Published Marketing and Communication 25. 10. 2022
Over 500 people gathered on Wednesday, October 19 at the Cubex Centre Prague for Brand Management 2022, the largest Czech conference on brands. Organized by Blue Events, the aim was to raise the level of the Czech marketing and how could it be better sold in abroad.
“It was a truly inspiring experience that made me believe that Czech marketing might aim high." This is how one of the participants summarized his impressions of the Brand Management 2022. The program of the whole day was related to the main topic "CZech In: First Class Marketing", i.e. what we are good at in the Czech Republic and how we can sell it. But also, what we need to do better to make Czech marketing world-class. Each of the sixteen speakers took up the subject in their own way.
Michal Novák and Milan Drozen from Czech Promotion showed how to get "a lot of brand for little money" on the example of brands such as Atmoskop, Bikero or Carvago, which achieved a jump in awareness with a small budget. They recalled that in today's advertising, the very basics of the craft are often forgotten and it is time to change that. "Distinctive branding is not only about the logo, but it is also about sound, about melody, intonation, voice, about something memorable," says Drozen, one of the creators of the typical character of Alza eshop “Alzak”.
Do not clients throw money away for ads that no one can see? Eduard Krečmar and Lukáš Jakoubek from Publicis Groupe focused on this problem and managed to launch the top methods of measuring the attention that people pay to ads. They are based on the fact that attention is a key commodity and a prerequisite for the success of campaigns, especially in times of information overload. Therefore, they have created an index with which it is possible to gain a higher quality space within online marketing. Thanks to Lumen's methods, they are able to measure the real attention, using data from an eye camera. "Nowadays, we still buy a large percentage of waste, and yet we are relatively close to improvement. It only takes a small step for the campaigns to have a higher impact," says Krečmar.
Advertising for the right hemisphere
More generally, the topic of attention was discussed by the keynote speaker Orlando Wood from the British company System1 Group. According to him, the right approach to building memorable brands is to create communication acting on the right hemisphere of the brain. It must have one of the elements that this part of the brain prefers, whether it is metaphors, humor, movement, landscape, context, relationships between people, melodies, dialogue, animals or mascots. Orlando summarized in a very emotional way the findings from his book Look Out.
He compared the situation in today's world influenced by technology to different historical periods, eg. the one at the end of the 19th century. Just as then, the element of the left brain hemisphere is beginning to prevail in culture today, and people are turning into themselves, their attention is narrowing. According to Wood, society is becoming more aggressive and at the same time full of fear. Advertisers should not be swept away by this trend and should look around and create more playful communication for "broad- attention" – to be more in touch with people.
The overview of Czech brands that bet on such change in their design that works long-term and can be done "just once" was presented by Aleš Najbrt, the founder of Studio Najbrt.
Studio Najbrt stands behind the logo of Prague that has existed for over 20 years and also behind the Ostrava logo, which quickly became popular thanks to its simplicity and directness. "It was important to us that the logo would live and people would love it. The principle of three exclamation points was immediately used even by those who did not like it," said Aleš Najbrt, the best-rated speaker of the conference. At the end of his presentation, he also introduced the new visual identity of Blue Events. Instead of a logo full of lines, Brand Management and other conferences from the company's portfolio gained a logo that, in the words of Orlando Wood, appeals more to the right hemisphere and is therefore easier to remember.
We export branded beer and glass
What does "Czechness" mean in marketing? It's definitely beer, the one of our best export items, where we export real branded value-added product. It is the whole beer culture that we must be building abroad, as Zuzana Dudová from Plzeňský Prazdroj has shown. She compared the situation on foreign beer markets to where our coffee culture was in the Czech Republic years ago: turkish or soluble coffee? .. that was the offer in past. "The further we go from the Czech republic, the smaller is the market share of Czech beers on the foreign market," says Dudová, while the culture level of serving beer goes hand in hand.
Because the rich Czech foam on beer provoked foreigners, Prazdroj built the whole communication on this fact - they insisted that Prazdroj tastes best with foam. At the same time, they trained bartenders abroad as "micro-influencers" to explain this to pub visitors. Today, the foam is no longer discussed, it is only discussed whether it should be at two or three inches high. At Kozel, the strongest export brand in the portfolio, they dared to experiment with things that would not pass on the Czech market, such as black beer with cinnamon on top. "Penetrating the foreign market and changing consumer behaviour is a long haul. Recipes that work in the Czech Republic may not work abroad," Dudová recommended.
