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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: 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: Interbrand on Wednesday, June 18 2014 05:25 PM | Comments (0)

    Interbrand Wins the Gold

    Interbrand is proud to announce it has won a Gold Cannes Lions award, with work created by our New York office for a global Nelson Mandela poster campaign. 

    The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is the world's largest celebration of creativity in communications. It honors the ideas that are changing the ways brands interact with their customers and its prestigious awards champion the best work of all. 

    The global Nelson Mandela poster campaign is an initiative that invited artists from all over the world to honor Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday through the design of a commemorative poster. The project’s only creative parameter was that all posters needed to be A2 size. 

    A team in Interbrand’s New York office decided to create an A2-sized poster that could unfold into an 8 by 7 foot rectangle when placed on the ground—almost the exact size of Mandela’s prison cell on Robben Island, South Africa where he served most of his 27-year sentence. This revolutionary design concept took what could have been a traditional poster and turned it into a memorable and inspiring experience in the public space. 

    From nearly 700 submissions, 95 posters were chosen to represent each year of Mandela’s life. Interbrand New York's "Paper Prison" poster was one of those selected. The 95 posters were part of an exhibit that toured the world before being auctioned off to benefit the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust. 

    We would like to congratulate the team responsible for producing this world-changing piece of work: Andy Payne, Chris Campbell, Forest Young, Craig Stout, Ross Clugston, Kristin Labahn, Matt van Leeuwen, Matt King, Darcy Newell and Interbrand interns Jongwon Lee, Andrea Moore and Annalisa van den Bergh. Their work has honored a man who changed the world for the better and inspired us all with his unbreakable spirit. 

    More details are in our press release, and to view photos of the Mandela Paper Prison, check out our Facebook album.

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  • Posted by: Tom Zara on Friday, June 6 2014 03:02 PM | Comments (0)

    As the Global Practice Leader of Corporate Citizenship at Interbrand, the focus of my efforts center around shaping strategies that connect the “heart” and “brain” of organizations to create positive change in our world. These efforts to reconcile human values and economic performance are in the service of many of the world’s greatest brands—brands managed by the titans of commerce and brands that touch millions of consumers across the globe.

    At Interbrand, we invest in the creation of programs that meet five criteria for success and employ highly motivated creative teams to develop content that engages employees and customers in support of cause-related programs—all within the confines of glass and steel structures of corporate edifices. We have an intellectual grasp of the cause, sufficient points of reference to shape the tactics of a program, and assurances that what is planned is, in fact, executed. The brain is fully engaged in this strategic process. 

    But where is the heart? 

    This past November, I was invited to join a team from Procter & Gamble, working on the Pampers brand, as well as members of the UNICEF corporate partnership team to fly half way around the world to the Island of Flores in Indonesia. Our purpose was to document the Pampers/UNICEF Maternal Neonatal Tetanus program, nine years in force, and support its worthy objective: eradicating a preventable disease that kills a newborn baby every nine minutes. The program meets every standard of excellence we prescribe to our clients, so my expectations were high. My understanding of the program was well-informed and the metrics of its impact were meticulously documented. All that was left to appreciate was the hands-on participation in the actual implementation of the vaccine program. What transpired during my time in Indonesia was a life-changing experience. 

    Tom Zara

    Tom Zara (left), Global Practice Leader of Corporate Citizenship at Interbrand and Matthew Price (right) of Pampers, are greeted by roosters during their trip to Indonesia.

    Roeteng is the largest city in the central region of Flores, roughly 950 miles due east from Jakarta. Arriving by plane from Denpasar, we then traveled three hours to our destination: a picturesque mountain village in rural Indonesia, removed from everything most Westerners consider “normal.” This is a place where one-room homes with mud floors, limited access to potable water, and subsistence farming are the norm. And, everywhere we looked, there were children, curious and welcoming.  

    In the central gathering hut of the village, we witnessed the complexity and impact of the MNT vaccine program in all of its glory. Mothers lined up with their newborn children—patiently waiting to be examined by the visiting nurses, ready to receive their vaccines and grateful for the medical attention being administered. Observing the procession of young families in search of basic medical services brought my own privilege into sharp relief—access to medical care, both basic and advanced, is something many of us take for granted. But here, receiving preventative care was something to celebrate and a cause for joy. The gratitude was heartfelt. These women now had confidence that their health, and the health of their babies, was secured. The whole village, in fact, participated in the bounty of medical attention and human compassion. 

    Just a short walk to the fringe of the village sat a two-room school. As we approached, we were greeted by a group of beautiful children—all neat in their school uniforms, flashing brilliant smiles and squealing with laughter as we tried to communicate using hands and comical gestures. We proceeded to give these children second doses of the MNT vaccine, which were received with enthusiasm, fearlessness, and calm—a response we were not expecting, but one that gave us insight into the dignity and strength of these children. In their eyes, shone the light of hope and the promise of health.

