• Posted by: Paula Camarão on Tuesday, July 8 2014 07:24 PM | Comments (0)

    "Once every four years the whole world lives in the same time zone." That's how ESPN described the FIFA World Cup's impact—the biggest sports event on Earth attracts (and manages to unite) more than three billion people from many cultures and walks of life. For that reason, the World Cup is an incredible opportunity for brands to gain exposure—and, more than ever, they're taking advantage of the captive audience. 

    In recent months, a flood of green and yellow product packaging—referencing Brazil, where the World Cup is being hosted—has appeared, in all categories. But does an association with a big sports event (or a celebrity player) in and of itself really help a brand? What is gained beyond visibility? Does the association yield a significant return? Does the association fit the brand? And, most importantly, will people remember the brand and the ad—or just the ad? For example, the memorable ad that featured Neymar and Messi competing on the field, images of Rio de Janeiro, happy people, and a smart phrase at the end: Was it a message from Gatorade? Adidas? Or was it McDonalds? 

    Sea of green and yellow packaging

    Being a sponsor, even if large amounts of money are invested, is not always enough to create value for brands. To take full advantage of the rich opportunities the World Cup offers to connect with consumers around the world, brands must keep two key assumptions in mind:

    1. Continue the story of your brand

    Itaú, one of biggest banks in Brazil and FIFA national supporter, is known for supporting initiatives that seek to "change the world."Applying this to its World Cup sponsorship, its traditional hashtag #issomudaomundo (#thischangestheworld) was adapted to #issomudaojogo (#thischangesthegame). Through its social media messaging, the brand communicates that fans, with their spirit and enthusiasm, can change the outcome of a match. Putting money behind that message, the bank sponsored a song to inspire the crowd—and it became a national hit.

    Coca-Cola accomplished a similar feat in 2010 with the song "Wavin' Flag" by Somali-Canadian artist, K'naan. Though it was originally written for Somalia and the aspirations of its people for freedom, the song did not become a global hit until it was chosen as Coca-Cola's promotional anthem for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Remixed to match the celebratory nature of the event, Coca-Cola integrated its jingle, well known from Coca-Cola commercials, into the mix, generating a direct association between the song and the brand. The song was not only a top ten hit on charts around the world, it also effectively captured the sense of global unity that prevails during the World Cup as well as the optimistic spirit Coca-Cola seeks to convey.

    In this instance, such meaningful sponsored activity, aligned with the brand's identity, makes it impossible to speak of the 2010 FIFA World Cup without thinking of the song "Wavin' Flag." Similarly, the hashtag "thischangesthegame" will long be associated with the 2014 Cup as well as the bank, Itaú. In these cases, the investment was strategic and well-executed—and has contributed to building brand value.

    2.  Create an emotional connection

    Among the brands vying for the spotlight at the World Cup, the ones that reap the most benefits from this amazing sponsorship opportunity are the brands that forge an authentic, meaningful emotional connection with consumers. Beats by Dre accomplished this with its five-minute-long World Cup commercial, "The Game Before The Game," which begins with Neymar and his father talking on FaceTime, then bounces around the world to different Beats-wearing soccer stars preparing for matches. Even though it was prohibited from appearing in the Cup, the commercial struck a chord and generated over 20 million views on YouTube. 

    Stories create connection—and connection benefits brands. The World Cup offers ample opportunity to move and inspire people, which is how brands can really stand out.  

    As Arnab Roy, director of futbol marketing at Coca-Cola, put it, “[Futbol] is easily the No. 1 global passion and the FIFA World Cup is the biggest sporting platform. It has been a proven asset within our system to drive brand love and brand value.”

    Paula Camarão is a Strategy Analyst at Interbrand São Paulo.

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  • Posted by: Michael Mitchell on Tuesday, July 8 2014 01:09 PM | Comments (0)

    Michael Mitchell joined Interbrand’s Verbal Identity team in New York as a Creative Writer 4 years ago. His daily work with the Verbal team included a blend of copywriting, strategic messaging, tagline development, name generation, and more. Upon learning that he could take these skills and apply them internationally, he joined our global mobility program. Below, Michael answers a few questions about the program and his adopted city, Singapore.

    What initially led you to want to transfer to Singapore? What were you hoping to take away from the experience? 

    I wanted international business experience and cultural immersion. Interbrand has 30+ offices, so it seemed there would be plenty of opportunity to work abroad. As an English-speaking Verbal Identity consultant, I knew I would have to transfer to a market that worked primarily in my native language. In that regard, the Singapore office was an option. I'd already met two members of the Singapore team while at Interbrand Academy in Korea, so it felt perfect.  

     IB Singapore 

    Has anything been surprising to you about your new city?

    Singapore is on the equator, and it’s very hot—every day. So, the joke is that Singapore has the world’s best air conditioning, and it’s true! Every building you step into is ice cold. It’s impressive, and slightly scary.   

    What advice would you give to others who are interested in global mobility? 

    Do it. As I got on the Singapore Airlines flight leaving New York, I was unsure, intimtidated and frightened—and that’s how I knew I’d made the right decision. The business opportunity and cultural immersion has allowed me to grow, learn, and push myself in ways I never thought possible. Anyone who takes advantage of global mobility opportunities at Interbrand is bound to have an incredible, life-changing experience.  

