Thursday, July 21, 2011

July events in London with IMD President Dominique Turpin

Dominique Turpin, IMD President and the Nestlé Professor of Marketing visited London between July 6th and 8th 2011. In addition to individual meetings with high profile business leaders as well as several journalists, we also organized a series of well received roundtables and events.

On the evening of July 6th, we held a business forum hosted by CMS Cameron McKenna on the topic of “Building and Managing Global Brands”.
CMS managing partner Duncan Weston welcomed the more than 60 participants and talked about CMS’s partnership with IMD. UK Director Lynn Verdina-Henchoz warmly thanked the hosts and introduced Dominique Turpin and the subject of the evening’s presentation. She mentioned that corporations are increasingly competing for attention in order to attract investments and talent as well as to develop a positive image for their products and services. Quality is no longer enough. Businesses and investors recognize brands as one of a company’s most valuable assets and the marketing battle is increasingly becoming a brand battle.

To illustrate the importance of brands and their value to a business’ bottom line, Dominique started his presentation by relating a story: a top company is going to be attacked by terrorists – what could be the worst scenario in terms of time, money and effort to restore business? The kidnapping of the top management team? The bombing of production factories? or the destruction of one of their top brands? The leader of the company confirmed the latter would have the most impact.

Indeed, differentiation is key and a brand needs to be instantly recognizable. A strong brand depicts a relationship with the customer which results in trust and the ultimate test for a passion brand is when people tattoo it on their bodies! Dominique presented many examples of brands, including some from Asia and South America.

He then went on to present his seven building blocks of a successful global brand strategy, including establishing a clear identity for the brand in terms of its character, values and purpose. One of the dilemmas is the need to be both consistent over time and innovative. Consistency is mainly a question of how a company communicates with its consumers and a key point to take into consideration is that your brand is not necessarily what you say you are, but what your customers and your own people think you are!

Finally Dominique talked about the management of a global brand portfolio. Having several brands can sometimes help to overcome the challenges of market positioning and therefore being more able to serve several strategies. He gave the examples of the Volkswagen Group who has brands such as Bentley, Audi, VW and Skoda, all serving different segments in terms of price and perceived value. Or the Swatch group with brands such as Omega, Blancpain and Swatch. The key here is to clearly differentiate brands with distinctive value propositions for each customer segment and manage the business system consistently.

The discussion was interactive and participants asked many interesting questions. The evening ended with pleasant cocktails and more networking.

At lunchtime on July 7th, a group of Senior HR and Learning & Development directors joined us for an open discussion about the future of learning and development and in particular executive education. This HR roundtable was kindly hosted by Vodafone in their new Learning centre.
The past two years, with their economic, political and environmental crises and challenges, have profoundly affected and changed the world. Across geographies, the political and business landscape is being transformed. What does this mean for organisations and their leaders? How does L &D fit into this picture? IMD (Dominique Turpin and Lynn Verdina-Henchoz) provided a global context and reported some of the trends, challenges and opportunities they saw ahead. The discussion then opened up to an interactive session.

On the evening of July 7th, the UK Alumni party held their summer party in the President’s room at Queen’s club – a beautiful setting! Participants were able to have drinks outside on the balcony overlooking the tennis courts where Andy Murray recently won the title, before having a very nice dinner. Club president Harry Mann went through the AGM and also talked about upcoming events, including an exciting conference with HSBC’s CEO in November. Dominique Turpin also said a few words, in particular on the results and activities of IMD, both past and present. Networking and pleasant discussions went on until quite late in the evening.

At lunchtime on July 8th, we held a Marketing Roundtable, hosted by British American Tobacco in one of their wonderful reception rooms overlooking the river Thames! Dominique again led a discussion on the Building and Management of Global brands. The audience this time was Marketing and Business Development executives, which meant for a lively discussion on the subject!
This event ended a very busy and (judging the comments received in the following days!) successful three days. “I really enjoyed the HR round table – in terms of the content and opportunity to meet some like minded professionals”, “I found the event on Branding very relevant and inspiring!”, “Another excellent IMD event”.

See Dominique Turpin's presentation

See Dominique Turpin's HR Roundtable presentation

FT - Interview Dominique Turpin - July 18

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