands and people”.

This was followed by a dialogue between Ventura Barba, CEO at Advanced Music, and Nuria Marcos, Director General at PONS IP, about brand management, identity and experience in the case of Sónar, one of the most renowned international festivals. Barba explained that “we redefined the festival concept with a rebranding exercise. Sónar has transcended the traditional concept of a festival: it is a different experience where engagement with technology becomes essential and which is an element of great interest for our audiences”.

For its part, Marcos highlighted that “becoming increasingly innovative is a challenge for brands and is what brings about new experiences that connect with the different audiences”.

To close the event, Conrad Llorens, president of Summa Branding as well as host to this edition of the Branding Observatory, offered the main conclusions to the attendees:

  • Currently, customer communities must be understood as spaces where the brands have to make valuable contributions to groups of people who share common habits and interests, always using a friendly approach with a calling for usefulness.
  • Segmentation is fundamental to discover new demand units on which brands can articulate new opportunities for growth. The identification of contexts of use and consumption with the greatest potential to connect with consumers will create a deeper relationship and generate a greater return for the brand.
  • Technology is at people’s service and a tool that brands must use responsibly to maintain and increase their audience’s trust.

With this new edition hosted in Barcelona, the Branding Observatory has established itself as a benchmark event for the analysis and discussion of everything about the branding sector and brand management, thus boosting the intangible economy.

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