The brand identity of enterprises and products has always contributed to the dominant position and sustainable development of enterprises in the competitive market. In branding, business leaders need to develop a logical thinking and synchronised management strategies.
Mr. Bui Quy Phong – General Director of Asia Branding Promotion Company Limited, Member of the Executive Board of Vietnam Association of Corporate Directors, Vice President of Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Association (operating under VACD) has shared his opinions with TheLEADER on this issue.
A branding campaign must be conducted “top-down and inside-out”
In your opinion, apart from management skills, are sales and marketing two huge challenges to Vietnamese business leaders nowadays?
In many years of being a consultant for enterprises, I regard misunderstanding branding for advertising as the most horrible mistake that enterprises have made. Even experts or leaders of huge enterprises still keep that thought.
In fact, this is an incomplete perception, which may lead to many mistakes in branding in the long run. To successfully create a brand identity for enterprises and products, this definition should be correctly perceived.
Branding is not just a logo, marketing practice or a PR strategy. Essentially, branding is the reputation of the enterprise and the relationships it creates with other subjects. For example, internal relationships include ones among departments, ones between shareholders and companies, ones between companies and partners,…; external relationships include ones between enterprises and customers.
From that perspective, creating a brand identity based on only advertising is not enough, because advertising is just the glossy covering to impress customers. Meanwhile, the essence of branding is bolstering business confidence and reputation. To achieve that goal, we must clearly identify the motivation and corporate social responsibility (CSR) of the enterprise. Its business strategy should be its branding one or vice versa.
Could you please suggest some ways to promote the image of enterprises aiming at sustainable development in the context of seamless economic integration nowadays?
Nowadays, the advancement of the Internet and digital technology has shifted the human kind to a totally new era: the era of connections. Individuals now can have their own media vehicles, which drastically change the definitions of market or consumers. The branding method based on advertising has failed to produce the desired effect.
Therefore, branding should be conducted “top-down and inside-out”, not only for products but also for enterprises. This can be achieved by establishing a cultural sphere among the internal staff and identifying the mission of the enterprise to the market and society. Only when the corporate culture is created can the thinking of employees be improved, which influences the producing process and enhances the corporate reputation.
Advertising is certainly necessary, but it should follow branding. The essence of branding also includes the management factor, so actually, branding closely resembles corporate management rather than advertising. If business leaders do not have an accurate perception of branding or detailed branding strategies, the success will only be a distant dream.
A rotten motivation directly leads to PR crises
Nowadays, PR crises have threatened numerous enterprises, or even brought them to the brink of bankruptcy, which shows that crisis management capacity of enterprises is still limited. To your mind, what are the reasons and could you please suggest some solutions?
PR crises originate from a rotten motivation of enterprises. If they only focus on earning profits in a short period, regardless of the community benefits, a crisis is only a predictable consequence.
Nothing can survive alone. If enterprises want to flourish in the society, they should contribute to the development of the community.
The best way for enterprises to avoid a crisis is to know their corporate social responsibility. They do not necessarily have to work as a charity; fulfilling their social responsibility in their ecosystem is enough. A positive motivation will diminish crisis risks.
Business leaders should shape and nurture the corporate culture by codes of conduct, predict crisis risks, and develop professional methods to cope with crises right from the beginning. Crisis management is similar to fire-fighting: if we stay alert to a spark, we can avoid a raging inferno which destroys all our properties and reputation.
Another thing to mention is business leaders should pay attention to cultivating their business confidence, which also benefits the branches and quickly restores the trust of partners and customers in the event of a crisis.
From the perspective of a Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, what is “effective” management?
Nowadays, the opinion of “win-win” has lost its ability in creating a pioneering advantage because of its narrow vision which focuses on interim profits and carries grave risks. I think the “win-win-win” thinking should be adopted, which means benefits for the enterprises themselves, for their partners, and for the society. Additionally, corporate management should be brand-oriented. These two factors will guarantee the lasting prosperity of enterprises.
Thank you very much!