    Singapore streets

    What do you like best about your new city? 

    Singapore is a sparkling melting pot. It’s modern and lush, with a wonderfully diverse population. And with all that human diversity comes an amazing variety of food—this is a playground for foodies!   

    What specific projects have you been able to work on? 

    The Singapore office services the entire Southeast Asia region. As a result, I’ve been able to do work for clients from Thailand, Indonesia, Brunnei, and Malaysia, as well as for Northern Asia brands from Japan, South Korea, and China. I was fortunate to be part projects in Sydney, Australia as well. The work has ranged from brand voice and messaging to tagline development and naming work. I also published a Verbal Identity article in a regional marketing magazine!   

    Singapore city view

    What is most valuable idea you have discovered thus far? 

    We’re all a lot more similar than we are different. I believe in market analysis, audience segmentation, and big data—but being immersed here has made me realize that, while cultures differ, people are people at the end of the day. The most successful brands know that. Brands that can tap into universal human themes and sentiment can thrive globally.   

    Singapore team     

    Michael Mitchell is a Creative Writer and Verbal Identity consultant working at Interbrand’s Singapore office. 

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  • Posted by: Ramya Kartikeyan on Monday, July 7 2014 03:40 PM | Comments (0)

    Making the jump from prescription to OTC

    At the NewYorkBIO 2014 conference, multidisciplinary speakers focused on the need for a clearer path to commercialization for pipeline drugs to promote regulatory efficiency and openness. In a call out to developments made by the FDA, the keynote speech delivered by the Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, highlighted changes that have been introduced to bring new products to the market sooner, without compromising the integrity of the regulatory process as a whole.   

    An improved regulatory system runs at the heart of a changing healthcare market, which includes stratified patient populations, larger clinical trials, the growing role of biologics, and the diminishing value of the blockbuster drug model for the majority of companies. With the cost of developing most drugs reaching approximately $1bn from bench to bedside, more companies are looking for ways to extend the life of their drugs beyond their impending patent cliffs.   

    A separate panel at the NYBIO conference delved into the intricacies of shifting from prescription (Rx) status to over-the-counter (OTC) to capitalize on the brand equity built by the corporate manufacturer over years of marketing. With a potential loss of 85 percent or greater market share, drug manufacturers of select therapies will likely be able to successfully convert their Rx products into OTC products, but doing so comes with its own set of challenges. Each manufacturer is required to conduct a series of marketing assessments to ensure that the product adheres to existing guidelines on safety.   

    Due to the nature of the Rx to OTC switching process, the majority of the drugs that have successfully made the jump include drugs in categories such as migraine, high cholesterol, oral contraception, erectile dysfunction, antivirals, etc. The top 10 products in the OTC category currently generate more than $300m per year per drug, which offers a significant “cash cow” alternative for those products setting up to battle stiff generic competition. Even with a steady cash flow from OTC sales, companies are often forced to drop their prices to remain competitive and relevant within this new market dynamic. However, in light of the Affordable Care Act, industry specialists expect more and more patients to self-treat with OTC treatments before seeking the costlier option of seeing a medical professional.   

    So, should a branded drug asset compete on par with other products in the OTC market given these stakes? Can an Rx branded product cut through the “noise” and effectively capitalize on its brand equity to generate momentum in sales with a direct-to-consumer distribution channel? Pharma companies need to carefully consider these challenges and investigate if the R&D investment is worth the payoff.   

    Ramya Kartikeyan, Ph.D., is the Director of Analytics for InterbrandHealth.    

    For more information about product brand equity, connect with InterbrandHealth here.

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  • Posted by: Dominik Prinz on Wednesday, July 2 2014 04:40 PM | Comments (0)

    The annual “Good Pitch” in NYC is a unique event. Bringing together documentary filmmakers and thought leaders from both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, it is meant to inspire. But, most importantly, this meeting of the minds catalyzes powerful partnerships aimed at solving some of the world’s most pressing issues.    

    Change is a tricky thing to achieve. Especially when it comes to social justice. It requires a strong, clear vision others can rally around. It requires powerful incentives that motivate others to join in. And it requires persistence, because change doesn’t come easily.   

    All these ingredients were present in abundance last week, when one of several global Good Pitch events opened its gates to various filmmakers in New York: Each and every one of them introduced a personal vision of what needs to change in the world to make it more just, more tolerant, more sustainable, and more balanced.   

    The issues raised by the participating filmmakers ranged from critiques of the American criminal justice system to conservation. 3 ½ Minutes, for example, dissects the tragic shooting death of teenager, Jordan Davis, and the legal controversy surrounding the case. Another film, Seed, follows farmers and scientists trying to protect the diversity of agriculture and highlights the battle for the future of our seeds. And the documentary, Virunga, tells the incredible story of the brave people risking their lives to save a World Heritage site in the Congo—home to the last of the mountain gorillas and one of the most bio-diverse places on earth.   

