professor Nicholas Ind under en forelesning

Genuinely feeling groovy

En stolt tradisjon på Høyskolen Kristiania er at vår nyeste professor holder en tiltredelsesforelesning. Sistemann ut til å tre inn i professorrekkene var Nicholas Ind. Tittelen på forelesningen hans var «Genuinely feeling groovy», der han fortalte om hvorfor det er viktig at de ansatte og kunder tar del i merkevaren og er med på å forme verdiene til merkevaren. Dette ga Ind ideen om at man må tenke på merkevarer som personer.

Brands are defined by the people inside the organization.

Ind, som opprinnelig kommer fra England, fortalte oss litt mer om karrieren og interessefeltet hans. For å unngå å bli «lost in translation» tar vi det på morsmålet hans herfra.

Congratulations on the promotion, Nicholas! How was the process of becoming a Professor?

– The process of becoming a Professor took quite a long time. Over the years I have published a lot of books, but in the academic world what counts most are research articles in journals. Getting published there is a slow process because the research itself takes time and then the review and publication process is not very quick - some of things I have published took 4 years from the initial idea to appearing in print. What's been really good though is that I have two great co-authors - Oriol Iglesias at ESADE in Barcelona and Majken Schultz at Copenhagen Business School. They have definitely enhanced the quality of my work.

You have studied brands and branding and how customers and employees can influence the brand's image and values for a long time. Why do you believe it's important that the company listens to customers and employees in the process of developing the brand?

– I have been writing about branding for nearly 30 years and I think the key thing I have learned is that companies need to tap into the knowledge and experiences of their different stakeholders. It's often tempting for a manager to think they know the answer to a problem without consulting others. But not using the intellectual assets in the organization is a waste of the resource you have. I once interviewed Adobe and they argued that good ideas come from everywhere in the organization. It's also true I think that it's wasteful not to connect into the expertise of your customers and partners. Companies try to guess what customers want. Instead they should invite them and engage with them to build brands together.

They have moved from being a rather closed organization to an open one.
Professor Nicholas Ind i klasserommet under forelesning

In your lecture, you considered LEGO and Patagonia as good examples of companies that include and are genuinely interested in the consumer and the employee opinions. Do you have an example of other companies where you have experienced the same as in Patagonia and Lego?

– In addition to LEGO and Patagonia, another company that does this well is Adidas. They have moved from being a rather closed organization to an open one. Now, they develop products together with partners (Yeezy, Human Race, Y3, Stella McCartney), they work with athletes to develop and refine products and they involve customers directly in creating new lines. Also, they recognise the importance of developing their employees.

    Les også om frokostseminaret til Ind «Branding with meaning»

    They have pioneered a new approach to learning and development and provide excellent sporting facilities at their head office in Herzogenaurach in Southern Germany. I recently edited a book called Branding Inside Out and there's a fun chapter in it on employer branding by an Adidas manager. He notes they have around 800,000 applications a year for corporate roles. In spite of Herzo being a small town in Franconia, people really want to work for the company.

    In the lecture you also mention Chip, the receptionist in Patagonia. The title of your first lecture as a Professor is a quote that Chip told you. What did Chip say to you that time that made such an impression?

    – Chips's statement “I'm Genuinely Feeling Groovy” was such a fun thing to say, that I used it as the title of the first chapter in Living the Brand. A photo of Chip is also on the first page. The interview with him is included in the book - he talks about the value of the company and how he reflects them every day in his work. He says, “I encompass every value of the company” and adds that he loves “being the image and the voice of Patagonia”. As noted in the book, he is also 11 times world freestyle Frisbee champion - he used that experience to persuade Patagonia to make their own brand of Frisbees out of recycled plastics.

    I want to keep challenging myself to do new things.

    What are your ambitions for the future?

    – One of the things I really enjoy is working internationally, so I plan to keep researching and writing with my friends in Germany, Spain and Denmark on co-creation, branding and sustainability. I also have a long-term project called Brand Earth, which I am working on with an international group - it's ambitious because it has the goal of better connecting people to the planet. I have always followed my intuition for what might be interesting and impactful. Maybe you are better at that when you are younger, but I want to keep challenging myself to do new things. Skrevet av Marthe Sørflaten, student på Bachelor i PR og kommunikasjon.