CEOs & CMOs shoulder to shoulder
Malaysia – The large representation of Malaysian companies' top brass, sitting shoulder to shoulder with marketers, at this week's Global Brand Forum conference is a strong indicator of just how important companies view their brands and marketing.
All were hearing it frank and sometimes brutal from reps of some of the world's most important brands and organisations.
For instance former Procter & Gamble chief marketing officer Jim Stengel (who is now heads the Jim Stengel Company) said stop being concerned about the return on investment, but be concerned about the return of ideals.
His strongest message was the need for a personalised touch within the company before reaching out to consumers.
“Spend time with them, see how they do their laundry and then cater to that,” he said, adding employees should not be forgotten and needed to share the brand ideals and brand values so they can carry that forward and be motivated to become brand ambassadors.
He said failures should be welcomed and the downturn is the best time to invest in branding.
Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes, CEO AirAsia Group told the 800 people who attended the Media Prima organised event of his tricks of tapping into the global market through traditional and digital means while keeping the crowd awake. He also had some frank words on leadership.
“A lot of leaders overstay their term. Good leaders will go when they have to go. They won’t stay around and when they leave, the company will continue seamlessly, through reinvigoration and without the leader’s shadow,” he tells the crowd.
Leading the way through innovation, challenging the trend and going where no one else will go – like Acheh after the tsunami and Narathiwat the heart of southern Thailand’s unrest – is the driving factor for AirAsia.
“Our approach is one that Malaysians are drawn to. Even after the terrorist attacks in Bali, we worked with Media Prima’s TV3 on a ‘Love Bali’ campaign and we launched 12,000 free seats.
“They were sold within an hour and the best part was the 12,000 passengers who went there came back and told 12,000 others that Bali is good,” Fernandes said, also revealing plans of launching a ‘Love Thailand’ campaign in line with AirAsia’s tradition of not cutting off flights to high-risk areas.
Standing behind the brand’s strength is the 6,000 quality staff that he has and the consistent approach of looking out for bright sparks and talents to contribute to the growth of the company and assure it of its future, as he makes his succession plans.
He dismissed fears and rumours of retirement, saying he will be with the group for a long time yet.
Also making their appearance at the event were Joanne Ooi, creative director, Shanghai Tang Hong Kong and lastly, Stewart Butterfield, co-founder Flickr – a photo-sharing social network website which was recently acquired by Yahoo.
As did all the first three speakers in the first day of the event did, the strongest message was that branding and advertising and promotion efforts for companies should not stop, especially with the gloomy economy.
The additional information and tips for success were the emphasis on brand values or brand ideals and engaging with the employees themselves at the company before the customers.
- Shanghai Tang
- Procter and Gamble
- AirAsia Group
- The Jim Stengel Company