For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

"They think it's all over ..."

This year's Brands Lecture, "They think it's all over", was delivered today by Martin Glenn (right) in the pleasant and congenial surroundings of the Institute of Physics, a stone's throw from London's elegant Regents Park. Although he is CEO of Birds Eye Iglo Group Ltd, Martin has more than a bird's-eye perspective on brands, having toiled for over a decade to lead Walkers potato crisps to their position of preeminence in the UK market. The Brands Lecture is one of the activities hosted by the British Brands Group, which coincidentally was able to announce the launch of its handsomely redesigned website this evening.

Below: sports stars such as Gary Lineker have come under attack from pro-health and anti-obesity groups for encouraging the consumption of products such as Walkers crisps (click here).

Speaking from a consumer brand manager's perspective, Martin outlined various malaises that have affected the brand management profession in recent times: these include the lack of a good supply of high-calibre graduate recruits, lack of confidence when responding to single-issue pressure groups and demands for regulatory reform, distrust of private equity funding, an obsession with the need to "differentiate" one's brands from others rather than focusing on how to improve the product, absence of cohesion between the parts of the marketing operation that develop products, speak to consumers and defend the brand against outside criticism, failure to embrace the need for continuity (consumers get bored with marketing ploys far more slowly than the branding team does).

Martin then called for brand managers to opt for a "balanced life style" for their brands, seeking the path that is neither short-termist, over-reacting to every challenge or opportunity, nor too long-term and change-averse. They should learn to trust consumers and to listen to them carefully. Finally, they should learn how to segment the "market" of single-interest groups and lobbyists: while all questions and criticisms must be addressed and dealt with, not all are of equal weight and some need to be dealt with more urgently than others.

The IPKat says, it was a fun event and a very instructive one; he looks forward to reading the lecture once BBG has published it. Martin fought his corner with eloquence, wit and not a little emotion. Merpel says, don't get carried away; every manager of one brand - which he fights for tooth and nail - is also the consumer of many more. As brand manager he may take a tough and unrelenting attitude against criticisms and pressure groups, but as a consumer he's more likely to want to be joining one.

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