HT Image
HT Image

Who is the brand’s custodian?

A decade back, depending on which advertising agency you were working with, the brand custodianship as a responsibility was defined by the agency’s philosophy. Anita Sharan tells us more.
By Anita Sharan | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON APR 10, 2008 11:21 PM IST

Madhukar Sabnavis, country head – planning and discovery, Ogilvy & Mather India, says, “The marketing director or the marketing head is the brand’s custodian.”

MG Parameswaran, executive director, Draft-FCB-Ulka, says, “The CEO of the company that owns the brand, is the brand’s custodian.” Lynn D’Souza, head, Lintas Media Group, says, “The brand manager is the brand’s custodian.”

Jagdeep Bakshi, head honcho at Contract Advertising, says, “The power of brand custodianship vests in whoever knows the brand best.” Josy Paul, head of BBDO India, says, “The consumer is the brand’s custodian.”

A decade back, depending on which advertising agency you were working with, the brand custodianship as a responsibility was defined by the agency’s philosophy. As Bakshi explains, “Around 15 years ago, to get more upstream client work, advertising agencies developed this concept of brand custodianship – Ogilvy & Mather – or brand stewardship – JWT. The agency decided to nominate one person on its rolls without whom nothing would happen – the account planner, whose understanding and knowledge of the brand and its consumer connect would be extensive.”

Looks like ad folks still differ on who the brand’s custodian actually is. Sabnavis insists, “The fixed custodian of the brand is the client. The agency is seen as a partner that provides ideas that are communication solutions. If the client moves to another agency, the custodianship moves with the brand.” He adds, however, that the learning curve with a new agency takes time so a client wouldn’t just shift agencies easily.

D’Souza states firmly, “Account planners in media and advertising agencies are trying to take away the brand manager’s job. The brand manager is the ring leader in a distributed leadership. The agency provides the reach and touch. Ultimately, though, the consumer is the owner of the brand.”

Bakshi says the brand custodian is the person who is usually given the authority because he knows the brand and the consumer best. “The client – the process owner – has to accord this authority. Custodianship is not ownership.”

Parameswaran insists that the steady state initiatives for the brand – what it stands for in its long term strategy – rests with the CEO. The fortunes of a company can swing with its brand’s. “Iconic brands today are almost all handled by CEOs. At companies such as ICICI, TCS, Amul, CEOs are involved in brand decisions.”

Paul is emphatic in saying, “When a brand evolves to reach iconic status, the consumer becomes its custodian. Till then, the client is the custodian. Nike and Apple today are in their consumers’ custody – the consumers take charge of the brand ideology and control its meaning.” The consumer lives, supports and acts the ideology, he adds, therefore owning the brand’s uniqueness – a powerful belief, a consistent behaviour. “The role of the marketer and the ad agency is to provide convincing brand thought. The ad agency is merely a catalyst.”

On brand ideology, he says, “Take Gandhi, Martin Luther King – both very powerful brands. They offered something unique, relevant, meaningful and what their ‘consumers’ were waiting for, in their ideologies. It’s a response. You sense it because its also inside you. The brand owners’ responsibility is to provide clean, simple ideologies.”

So do we have a hung jury on brand custodianship? That would be a silly conclusion. However, it may be sensible for both agencies and advertisers to acknowledge that ultimately, they have to let go of the brand to the consumer. Bakshi has a unique analogy: the client looks at the bluebird he owns with binoculars, while showing it to the agency guy who has no binoculars. The client sees nothing but the bird, the agency sees the surroundings along with the bird. If both client and agency accept that the brand’s custodianship finally rests with the consumer, it could just create that critical distance to be able to work on the brand objectively, but with all of the specialist’s passion.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Payrolls jumped by 379,000 last month, which was almost double expectations and pushed the unemployment rate down slightly to 6.2 percent, the Labor Department reported.(AFP file photo. Representative image)
Payrolls jumped by 379,000 last month, which was almost double expectations and pushed the unemployment rate down slightly to 6.2 percent, the Labor Department reported.(AFP file photo. Representative image)

Covid rescue plan clears hurdle as US economy shows gains

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | AFP
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 02:26 PM IST
Negotiations in the evenly divided Senate had frozen the chamber's action for some nine hours before the Democrats reached agreement with moderate Senator Joe Manchin, who had balked at the scale of the benefits.
Close
It was under his leadership that Muthoot Finance reached heights and also became the first NBFC to enter the ' <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>1000 crore net profit club'.(Muthoot Group)
It was under his leadership that Muthoot Finance reached heights and also became the first NBFC to enter the ' 1000 crore net profit club'.(Muthoot Group)

Muthoot Group chairman MG George passes away: All you need to know

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Deepali Sharma
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 11:24 AM IST
Notably, George was one of the six people from the Malayalee background to have entered the Forbes Magazine's Rich list of 2020.
Close
The central bank in April had announced the government will issue Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGBs), part of the central government’s market-borrowing programme, in six tranches beginning April 20 till September.(Reuters)
The central bank in April had announced the government will issue Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGBs), part of the central government’s market-borrowing programme, in six tranches beginning April 20 till September.(Reuters)

A weak week for gold: Here's how the bullion fared

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Deepali Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 11:17 AM IST
The continuous fall in the prices of gold allured Indian consumers to purchase more gold in physical form.
Close
In response to another question, Sitharaman said it was for the federal tax body, the GST Council, to take up this issue when it sees fit.
In response to another question, Sitharaman said it was for the federal tax body, the GST Council, to take up this issue when it sees fit.

