Madrid, March 16, 2022. – Branding professionals assembled at the Official College of Architects of Madrid (COAM) on March 16 for the 10th edition of the Branding Observatory, promoted by the Marketing Association of Spain (AMKT), GfK – an international market research consultancy, Summa – a pioneering branding company in Spain, the Leading Brands of Spain Forum, and PONS IP – a leading intellectual property consultancy.
The general theme of this latest edition of the Observatory was ‘The Return on Branding: The value of brands and their contribution to business’, with the word return here carrying a double meaning: the return of the event after the impact of the pandemic, and above all, the economic return that owning and properly managing a powerful brand, valued by customers and connected to their needs, means for any company. As the event’s host, TVE journalist Sergio Martín underlined, ‘all the presentations and debates at the #OB2022 revolve around brands’ value contribution, the practices that connect a brand and business to generate value and the economic benefits of investing in brands.’
Víctor Conde, General Manager at the Marketing Association of Spain, AMKT, welcomed attendees to the event, stressing that ‘like branding, marketing also contributes a great deal of value, which is why companies should conceive all resources poured into it as an investment and not as an expense. Using all possible tools that help us to quantify results enables us to turn marketing into the driver of business success.’
Next to take the floor was Javier Gómez Mora, Head of Brand, Comms & Customer Experience at GfK Spain, who spoke about ‘The future of measuring returns on brands’. Starting with a historical overview of companies’ fundamental orientations over the last four decades – product-centric, customer-centric, experiential, and today’s social purpose and sustainability –, Gómez Mora explained the metrics that enable companies to understand the performance and economic returns generated by their brand. ‘GfK’s Brand Strength Index enables companies to know how much of their revenue is down to the strength of their brand. Remind your CEOs,’ he concluded, addressing brand managers, ‘that 31% of companies’ revenue comes from brands. This figure is an average, as in some industries the percentage is even higher. This is proven by GfK studies in various product and service categories around the world.’
On the other hand, Aleix Gabarre, Head of Knowledge and Trends at Summa Branding, gave an interesting presentation entitled ‘From CAC to Napoleon: accelerating business through brands’. Beyond a purely identifying function, Gabarre stressed that ‘although we tend to understand brands as a reflection of businesses, brands can be designed to be a business driver in themselves’. However, throughout the branding process, it must be kept in mind that ‘optimizing brands for businesses often involves reducing friction, anything that distracts from closing the transaction. The closer the brand is to entertainment, the more valuable it is to generate friction’.
The next section of the #OB2022 was a round table discussion with the same main topic as the Observatory: ‘The return of branding’. Participants included Rafael Fernández de Alarcón, Global Brand Director at Telefónica; Pilar Riaño, Director of External Communications and Institutional Relations at Mango; Javier Portillo, Marketing Director of Campofrío España; Gabriele Palma, Managing Director of CASA SEAT, and Xavier Ramentol, Marketing Director of Dorna Sports (MotoGP). The debate’s moderator was Tamara Pirojkova, Marketing Director at Leading Brands of Spain Forum.
Tamara Pirojkova (Leading Brands of Spain Forum) opened by narrowing the spotlight: ‘companies that invest more in intangible assets grow larger, regardless of the sector, according to data from a recent McKinsey study. Likewise, the study developed by the Leading Brands of Spain Forum and Summa among Spanish companies shows that there is a clear relationship between greater brand orientation and better business performance, which has an impact in different areas, from higher profitability and better productivity ratios to greater growth and talent loyalty. This edition of the Branding Observatory focuses on the return of branding, on the need to provide the brand with resources, support and investment, but even more, on the strategic role of the brand and its contribution to the business.’
Rafael Fernández de Alarcón (Telefónica) argued that ‘a brand’s proper management must be based on two key drivers: on the one hand, the need to be consistent with the values and positioning relevant to clients; and on the other hand, the need to generate new stimuli and differentiating products’.
With regard to the great challenge brands are currently facing, sustainability, Pilar Riaño (Mango) stated that ‘sustainability should not only be an attribute of the brand. It must truly be an objective and an attitude that permeates all business processes, from supplier management to logistics, as well as all production processes’.
Javier Portillo (Campofrío) stressed the need for reliable metrics and tools: ‘Marketing is essentially technical. We have to avoid subjective impressions, personal criteria. And that’s why we need tools capable of processing the multiple data and information available, not only regarding our own company, but also the competition’.
Gabriele Palma (Casa SEAT) emphasized the same central motif the Observatory itself proposed: ‘for every company, the most important thing, the essential metric, is profitability. Everything we do has to generate a return for the business, and so we measure how much of this comes from brand management’.
For Xavier Ramentol (Dorna Sports), ‘the brand can never lose contact with the fans, even in MotoGP’s case, with a community that exceeds 300 million fans around the world. We have to be constantly learning to provide them with a unique experience, whether it’s face-to-face or digitally’.
The round table also discussed issues such as the tension between hyper-personalization and global messages, management of social media and new channels, and technical issues such as developments in artificial intelligence and the scenario that will open up in 2023 with the disappearance of cookies.
After the coffee and networking break, Nuria Marcos, General Manager at PONS IP, interviewed Celia Villalobos, Agencies and Strategic Partnerships Director at Google Spain and Portugal. Once again it became clear that we live in times defined by the need to give brands a purpose of social utility: ‘we manage multiple brands for different services: Android, YouTube, Drive, or Google itself. All of them have to keep in mind the purpose of our activity: to organize information so that it is useful and accessible to everyone’, Villalobos emphasized.
This 10th edition of the Branding Observatory was also followed live via YouTube by hundreds of professionals around the world. Here you can watch the broadcast of the presentations and round table.
En la web del Observatorio, http://www.observatoriodebranding.org puede consultarse toda la información sobre ediciones anteriores.