Giving is the ultimate luxury: Wally Olins at IE

Written on July 11, 2007 by Margarita Alonso in Uncategorized

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Olga Slavkina, Wally Olins, Max Oliva, Juan Pablo Ramirez and Jacob Benbunan
(photo Irene Medina)

Some time ago Olga Slavkina (IMBA 07) was told that if she wanted to know something about brands she should read “On Brand” Wally Olins latest book. Outspoken and abrasive, he is the Chairman of Saffron and one of the most claimed authorities in branding.
Now, while involved in her MBA, she had the great idea of sending Wally an e-mail asking him to be the first guest of the Funky Business club. The following day she received an answer from Wally himself accepting the invitation.

This is how students, alumni and many others could enjoy a great conference about the fast evolution that branding is suffering nowadays.

Photo Irene Medina
Wally pointed out the fast evolution of brand concept. Traditionally consumers bought brands because they meant a relationship between a certain quality and a certain price but nowadays, no matter what companies want to sell, consumers are claming for something else.
They are not interested in the rational factors any more. Now they want to know how brands are going to help. “Giving is the ultimate luxury” “Giving is the new buying” One clear example is the American Express red card. “Ten years, five years ago it would have not been possible”.
Many Marketing Directors have realized this already and are launching costly campaigns full of good willing messages but wide of meaning or action. The buyers give but nothing happens. Wally is categorical “If you say you are doing what you are not doing, shut up for a while and wait until you can do it”. All of us want to feel a bit like Mr. Schmidt.
He called our attention about the low profile performance of most NGOs. Too often managed by amateurs, they are not conscious about the importance of building their brand yet. Some outstanding execptions are WWF, Medicins sans frontieres or the Red Cross.
He also discussed about the difficulties of branding a city or a country. “Madrid, for example, is a city that moves very fast, great infrastructures, it is the image of the Spain´s fast evolution, but Barcelona has the glamour.”
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Everybody was captured by Wally´s speech! (photos Irene Medina)


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