Centre, states need to discuss fuel taxes, says Sitharaman

By Gireesh Chandra Prasad, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 02:15 AM IST
  • In an interaction with members of the Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC), Sitharaman said that consumer sentiment about the tax burden on auto fuel was understandable.
Close
The Mukesh Ambani-led company expects to vaccinate around 900,000 people, including family members of employees, the company said.(Reuters representative image)
The Mukesh Ambani-led company expects to vaccinate around 900,000 people, including family members of employees, the company said.(Reuters representative image)

Reliance to bear the cost of covid shots for its staff

By Kalpana Pathak, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 02:10 AM IST
  • Nearly 1.1 million vaccine doses were administered to people above the age of 60 and those in the 45-59 age group till Thursday.
Close
The Survey said a major challenge most firms face is the complex architecture of the governance framework, including the density of legislation and statutory compliances.(MINT_PRINT)
The Survey said a major challenge most firms face is the complex architecture of the governance framework, including the density of legislation and statutory compliances.(MINT_PRINT)

Govt plans to scrap 6,000 compliances

By Asit Ranjan Mishra, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 02:04 AM IST
  • Mohapatra said the idea came during Modi’s meeting with Marriott International president and chief executive Arne Sorenson, who complained about the complex regulations in starting and running a hotel in India.
Close
Flush with liquidity and in tandem with Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) repo rate cuts since March last year, banks have been lowering their lending rates.(Hemant Mishra/ Mint file photo)
Flush with liquidity and in tandem with Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) repo rate cuts since March last year, banks have been lowering their lending rates.(Hemant Mishra/ Mint file photo)

ICICI cuts home loan rates to a decadal low

By Shayan Ghosh, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 02:00 AM IST
  • ICICI Bank’s move comes days after rival lenders such as State Bank of India (SBI), Kotak Mahindra Bank and Housing Development Finance Corp. Ltd cut their home loan rates.
Close
Index funds and ETFs (exchange traded funds), which are passive in nature, will also be required to vote.(PTI File Photo)
Index funds and ETFs (exchange traded funds), which are passive in nature, will also be required to vote.(PTI File Photo)

Voting on corp resolutions compulsory for MFs: Sebi

By Neil Borate, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 01:57 AM IST
  • These votes will have to be disclosed to unit holders under existing regulations. Voting will be at the MF level (rather than scheme level).
Close
Passenger vehicle manufacturers have been witnessing a sustained increase in retail sales on the back of improvement in economic activity and increased preference for personal mobility to avoid Covid infection.
Passenger vehicle manufacturers have been witnessing a sustained increase in retail sales on the back of improvement in economic activity and increased preference for personal mobility to avoid Covid infection.

Toyota SUV sales may skid on gaps in chipset supply

By Malyaban Ghosh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 01:55 AM IST
  • Supply of vehicles from Maruti Suzuki India Ltd—as part of the alliance with Suzuki Motor Corp—has helped Toyota increase its domestic market share in the premium hatchback and entry-level SUV segment, where it was not present before.
Close
ASI data is the most important source of industrial statistics of the registered organised manufacturing sector of the economy.(Reuters)
ASI data is the most important source of industrial statistics of the registered organised manufacturing sector of the economy.(Reuters)

Total factories in India grew by 2% in 2018-19

By Abhishek Jha, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 01:51 AM IST
  • The top three states by GVA were Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu. They had a share of 41% in the total GVA. Rural India added nearly as much GVA (49%) as urban India (51%).
Close
It is often believed that taxes on fuel affect the rich more than the poor, as the latter do not own vehicles.(Amal KS/ Hindustan Times)
It is often believed that taxes on fuel affect the rich more than the poor, as the latter do not own vehicles.(Amal KS/ Hindustan Times)

How do India’s fuel taxes impact the less affluent?

By Vineet Sachdev, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 06, 2021 05:44 AM IST
  • Using average consumption shares to calculate the burden of an indirect tax has a problem.
Close
Meanwhile US crude oil inventories dropped by 1.7 million barrels in the week to Jan. 1 to 491.3 million barrels, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed late on Tuesday.(Reuters file photo)
Meanwhile US crude oil inventories dropped by 1.7 million barrels in the week to Jan. 1 to 491.3 million barrels, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed late on Tuesday.(Reuters file photo)

India says OPEC+ decision to extend oil output cuts will hit economic recovery

Reuters, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 10:47 PM IST
Oil prices jumped more than 2% on Friday, hitting their highest in nearly 14 months in reaction to the decision.
Close
As much as 75 per cent of Nasdaq companies do not have at least one woman and one under-represented minority or LGBT member on the board, the report says.(Pixabay | Representational image)
As much as 75 per cent of Nasdaq companies do not have at least one woman and one under-represented minority or LGBT member on the board, the report says.(Pixabay | Representational image)

Gender inequality has cost world USD 70 trillion since 1990, finds report

PTI, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 09:47 PM IST
The report also notes that full gender equality globally can increase the world GDP by up to USD 28 trillion by 2025.
Close
A woman looks at a gold necklace in a shop in Noida in this file photo.(Virendra Singh Gosain/ HT Photo)
A woman looks at a gold necklace in a shop in Noida in this file photo.(Virendra Singh Gosain/ HT Photo)

Gold price falls further to 44,344, sets retail buyers on buying spree

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Ayshee Bhaduri, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2021 09:07 PM IST
  • Retail buyers continued to purchase gold in India as prices declined to a near one-year low.
Close
In case of the mutual funds having no economic interest on the day of voting, Sebi said it may be exempted from compulsorily casting of votes.(PTI File Photo)
In case of the mutual funds having no economic interest on the day of voting, Sebi said it may be exempted from compulsorily casting of votes.(PTI File Photo)

Sebi lays guidelines on votes cast by mutual funds

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | PTI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 06:52 PM IST
Mutual funds, including their passive investment schemes like index funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), will be required to cast votes compulsorily in respect of related party transactions of the investee companies and corporate governance matters, Sebi said in a circular.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP