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EXHIBITING- March 2011 the mask of brandingmarketing focusRichard Johnwants to know how you will captureconsumers who are now looking beyond the logo whenchoosing brands.Procter and Gamble (P&G), oneof the world's biggest spenderson advertising has, you mayhave noticed, changed its advertisingstrategy. It has started highlighting itscredentials rather than emphasisingbrands from within its stable, such asPampers and Pringles.Now, where a company like P&Glead, others will follow. In 2009 thebusiness behemoth spent just under£180m on advertising in the UKalone. It was just ahead of theCentral Office of Information(although that gap is going towiden dramatically). Worldwide,P&G's advertising spend was £5.5bn.Is this significant? You bet! Thestrategy is designed to win overpeople interested in the companybehind the brands; a touch of the"BPs in reverse" if you like. Aspokesman said: "Now is a goodtime to do corporate brandingbecause people are more concernedabout where brands come from, whois behind them and if the company isan upstanding one".Of course, part of this change instrategy will be because P&G is a2012 Olympic sponsor, but thecompany has always had a topnotch reputation for being ahead ofthe curve when it comes to research.Following suitArla Foods, owners of brandsincluding Anchor, Cravendale andLurpack, has also confirmed it'll beembarking on corporate brand-building campaigns. Unilever, whoseReveal yourself:slogans and advertising aren't enough to attract consumercuriosity anymore

portfolio includes Dove, Flora andLynx, has started to add its logo to its major brand promotionalmessages. A Unilever spokesperson explainedits research suggested "people whoalready buy one of our productswould buy others if they realised theycame from the same maker".In marketing terms, it's aconsequence of what's known as"homogenisation", where productsbecome relatively indistinguishable. The only thing that can differentiatethem becomes their respectivebrands, logos and histories.Take these three cars: the AudiA4, the VW Passat and the Skoda Octavia. If you're in the dark, they feel identical it'sbecause, well, they kind of are.They are coming down the sameproduction lines and essentiallymade by the same people.The differences are minorequipment finishes, seat materialsmain employer in a region? Are you accredited to anything, orsecured the lauded Investors inPeople status as a good employer?Do you have a massive list oftestimonials that can be shared?In short, if I was thinking ofworking with you, would I bepleased or ashamed to be one ofyour clients?Make historyIf any of this has you pursing yourlips and scratching your head with a sigh, worry not; you canchoose to create a history. That maysound dishonest, but if you do itcarefully or with an element of fun, itisn't really the German digestifJagermeister cultivated the story thatthe drink contained deer blood andopiates (it doesn't, but sales soared).The famous "Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster!" headline was acreation of the active mind ofpublicist Max Clifford. And thinkabout a certain, now famous,meercat who has revolutionised thedull word of car insurance.It's also worth remembering thatmaterials used on your stand canalso help you communicate the rightbrand messages. Furniture could be classically old to represent status or heritage,or achingly modern (to represent hipor trendy).An old fashioned TV on your standcould show a PowerPointpresentation and give the impressionof being retro and funky. Or simplyput up all your corporate awards to give the impression of a surgery that conveys yourcorporate knowledge and wisdom.The exhibition environment is anunbeatable opportunity to bring yourbrand values to life. Don't wastethem, they really matter.Richard John is the MD of RJA (GB) and can be contacted via thedeputy editor.18marketing March 2011 -EXHIBITINGand colours. Oh, and of course thelogos on the front that reflect theirvery different heritages, brandpositioning and customer response.Get some answersSo what does that mean for you?Well, you may like to think abouthow you can show a bit of the'personality' behind your company.Forget your products and servicesfor a minute and think about storiesyou can share.Which of your employees are alsoindustry celebrities? What is thecompany history? Has yourcompany given something to thelocal community, or become the"Forget about yourproducts for aminute and thinkabout stories youcan share"Try to get your audience hanging on your every word