“The Branding Guru” at CESA School of Business

Wally Olins, the world’s leading practitioner of branding and identity according to The Financial Times, and author of books like On Brand and Corporate Identity, gave a conference for CESA School of Business on November 12th at El Nogal Club.

“Branding is about belonging and being seen to belong” explained Mr. Olins, who assured brands began to differentiate themselves emotionally when they became homogenised in terms of rational factor like price, quality and service.

According to Mr. Olins a brand is an idea projected into everything you do, it is about emotions and it’s manifested by the way people behave. However, brands face a big challenge now a day, globalization.

“The extraordinary result of globalization is increasing competition” said Olins, adding that he doesn’t agree with the theory that says that globalization leads to homogenization. The branding expert talked about how competition in the national brand is increasingly becoming more important and highlighted that even though we are used to western cultures dominating the world, newcomers like China, India and South Korea are catching up.

In a generation of what he calls “empowered consumers”, customers are asking questions, making demands, and looking for authenticity. Locally crafted, organic and personality are characteristics that are becoming more attractive than ever. Being able to trust a brand is a very important aspect for its success. Consumers want companies to behave well and speak to them directly. However, mistrust and skepticism continue to happen because of fragmentation and bureaucracy.

Finally, Olins spoke about the opportunity to start building small, authentic, exciting, new brands. Big brands, Olins said, are in big trouble because they are under great public scrutiny and can’t deal with CSR.

Mr. Olins shared his guidelines for creating a new successful brand:

1. What do you stand for?
2. Who do you talk to and who do you listen to?
3. What do you say?
4. How do you say it?
5. Where do you say it?
6. How do you manage it?

In an interview after his conference Mr. Wally Olins, sent a special message to CESA students: “Branding is a manifestation of the human condition and it is not advertising, advertising is part of it, but it is the totality of the way we are and of the way we feel of the way we attract.”