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Åsa Myrdal Bratt - What People Do Counts

asa myrdal bratt

Åsa Myrdal Bratt is the branding expert who was given her own supplement in Dagens Industri, Sweden’s leading business paper. An alumnus of the Stockholm School of Business, she has worked extensively with PR and advertising in many contexts. After running her own branding school in Dagens Industri, Berghs invited her to come and teach and she accepted.

Februari 3, 2012

”Branding used to be seen as a kind of advertising,” says Myrdal Bratt. “But now just about everything a company says and does is regarded as branding. Since companies today offer increasingly similar products, branding is what truly distinguishes one company from the other. The values, personality and emotional aura of a company has simply become so much more important.”

”To a great extent it’s simply a question of doing things right rather than thinking up clever strategies,” continues Myrdal Bratt. “My students often tell me ’you make it sound so easy.’ But I do believe that while branding is an art, it is also fairly straightforward. I teach two courses at Berghs: The more basic one is about how to position and build a brand to clearly distinguish it from its competitors. The other one delves more deeply into the strategic aspects of branding and running a business. The students are always very inquisitive and the energy level at Berghs is inevitably high.”

”I make sure to always encourage an open dialogue with my students and I try to be as inclusive as possible. The students work a lot in teams, learning from one another and from their own mistake in a kind of experimental learning.  I have an open attitude, so even if I have prepared a detailed course plan I always adjust to that particular group’s ideas and goals. When the course is finished I want the students to fully understand the importance of how brands are perceived. As for myself, I always gain new input about exciting new brands that I might not have come in contact with before. Through talking with students I also note how time-bound branding discussions tend to be. For example, with all the snow emergencies this past winter, we’ve certainly talked a lot about SJ, the Swedish national rail service.”

”Crisis management, authenticity, and how to work with new media are three essential issues within the field of branding, and these can all be highly interlinked in certain cases. I always emphasize that everything has an influence and that you can’t really hide anything. Another important issue is sustainability, where of course transparancy is the key to success. It is not difficult to construct a facade, but today people look for authenticity and want to be able to trust the companies they employ. And this too goes for the companies’ employees. In this context it is to our advantage in Sweden that we are basically a democratic society. In other countries people are perhaps more ready to say what the boss wants to hear.”

”I believe that we will see a much greater emphasis on branding within the Swedish service sector in the future. Simple ‘customer satisfaction’ will not suffice in order to distinguish oneself from one’s competitors, and there are many more and much greater emotional rewards to offer the customer. Instead of merely being satisfied, why not be ‘inspired,’ feel ‘liberated’ or ‘carried aloft’? One of my dream clients would be H&M, which I think is very good at just about everything, but should work more at getting their sales people to act less like hurried supermarket cashiers who merely deactivate alarms and stuff purchases into shopping bags. But then the sales clerks must understand why this is important and why a different approach would also promote their own personal development. The crux is to enthuse employees and highlight their real personal strengths. To find what we all have within ourselves and to strengthen this. It’s possible to do quite a lot on a small scale, to introduce new thinking in one’s closest surroundings. We are all a part of our favorite brands and they are a part of us.”