An indisputable export item is the Czech glass, whose representative at the conference was Klára Poliakov from Lasvit. According to her, the reason of Lasvit success was also in the fact that the company was created from the beginning with a global ambition, establishing a market that did not exist before. Lasvit elevated the chandelier to a light installation that has the ability to create high emotions. "We are a global brand, but not globalized or interchangeable. We are proud of the region we come from," she adds, adding that cooperation with world-class designers who have been given the freedom to create has also helped.
The Myth of Czechness
Leonard Savage from McCann Prague doubted whether Czech brands need more Czechness on the domestic market. According to him, every third Czech between 18 and 30 considers himself a world citizen. He mentioned Sweden's global success as a similarly small country and explained it by the fact that Swedes are not afraid to proudly stand up for "Swedenism". According to Leonard, the Czech market is not small, it is just "concentrated". Brands operate here in intimate proximity to culture, celebrities, but also public policy. He responded to the problem of small Czech budgets by saying that where there is little money, it is necessary to increase trust between the agency and the client. The output does not always have to be a half-minute TV spot, it is better to think about campaigns in a broader context at the beginning.
The right ingredient
Czech marketing can take inspiration from abroad not only in terms of the form of communication, but also in products. A perfect example is the brand of ciders F. H. Prager, which was presented by Alexandros Samaras. Big companies have been trying for years to establish this category on the Czech market, but they have failed because they either profiled it too narrowly as a "beer for women" or did not have the best quality product. F.H. Prager, on the other hand, builds on the proper craftmanship and at the same time looks abroad for inspiration. Czech apples are mixed with British apples to achieve a typical taste and F.H.Prager offers both alcoholic and non-alcoholic variants. All this underlined by a playful new design. It is easy recognizable and differs from the minimalism that is typical for this category. "It played into our hands that beer consumption in the Czech Republic is decreasing. Young people want to taste something new and experiment. We want to be a proud alternative to beer, as is the case in the UK," says Samaras.
Who quickly adapts to circumstances
A feature that is mentioned in connection with Czechs is the ability to adapt and react quickly to new situations, often outside established processes. An example is the story of the largest Czech and Slovak e-shop - the shoe company Footshop, which recently narrowly escaped from the abyss in which other fast-growing e-commerce companies ended up. In 2020, the company's EBITDA went negative and it was necessary to change strategy and increase profitability. It turned out that in marketing it was better to do fewer activities with a greater reach. Less is more, this was also true of the number of brands sold and the number of stores operated. "We need to focus on optimizing marketing activities. Brand marketing is a very long-term investment. That is why, in a crisis period, ROI has become the main optimization criterion - every Euro invested must return," says Jurdová and believes that online activities can maintain the brand even without a current presence on television.
Bata after 100 years
Sustainability as a trend beyond the Czech Republic was presented by Thomas A. Bata, the great-grandson of Tomáš Baťa. Just a century ago, Tomáš Baťa made his famous statement that the economic crisis is, above all, a moral crisis. Today, responsibility in business is again talked about, this time mostly in the context of sustainability. Everyone interprets it however a little differently. Often unfortunately just as a certain "obstacle" that needs to be overcome, e.g. to obtain a certain certificate. Thomas A. Bata founded the outdoor equipment brand MGG on the total transparency of production and marketing. Sustainability is mainly a way of building trust of consumers. But at the same time, he is aware that the "green" product itself will not succeed if it is not functional.
What was said about the Brand Management 2022 conference:
"It was one of the best conferences I've been to in the Czech Republic. The line-up was laid out incredibly precisely, everything fit together, it was not just a regular self-presentation of agencies/brands, but a really beneficial, information-packed conference."
"To rebrand live during the presentation was bold but brilliant. For me, the highlight of the whole event, which overall represents the top of what is in the Czech Republic."
"The best conference of the post-covid era so far! Czech marketing excellently presented. It was a truly inspiring experience that made me believe that Czech marketing can target high. Content and form were great. BRAVO."
“It was excellent, I enjoyed the presentations and speakers. Not only positive things were presented, but also a sadder reality. And the demonstration of how to work with change was very beneficial."
Contact: Jan Patera ([email protected])
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