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- one of Ausfralia's leading human communication and employee branding groups. You can contact Karl via

Karl Treacher is the CEO of Branti Behaviour

Brand rehah Karl Treacher reveals some lessons to be learned from the top 100 global brands and their performance in 2009.

ver been kicked in the mouth by a horse? How about belted in the face by a wa1'ward hockey stick? Kissed on the cheek by an old man with

toilet breath? Whatever level of pain and discomfort you and your brand have suffered over the past 12 to 18 months, the general consensus is that the stitches are dissolving and very soon you will be abie to eat solids again. In fact before long, if you do the work, you maybe asked back to open the Bette Midler hour once again at your local karaoke lounge. To aid the rehab process, we are taking a good look at the brands that performed well over the past year and identif ing some sound learnings that can be applied to most brands.

In addition, I have some hypotheses about what could be needed for a speedy brand recovery as we all climb our way through 2010.

WHAT BRANDS DID WELL, HOW AND WHY? Each year Interbrand publishes a'Best 100

Global Brands' report. The value of this report is substantial. Not only does it help reinforce

it also helps all brands point in the right direction, borrow strategy from one another and get a good look at what was, and what will probably be, in the year ahead.

best practice,


For us it provides evidence that the brands directing strategy toward customers' needs get ahead and stay ahead. Let's investigate some of the standout, big-moving, 'what recession?' brands of 2009, and how they used their understanding of, and strategy toward, humanity to weather the GFC.




56 IN 2OO8 TO 48 IN


what did Heinz do to grow almost 10 percent in value during a financial crisis? Simple, it took stock of what an economic downturn meant to families, in accordance with its customer-centric health and wellness model. Heinz understood that more people would be eating at home in 2009 and, as such, invested in making its products healthier and more So

convenient. 2010 TIP #1 \Atrile we will continue to see signs of recovery in most markets, unemployment continues to be a real issue, and interest rate hikes will mean that a large segment of the population (particularly first home buyers) will remain restricted in behaviour by tight budgets. People in general will continue spending greater amounts of time in their homes.

C( In 2010 optimism will be the order of the day.)) FROM NUMBER 58 IN 2OO8 TO 2009 - AMAZON



In 2009 Amazon made significant improvements to its already user-friendly offering and site. Seeds have been planted to begin the sale of ebooks for iPhone and iPod Touch in 2010. This relentless focus on improving the customer's life experience saw Amazon's brand value move 22 percent in the past 12 months.



Spend on the things that are the essence


your brand. For the overwhelming majority of brands, now isn t the time for diversification. As the general population scales begin to swing in favour of humans looking for life experiences rather than material acquisitions, improving the erperience people have with your brand will for the moment keep you in good stead.

FROM NUMBER 39 IN 2OO8 TO 34 IN 2OO9 _ KELLOGG'S Last year saw Kellogg's go wiid. For me, this is the global brand of excellence over the past 12

www. m a rket in



months. Not only did Kellogg's make several very intelligent strategic acquisitions, further strengthening its ever-growing position as the world's leading producer of cereal, it built a chunk of brand equity through promoting its partnership with Feeding America, the largest food bank network in the US. Let's face it, in 2009 that affiliation alone provided a great brand affinity opportunity. 2010 TIP #3

Align your brand endorsement rvith charities in a way that is meaningful, logical and emotionally relevant. If you make printers, don't spend all your dollars during a recession sponsoring a car race on the Gold Coast. Perhaps

think a little more along the lines of investing in providing product to struggling schools and community groups. In 2010 optimism will

suffer in a financial downturn (think flying to Anaheim, spending a packet on rides and hot dogs) ... but it didn't. Disney's dedication to sharing'fun'seeped into our psyche despite things falling down around us. 2OIOTTP #4

Enabling people to escape and feel joy will never go out of fashion. In 2009 Disney recognised that foot traffic would decrease, so it embarked on some exciting new online formats that allowed more people to run the hell away from their problems for a minute and smile again. Good examples of this were the positively focused Pixar production Up and the soon to be released Toy Story 3. Ifyou can elicit a positive emotional experience in the people who buy your brand, they will thank you for it and buy more.

be the order of the day. Helping people feel

that they are getting back in control will plant brand equity seeds that will flower for many years

to come.


tN 2009



Despite officially losing one percent in brand value, Disney remains a terrific example to all of us. Disney is an off- and online entertainment company, and one that you'd expect to

FROM NUMBER ONE IN 2OO8 TO - COKE \\4rile I personally haven't had much respect

oNE tN 2009

for some of Coke's environmental practices, Coke has in 2009 reinforced itself and position through its campaign around'Open Happiness', which clearly supports a positive outlook in a tough time. In addition, it has made a legitimate effort to help the environment by developing an eco-friendly bottle that will help

the ever-increasing problem of plastic bottles in the ocean, drains and landfill. 2010 TIP #5 \Vhile sustainability succumbed to in-rmediat: financial needs in 2009, expect green thinking to return in 2010 in force. Climate change is entering the consciousness of more peopk every day and when people can again altord to make decisions based not only on persona. value, but personal values, the brands rtith th;

light, small footprints will again rise up. ( For the record, I am in no way 5ugqesLirthat Coke is an environmentally-friendlr' bran;. but I am seriously hoping it ends up that rta'"'.

This year will be a very interesting one in iiworld of branding. Some brands will recole: quickly and some will struggle to dust the nselves off and get moving. The next 12 mon-::.

will require a sustained effort and a highlrintelligent approach due to the extreme s\\ iir=: in sector psyche. If the lessons from the big brands are anything to go by: stay tuned, spr.. positively, get into the homes of your custo:lers and mean what you say. Oh yeah, and if you are not looking to reduce your brand's impact on the environment, then prepare yourself and your stafl to be recognised as the new Philip Morris. M


Brand Rehab  

Brand expert Karl Treacher reveals some lessons to be learned from top global brands and their performance in 2009, and explains why optimis...

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