    Opening up the event, Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, affirmed the important role films like these play in furthering positive social change. “The arts,” he said, “are a profound means of improving the human experience; and film is a timeless ally in the ongoing quest for justice.”   

    I could not agree more. We live in a fast-paced, attention span challenged world where younger people often gain more education and inspiration through short films and YouTube video clips than they do through the written word. And the fact that there was no dry eye in the room when Jordan Davis’ parents talked about the unimaginable pain caused by the injustice inflicted upon their son was a testament to the power of visual storytelling to raise awareness and inspire transformative action.   

    That’s where Good Pitch adds a unique (and indispensable) ingredient to the filmmakers’ vision and persistence: it facilitates engagement and allows influential allies and members of civil society to learn about—and get behind—each filmmaker’s cause. Whether it’s on-the-spot financial support to complete a film’s production, or PR and media connections that help amplify its reach, the collective action this gathering of change-makers inspires transcends the room it takes place in. By supporting documentary filmmaking and expanding the audience for social justice-focused films, the Good Pitch’s galvanizing spirit brings these stories to more people. As viewers, we are invited to bear witness, to join the fight against injustice, and to awaken our own potential for visionary leadership and activism, as well.   

    Events like Good Pitch provide yet another pathway of empowerment, enabling people to learn more about what’s not working in the world and giving them the tools to do something about it. From Kickstarter and Crowdrise, to dosomething.org and causes.com—these platforms for change can only be enriched by thought-provoking documentary films. After all, being aware of a problem is the first step in fixing it.    

    The fact that the event gives representatives of the branding and business world a seat at the table speaks to the important role some of the most recognized brands play in this conversation. The Fords, Patagonias, Googles, and Netflixes of this world can—and must—use their sphere of influence to scale the vision of filmmakers such as those who participated in Good Pitch. Those with immense resources and influence can do much to accelerate the kinds of changes we all want to see in this world.   

    Dominik Prinz is Strategy Director at Interbrand New York. Follow him on Twitter: @DomPrinz

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  • Posted by: Nicole Diamant on Monday, June 30 2014 03:35 PM | Comments (0)

    If Virgin were in the healthcare space

    From digestible colon cameras to bionic hands to 3D printed organs, the healthcare industry is exploding with scientific discovery, technological achievement, and impossible visions made possible. And yet, when we look at the majority of the creative work done for the healthcare sector, it rarely captures the sense of excitement that often accompanies these cutting-edge developments. The way the industry communicates and represents itself visually is often safe, cliché, or just tries too hard to win us over. Are opportunities being missed?  

    “Cool” may not be the first word that comes to mind when most people think of healthcare, but, in such an innovative field, cool things do, in fact, happen. Maybe it’s time for the sector’s creative work to reflect that.     

    At the inaugural Lions Health festival at Cannes, InterbrandHealth’s Executive Creative Director, R. John Fidelino, explored this cognitive dissonance in his talk “Chasing Cool in Healthcare.” In his provocative presentation, R. John tackled the concept of cool, the current language of healthcare, and how communications and creative professionals can shift their thinking and elevate the groundbreaking work being done in this field.     

    Should healthcare be cool? If so, how can we push the boundaries to more effectively communicate with consumers in this increasingly patient-centric world? The inherent nature of something deemed cool is the effortlessness of it. Cool things, people, and places inspire us and make us want to be associated with them. When we think about healthcare, we need to ask ourselves, are we achieving this same thing with our brands? Do we strive to hit the three qualities that characterize cool: meaningful, authentic, and immersive?    

    And is cool even appropriate for healthcare? It may be that we are uncomfortable with “cool” in healthcare—it may trivialize the seriousness of disease and sickness. While the category does demand a high level of respect, we do it a disservice by not recognizing and promoting innovative work and exciting breakthroughs. Are we diving deep enough and helping people understand all aspects of our category? 

    Great consumer brands craft relationships with people—through websites, apps, social media, in-store experiences, and more. In healthcare, are we creating that same 360-degree experience? We need to start thinking about how words and images create full and complete worlds for consumers. That is what makes a great brand. What if Virgin ran a hospital? What if Apple sold pharmaceuticals? What if Nike made medical devices? Consumer brands are already dabbling in the healthcare space. Imagining the future of healthcare and the types of brands that may eventually play in this space can be inspiring and eye-opening.

    Healthcare enriches life, even saves life. What could be cooler than that? We need to stop being bashful about the category. We need to recognize all the great things happening in our industry, celebrate them, and help people appreciate the wonders of this rapidly evolving field. When we acknowledge how amazing our category really is, we won’t have to chase cool—we’ll naturally embrace it. And others will too.     

    Here are a few questions to help us assess our brands' cool factor:   

    • Are we crafting brands that are authentic, meaningful, and immersive?
    • Are we creating 360-degree experiences for consumers?
    • Are we properly communicating the awesomeness of our category?
    • Are we thinking outside of healthcare and appropriately adopting the best practices of great consumer brands?  

    Nicole Diamant is the Marketing Manager for InterbrandHealth. You can follow her on Twitter: @NicoleDiamant

    For more information on the Chasing Cool presentation, please contact InterbrandHealth. A video clip can be seen here.   


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