Guest Lecture by Interbrand

Marketing Operations | July 19th, 2017

Destination Branding | Interbrand

Guido van Garderen (Strategy Director)

Guido van Garderen, strategy director of Interbrand, a global brand consultancy, has gained a lot of intercultural branding experience in the past years. In the third guest lecture within the marketing operations course, he has provided students with a lot of insights in every day arising issues that a consultant has to deal with.

The interactive presentation started with the question „What is a brand?“. Van Garderen stated that people tend to struggle with answering this question although everybody actually knows what a brand is. This difficulty comes from the evolution of the term brand – the definition of a brand has changed over time. It is not only a logo, neither just marketing. According to Interbrand, a brand is the core strategy of a product or a company; it is what you want to stand for and the values you want to share.

Therefore, van Garderen suggests people who want to build a brand to first define the promise they want to deliver, then to implement what they stand for and to finally talk about its benefits, characteristics and actions. Besides, it is crucial to differentiate the created brand from other brands and players and to care about a consistent appearance.

As Guido van Garderen is responsible for nation branding, he presented some examples of different national brand positioning strategies. He explained that a country can generate brand associations in four categories, i.e. tourism, exports, people and culture, and business climate. Some cities or countries have managed to generate awareness by just implementing an attraction, meaning they became active, instead of running a communication campaign to promote their features. A shining example is Dubai: They are simply spreading luxury all over their attractions as a recognition value.

Finally, the guest lecture provided an overview about brand architecture. By means of an appropriate brand architecture, an organization can arrange order and orientation for customers among many existing brands. Additionally, a downsizing of different brands can lead to cost savings.

The key take-aways that Guido van Garderen has submitted to the audience are as follows:

  • A brand is not only a logo, you have to act in the brand’s manner and talk about it.
  • Better decide for one brand that is able to represent your whole economy.
  • Form a unit among all stakeholders to improve performance.

The interactive presentation was complemented by a question of Dr. Sebastian Tillmanns on how to measure the effectiveness of a new branding strategy. Guido van Garderen recommended to regularly control for what has stayed in the consumers’ mind in order to measure brand strength. In summary, the guest lecture allowed the audience to broaden their mind about the development of a brand in general and the strategic approach of an international brand consultancy.