It is vital that companies narrow their focus if they want to become market leaders, branding and positioning guru Al Ries said at the 15th CIM Annual Conference, held at the BMICH.
The Conference saw lively discussion and engagement from participants, which included representatives of Sri Lanka’s top corporates.
Keynote speaker Al Ries drew from his extensive experience consulting with top corporations around the world in the first session “Positioning Brands in the Digital Era”. In many cases, companies attempted to cater to all segments rather than focusing on one key specialisation, Ries said. He illustrated his session with many practical examples of companies such as Marlboro and BMW, who managed to increase their profits and forge ahead by narrowing their focus.
Moving one step further, Ries’ second session “How to future proof your brand” enlightened participants of the importance of prioritising category over product. Companies looking to break into a new product category should launch them under a new brand to prevent dilution, he explained.
The panel discussion which followed saw lively debate and brought in practical aspects from a Sri Lankan point of view. The panelists included former Chairman - Unilever Sri Lanka and Director of John Keells Holdings PLC Amal Cabraal, Chairman - Hemas Holdings Husein Esufally, Chairman - Jetwing Hotels Hiran Cooray, Al and Laura Ries. Each panelist weighed in on how they had “future-proofed” their own brands, propelling them towards success.
The visual aspect of marketing communications is as vital as the written, Al Ries’ daughter Laura explained in the session “Building a Brand with a Visual Hammer & Virtual Nail,” using many practical examples.
The final session “Positioning Strategies in a Crowded Consumer Mind” was an interesting insight into the concept of positioning.
Positioning was incidentally first introduced by Al Ries and Jack Trout in a series of articles which took the ad world by storm. The concept was voted by AdAge as one of the most important advertising ideas of the past 75 years.
Brands need to own a word in the mind of the consumer in order to become a leader – and this is the true essence of positioning, Laura explained in her talk. In this sense, positioning looks at the mind of the prospect rather than the product.
This concept was discussed further in the panel discussion, “Creating a Sri Lankan brand”.
Conference Chairman and Vice Chairman of the CIM Annual Conference Brian Selvanayagam thanked the strategic partner Sri Lanka Telecom PLC for their unwavering support over the 15 years to the CIM Annual Conference. “It was great to give everyone the opportunity to listen to Al and Laura Ries share their expertise. It has been a lively and engaging session and I’d like to thank everyone, especially the corporate sponsors, who helped make this event a success.”
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