    As moving experiences like this illustrate, the impact of the Pampers/UNICEF program is not simply measured by statistics. It is also measured by its contribution to the well-being of an individual, a family, and a whole community. While the vaccine is designed to eradicate the incidence of tetanus, the real gift of the MNT program is prolonged life—and optimism. For me, the gift of the program is the tangible sensation of seeing and feeling its impact. Thanks to my journey, I can now be a more credible advocate for the generous initiatives powerful brands make possible—and, for that, I will be eternally grateful. 

    Tom Zara is the Global Practice Leader of Corporate Citizenship at Interbrand. You can follow him on Twitter: ‪@zaracsr4change  

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  • Posted by: Interband on Thursday, June 5 2014 07:56 PM | Comments (0)
    What Marketers Can Learn From Best Swiss Brands 2014 Best Swiss Brands

    Best Swiss Brands

    Best Swiss Brands

    In 2014, Interbrand recognized the Best Swiss Brands for the 3rd time. In honor of the occasion, Interbrand hosted an event in its Zurich office on May 13th. Both clients and leaders representing the Best Swiss Brands joined Interbrand to celebrate. 

    For the first time, B2B brands were included in the ranking, indicating the growing importance of this sector. ABB, Swiss Re, Sulzer, and Syngenta are impressively demonstrating the role of consistent and mindful brand management and its rising influence on the company's performance. 

    With outstanding overall performance, the unrivalled Nescafé occupies the top spot in the ranking, but the Swiss luxury industry and the pharmaceutical industry, represented by powerhouse brands like Novartis and Roche, are also very strong.  

    A close examination of the ranking, and the leading Swiss brands it highlights, suggests factors that are indispensable for successful brand management. It reveals that the most successful brands understand the importance of brand management. These brands know when to evolve, when to reinvent themselves, and the importance of aligning their brand strategy with their business strategy. 

    When looking at the leading Swiss brands and assessing their strengths, some common themes and lessons emerge: 

    Evolution of brand management 

    The impact of the brand on a company's performance is becoming increasingly evident. Organizations that realize this are integrating the brand into the overall business strategy, with the brand strategy serving as the interpretation of the business strategy. However, when brands are viewed as the valuable assets they are and positioned to lead a business forward, it is essential to have a great vision for them. To fulfill the promise of that vision, it is often necessary to make changes and drive innovation. To bring that vision to life, to touch audiences emotionally and to create a truly outstanding brand experience also means placing a strong emphasis on design and clear, authentic communication.

    Brand experience across all touchpoints 

    Brands cannot be successful if people are not aware of them and impacted by them. In order to reach target audiences and keep them engaged, the establishment of a compelling brand experience is necessary. Not just relying on the brand’s classic offline brand appearance, the experience also includes the digital experience and, even more important, a cross-channel approach. By enhancing the customer journey through design, communication, and service at every step, companies can create a seamless brand experience that will anchor positive emotions in the customer’s mind. 

    The importance of employer branding 

    A clear and powerful brand position is not only key to attracting and sustaining the interest of customers, but also plays a significant role in attracting and retaining highly skilled professionals. Brands inspire and strengthen commitment internally and motivate existing employees to become brand ambassadors. Projecting this authenticity, appeal, and credibility—internally and externally—is something successful brands seek to do effectively. 

    Brand value determines brand activities 

    A corporate brand is sometimes thought of as a cost center, but organizations are better served by viewing it as a business asset. A company needs to understand its brand, gauge its effectiveness and potential, and manage the brand as it would any other asset. Brands have the innate potential to either strengthen or hinder a company, and it is up to the organization to determine which of these two possibilities becomes reality through the ways in which it leverages the brand. To leverage the brand effectively, Brand Performance Management must be established. Measuring and tracking a brand’s value helps companies decide which initiatives are necessary to build its brand power.  

    Brand communication means leading a conversation 

    In a digitally-connected world, where communication is taking place everywhere, at all times, it’s no longer enough to craft messaging and blast it out, hoping people will respond favorably. Today, there are many brands competing for attention and mindshare and static communication will not engage, build relationships with customers, or break through cultural noise. Today, brands must participate, interact, respond, and express passion for their corporate culture and offerings in an authentic way. Creating a platform to receive and discuss customer feedback, expectations, ideas, and requests gives brands the opportunity to learn about changing customer needs, meet those needs better, and ensure a positive impact.   

    The future of brand management 

    The Best Swiss Brands report illustrates how brand management is practiced today. To recap: 

    • Brand Management 3.0 is more about facilitating than controlling brand communications. It means shifting from “Brand Cop” to the “Brand DJ.” 
    • To achieve maximum impact, experiences must be thoughtfully designed, powerful and consistent across touchpoints, resulting in a memorable brand experience. 
    • Employer Branding is a key investment for any company’s future. Strengthening one’s reputation and image as an employer is an effective way to attract the best people, while a strong internal brand is crucial to retain talent. The talent a company attracts—and keeps— can boost future earnings. 
    • Measuring and tracking a brand’s value helps companies decide which initiatives are necessary to build its brand power. 
    • A vivid dialogue means benefits for all stakeholders, but marketers must bear in mind that fruitful brand conversations happen when brands are positive, passionate, open and responsive. 

    For the full ranking, detailed information, and interviews with marketing leaders visit www.bestswissbrands2014.ch

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