How long does it take to summarize two hundred years of a nation’s history? Ans: Exactly 181 seconds! This is the way Argentina is celebrating its bicentennial. The story of the nation is being told through a 181-second story of the county’s most loved and strongest brands. With the help of each brand, a tale is woven around the growth and development of the nation and the brand – for these brands are no ordinary brands; their makers didn’t just believe in earning profits but in earning pride for their nation. One 181-second story is on Quilmes beer. It traces the history of how the brewery was set up, which slowly changed the fortunes and lifestyles of the people of that area. As the nation prospered, so did Quilmes. When T.V. came to the country, Quilmes became the first advertiser. Then one day, Quilmes picked up its local soccer team, backed it with sponsorship, enthusiastically supported it through the years, while the team went ahead and started playing for the nation and one day got Argentinaits fi rst World Cup.

30 such local brands are being showcased to celebrate Argentina’s 200 years. This goes on to show that brands are today symbols of our society and brand builders are even society builders. Brands have a symbolic power and some of them have so deeply ingrained themselves into our culture, that they even give consumers a way to identify themselves – I am who I am partly because of the brands I use.

Turn your brand into a ‘host’ brand
If your brand can become a part of the local culture and sneak into popular conversation, you have won the loyalty of your consumers. In my previous write-up, I mentioned how interesting ‘brand stories’ make the brand more endearing and popular than just plain facts about its various attributes. Well, the best brand stories are those that are in sync with the culture of the country. The brand that understands the cultural sensibilities of its consumers always has the upper hand. As Julien and Eric remarked in their study on branding, marketers must view branding as a “culturally malleable” mode of communication.

The FIFA World cup fever is on as everybody from Timbuktu to Tamil Nadu, from Beijing to Bhubaneswar will be engrossed in this mega event. Sab Miller, the South African beer brand, did not waste this opportunity to connect with people. It may not be the ‘offi cial beer’ of FIFA, but it found a way using its culture knowledge. “Bula Boot” is one such typically African concept. It’s all about spontaneously having a party from the ‘boot’ of your car, usually near a sports match, or music concert. SAB Miller distributed many Bula Boot kits. 100 teams of tow people went around the various football venues with South African fl ags, chairs and the beer to, well, Bula Boot. It sure booted out the offi -cial sponsor of FIFA, Budweiser, out of everyone’s mind. SAB used its cultural heritage brilliantly to gain the upper hand. Today, it’s extremely important to stay culturally relevant. The American T.V. channel Telemundo, which broadcasts in Spanish, went ahead and got research done to understand the Latin community better and to fi nd out what they identifi ed with, demanded and wanted. Gone are the days when just demographic studies were enough. This time, the research studied cultural infl uences, sexual preferences, and other such issues. They uncovered a spectrum of rich identities, which were overlooked earlier by marketers. On the basis of this, Telemundo can and will create newer, more relevant T.V. programmes – and of course, keep its lead vis-à-vis other T.V. Channels.     Read More....

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