Catalina Rousseau, Director Superbrands Romania, President & CEO, BDR Associates Communication Group talks to BR about what 10 years of Superbrands has meant to the industry.
What does 10 years of Superbrands mean for the brands and the Romanian profile market?
This longevity is a confirmation of the performance in business thanks to brand culture, especially for the brands which were placed, some of them year by year, in the top of consumers’ preferences and were constantly awarded this status. This consolidated their market reputation through quality, differentiation, through the trust gained in the long-term, enhancing the value of a product, service or company though reputation and consumer loyalty. A positioning of local brands with a Superbrand status within the international Superbrands family, which we find outspread over more than 25 years, in over 80 markets on 5 continents and expanded in the recent past, in strong emerging African markets. For a decade, the Superbrands programs in Romania has created a solid ground for building the reputation of local and international brands in the local market, with strategic creativity as a differentiator.
The Superbrands programs supported the shaping of some elites which became role-models in the further development of branding culture. This is also the mission of the Superbrands books ─ to tell the story of the leaders in branding and their flawless evolution in a market or another, thus influencing the development of the businesses and the market as a whole. Yet, two other key components are worthy to be mentioned regarding Superbrands’ mission: the programs unfolded in Romania have continuously contributed to the development of the communication industry, by creating new opportunities and trends for agencies and other professionals, from marketing and up to profile media. Furthermore, through international affiliation and exposure, as well as through the communication in the local business environment, the Superbrands programs concretely impacted the image of the Romanian market, depicting it as a mature, trust-worthy and investment-worthy environment.
How did the Romanian understanding of the brand concept evolve during the 10 years of Superbrands?
The understanding has evolved and consolidated throughout time, becoming a selection criterion for the consumer, in an extremely diverse market as the one we have today. The market research we have carried out for each Superbrands edition, in partnership with professionals from IMAS, Nielsen and IPSOS, scientifically confirmed this increasing knowledge, as well as a gradual increase of the exigency shown by the Romanian consumer, who expects quality and promises kept, while being influenced to a great extent by some public negative developments involving one brand or another. Our research reported, in some cases, the failure of some brands in keeping their top place amongst Romanian consumers’ preferences, thus leaving the Top 15 Superbrands, or, even worse, completely being left outside of the ranking. Furthermore, there were, and still are, in certain industries such as automotive or banking, to name just two, brands which, despite the remarkable investment made in image campaigns, were never able to gain their eligibility as a Superbrand. This means that, no matter how detailed their marketing and communication strategy was, there was no connection between it and the consumers, the market, the expectations or mentalities.
Which were the most significant changes you have noticed in this respect during the ten years of Superbrands?
Aside from the evolutions or involutions named above, we were happy to notice brands’ special interest in maintaining their Romanian Superbrand status. There were some surprising situations for some brands, as the results at the end stage of the Superbrands’ research were different from their own market research, conducted with a focus on their target audience. This was certainly food for thought! A decade of Superbrands allowed us to watch the evolution and the progress of the market under all economic and business aspects, not only from a branding culture perspective. Also, a group of branding professionals was created, placing them as leaders in the companies they work for. Branding surpassed the borders of creativity, becoming science, influencing not only companies’ success, but defining lifestyles and placing professional elites in the spotlight. All these attributes lead to valuing reputation and content-rich image, giving Romania, the eternal Cinderella, a huge image capital across the world.