Telum Talks To... Ferdaus Amzah, Founder, Neu Entity
Telum caught up with Ferdaus Amzah, Founder of Neu Entity, a branding agency based in Singapore, as he shares how branding can be critical to the success of a business and sheds light on some branding principles that businesses can learn from.
How different is it to public relations and why is it important for any business or organisation?
Branding is an ongoing process of crafting a perception, a gut feeling, and an idea about a product, organisation, person or company. I consider public relations as one of the activities within branding itself. It is important because you have the opportunity to build your brand in a way that you want to be perceived, and for an audience that you want too. If you deny yourself this capability, your brand will be left to chance - and this will definitely impact your business and goals.
How can businesses find and develop the personality of their brand?
Identify your audience and understand how they sound and how their personality is like. The best brands can mirror their audience very well - remember that people buy from people they like. There's also the element of self-awareness. A brand that knows itself will come off as authentic and will make communications second nature and fast - which is much-needed in this age of social media.
What are your thoughts on brands using the COVID-19 crisis to reposition themselves?
All of us are in survival mode. There are opportunities for us to pivot rapidly and this may mean that we sacrifice some of the branding we've worked so hard to build. However, I think this is the time to look deep into the brand values, pillars and what they say about us. We should behave in accordance to our core values, even though a vast majority of the business model changes.
Can you share some branding principles you’ve seen in action throughout this crisis that businesses can learn from?
Brands such as Coca-Cola, McDonald's and many more are doing ads that spreads the message of ‘social distancing’ in their logos e.g. the split golden arches. It reflects that the most unshakeable symbol of a brand - the logo, can change at a moment of crisis to show solidarity. Grab launched Grab Care to ferry healthcare workers for free in a time when people seem to be afraid that they may carry the contagion. Here, we see a brand rising above and beyond in a show of human spirit.
We also see massive pivots in some other brands e.g. Singapore Airlines sending cabin crew to help in care-giving at the front lines, Lamborghini making face masks, Dyson making ventilators and Straits Kitchen at Grand Hyatt doing takeout delivery. It shows that they care enough to sacrifice a lot of their positioning and perception to do something that either help with the world's pandemic demands or to keep their staff employed.
The pandemic has inevitably changed our lives in many ways but from a marketer’s standpoint do you see opportunities rising amidst the gloom and doom?
Marketing leverages on unity in humanity. Knowing that people will remember those who rise above from a human spirit perspective, especially during a crisis. This is the time to give value. Note though, that everyone will be in the mode of giving value, so even that has to stand out. Nevertheless, it's certainly a challenge for all of us, and we have to adapt with the times.