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In this interview, Martin Roll delivers useful insight into the world of branding. Learn more about speaker, Martin Roll and his keynote presentations below.
I stride to be at the forefront of developments and provide global thought leadership in the fields of strategy, leadership and brand/marketing. It is hard work and requires that you simply are fully up to date with latest research and developments in many important fields of management. I spend half my time as a keynote speaker and seminar leader/moderator, and the second half as an advisor across several types of companies and industries.
I am an advisor, mentor and facilitator to a selection of Asian family firms (among them some of the largest and most influential), Asian corporate firms and Fortune 500 firms among others.
I am covering almost all major industries, and am currently working as an advisor within cosmetics, luxury, hospitality, fashion retail, technology, pharmaceutical, retail, among others.
Clients are spread all over the world, and currently I see strong demand from the US and from Latin America. My Asian platform and emerging markets insights serve as a great advantage, and many clients and referring partners are expressing a growing need for new profiles across the US and Latin American speaking circuit.
Due to the type and the managerial level of my clients, I strive to deliver on the following 4 dimensions:
Trust: Because clients would only value my advice and insight if they trust me.
Integrity: Because I work mostly for family owners including very wealthy ones, chairmen and CEOs, executives and many other types of clients, and integrity is paramount as you deal with all their issues at hand and helping them steering their course and setting new directions and paradigms.
Empowerment: Because my insights and experiences should in the end empower my client to become better, faster, more innovative and more global in nature – all in all to become more competitive and keep an edge.
Encouragement: Because clients need constantly to be energized, motivated and refueled with passion to make sure they can stay the course of what they are set to do – I help them very often in this area too as it is always nurturing to have outsiders to encourage them.
I think it is important to be ambitious, work hard and seek to make a difference to the world – in whatever field that you operate. Aspirations are important as they act as the strongest fuel for further achievements and advancements for humans. I keep high aspirations and try to be grounded at the same time. Things do take time. I want to be an architect on my own life, so that requires that you have to envision where you like to go, how to get there, and to know when you have arrived.
I hope they get inspired to return to their offices seeking to achieve even better in the functional areas of marketing, branding, leadership, growth and globalization. My message is that in order to succeed on the global stage, which I believe most firms should aim for; people should always raise their bars, step outside the comfort zone, and be excellent in all endeavors. Easier said than done, but my message is that it is possible, and I hope to give people some of the crucial tools to that exactly that.
A good feeling hopefully! You want to make sure they have had a good time and that they feel empowered, enlightened, and inspired to become better.
It depends on the scope and scale of the speaking engagement. Every keynote speak and every moderation role is different and unique. I prefer in three ways: Firstly, I often speak to the client in advance to get a sense of what they want and who they are (or believe they are). Then I prepare the actual materials including any additional research and information I need to add in. Finally, I leave everything behind which is the most important process as all insights, needs and requirements tend to blend together in my mind, and I see the overall big picture. Then I am ready for the speaking engagement. Once you have tried it so many times in all parts of the world as I have, you don’t think about it anymore. It becomes another day on the job, and you know how to fill out the role and responsibilities.
I enjoy public speaking very much. It is rewarding, and you meet with so many different types of people across many cultures all over the world every year. You definitely share knowledge and insights with the audiences, and hopefully that contributes to their success. That is primary goal. But I also find that public speaking and the interaction with the audiences provide an excellent platform for insights and experiences which helps one to keep updated. In other words, it serves as a laboratory for new ideas and issues, and I gain a lot also from meeting with so many professional and ambitious senior leaders and business owners every year.
I advise many family-owned businesses and the families behind them which is also a great pleasure to do. You get very close to the action and they tend – once the trust is established – to include you in all matters of business and life, and you end up being a very close aide and advisor to them. I enjoy that immensely.
I also enjoy teaching on the academic circuit. It keeps you updated and provides new insights and information about many important things as you interact and engage with both future leaders on the MBA track, and with senior leaders and company owners on the EMBA track. I am teaching MBA, EMBA and Executive level programs at Nanyang Business School (Singapore), INSEAD (Singapore) and CEIBS (Shanghai). Generally, I stay in contact with many of my students, and some of them become clients and others form part of my global network. So teaching is definitely worth it, it keeps you sharp and up to standard if you have to perform in top-notch academic settings as I do.
The topics I cover are on the serious side, so humor does play a role, but only a secondary one. It is important to present these topics in a serious and managerial context, and too humor would actually dilute the importance of the topics.
Branding enhances shareholder value, it can become a catalyst for better leadership, it enables to drive a shared vision throughout the organization, and it can help to balance short- and long-term perspectives and performance.
There are 4 top lessons to remember:
I guess the best persons to answer that question are the audiences watching it and engaging with me.
Most of the speaks and moderation roles I have had are unique. You always meet new people, always get an unexpected question to cope with on the spot, and things emerge differently to what you had prepared for. But that is what makes it joyful and fulfilling.
I spoke some years back at an Asian retail conference with 3.000 people attending my keynote speak. Last minute, I learned that the South Korean president would there because he wanted to hear my opening keynote speak. It led to interactions with the Korean government. A country which is close to my heart, I like the Korean people. I do lots of business and advisory there.
On another occasion, I spoke at a huge conference in Tehran, Iran. I flew via Dubai but stranded there for a while due to an emerging snow storm over Iran. In the end, one of the local airlines flew into Iran operated by Iranian pilots. I later learned from a Western pilot friend from Emirates Airlines that the Iranian pilots are really hardcore flyers and well-trained – and pretty much used to the rough conditions in their own backyard. We arrived in the middle of the snowstorm on a small cleared strip of the full-length run-way – the aircraft, a Boing 747, stopped 15 meters from the end of it. Well done! On the way out of Tehran, we left 5mins before the airport closed for almost a week due to heavy snowstorms.
You learn the live with these moments. I enjoy it very much!
Branding enhances shareholder value, it can become a catalyst for better leadership, it enables to drive a shared vision throughout the organization, and it can help to balance short- and long-termperspectives and performance.
Singapore Airlines is one of the best examples of this – they are brilliant in balancing well these issues. Samsung is another example of a company which moved from a pure diversified manufacturer towards a company with strong cash flows from branding. Coca-Cola, P&G and Gillette (now owned by P&G), Starbucks, L’Oreal and LVMH are other global brands which are very well-managed and which provide solid cash flows from brands and portfolio of brands.
Today, businesses and consumers are placing increasing importance on brands. Brands give consumers a sense of identity, stimulate their senses and enrich their life experiences. People have needs to affiliate and surround themselves with things they know well, trust and aspire to be. From a customer viewpoint, a brand is a signal of quality and creates a bond of trust with the manufacturers behind them.
Brand value is driven by margins that the brand is able to charge and the customer loyalty. These two issues have to be benchmarked against competitors and provide differential advantages. However, if brands are well-known hence being valued very highly, they are also part of the public space and gets lots of attraction. The reasons for buying brands are that we have an emotional bond to them due to their ability to connect us to communities.
Psychological research demonstrates that brands are durable because people are cognitive misers. The modern society is overloaded with information, and the average person receives far more information than one can possibly digest properly. Therefore, people seek to simplify the world by relying on a variety of heuristics to minimize the amount of searching and information processing needed to make reasonable decisions.
Once people believe a brand works for a certain purpose or reason, they are less likely to seek out new information that challenges the assumptions. Sociological research also demonstrates why people are less likely to switch brands. Multiple elements like images, stories and associations are attached to a brand. As these elements are shared collectively by groups and networks of people, they form generally accepted conventions about brands. It is therefore relatively difficult for individuals to switch brands and thereby abandon these shared conventions.
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