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Business leaders discuss marketing

Dana Gusky | Friday, September 8, 2006

Two prominent marketing figures discussed why some brands – such as Apple, MTV, ESPN and Evian – stick in the consumer mind, while others simply fade away, in a lecture at Notre Dame Thursday.

In a lecture entitled “Keeping Brands Vital in the Midst of Change,” Euro RSCG Worldwide CEO Ron Berger and Aston Martin/Jaguar/Land Rover North America president Mike O’Driscoll said the answer is a combination of impact, confidence and connection to the customer.

Berger’s company is a marketing agency with high-profile customers like Nike, Charles Schwab and Jaguar. His lecture illustrated how he makes a brand “vital” in every sense of the word. Berger broke down several of his customers into case studies, analyzing how and why brands become household names through marketing.

“We all live in a world where we are overloaded by information, overloaded by images … and brands have to find a way to stay in your life,” Berger said.

The talk shifted from Evian’s image as a beauty product, to Polaroid’s use of OutKast’s “Hey Ya,” to the Harley Owners Group “H.O.G.” – but still centered on steps necessary to keep a brand innovative. Berger discussed how important it is to keep in touch with the modern world as well as create a fully integrated platform for the product.

Everything from the look and the price of the products, the advertising and the company itself must give customers a certain impression, he said.

“We develop a tone of voice for a brand,” Berger said.

O’Driscoll, who is one of Berger’s own clients, focused on Jaguar’s new marketing campaign developed by Euro RSCG Worldwide. “Gorgeous” is a strategy designed to return Jaguar to the sizeable popularity it enjoyed in the 1980s by giving it a more sophisticated, yet hip, image.

“We have to act not like an automotive brand but like a luxury brand,” O’Driscoll said.

At the end, O’Driscoll was asked several questions about Ford possibly selling Aston Martin, but said he could not worry about things out of his control.

This lecture is the first of six in a series called Boardroom Insights, a one-credit class given by the College of Business. The lectures are open to all students and the public. The next speaker, which is scheduled for Sept. 14 in the Jordan Auditorium, will be Liz Claiborne CEO Paul Cherron.