My answer is yes. A couple weeks ago I was teaching 40 young and promising executives in the TURQUALITY® program at my university in Istanbul. I have been teaching marketing strategy, brand building and global marketing within this program since its inception. I was so pleasantly surprised by the improved level and sophistication of marketing strategy and brand building knowledge in this group that I decided to share some insights on this program with you.
TURQUALITY® is a brand development program designed with the vision of “creating 10 global brands in 10 years,” very nicely fitting the focus of our book. It is mainly a support program aimed at creating global players out of Turkish company brands which have brand building potential. The brands go through a detailed application and screening process to qualify for the TURQUALITY® program. Selected brands/companies are provided with managerial, consulting and financial support on all links of the value chain, with an emphasis on marketing, branding, retailing and after-sales services. They also display the TURQUALITY® logo in their stores.
Recognizing that Turkish brands faced a negative country of origin perception in many of its export markets, especially in developed markets, the project was the brain child of State Minister Kürşad Tüzmen and was carried out by the Undersecretariat of Foreign Trade, Turkey Exporters Assembly and The General Secretariat of Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exporters Associations. As we explain in detail in our book, negative country of origin perceptions are major obstacles in brand building efforts of EMNCs. Such negative perceptions limit EMNC brand’s dynamic evolution to niche customizer or brand builder strategies which enable higher margins (see our Figure 1.3).
When I started teaching at the TURQUALITY® Executive Development Program back in 2006, I had to spend a lot of time convincing managers of the importance of marketing and brand building. In many of the companies, a marketing department did not exist! Marketing was organized under sales. Sales managers were also called marketing managers! Considering that these were exemplary companies that the TURQUALITY® program had selected for their regional or global brand building potential, I often left the sessions depressed and with serious doubts about the future of this program.
A couple weeks ago, when I was teaching a new group of marketing and brand managers, the feeling was incredible. Not only the participants had a quite in depth knowledge of the subject material, but also the organization structures had changed to reflect the central focus of marketing and branding. In one leading tile manufacturer, a well known marketing executive was recruited from a Triad FMCG best known for its marketing capabilities. The marketing director was given all the authority, power and resources to restructure the company and its culture around its brands. The excitement, motivation and dedication of the team were incredible. My sessions were elevated from covering the topics to in depth discussions of nuances and implementation issues. I learned as much from them as they learned from me!
Many of the companies that qualified and went through the TURQUALITY® program over the years are not in the Interbrand® global 100 list yet. However, they have chosen the right consumer segments (the topic of our first chapter) and are incredibly creative in building brand awareness on limited budgets (the topic of our Chapter 5). They have accomplished solid regional presence, awareness, and preference. We did not cover many of these brands in our book: Efes has become a leading beer brand in Russia and the region, and recently bought SAB Miller’s regional rights. Koton, is prospering in Greece and Eastern Europe with its low price, high value, fast fashion business model while BGN is the darling of high quality, sophisticated fashion lovers in Western Europe. Gilan’s jewelry, inspired by the Ottoman Palace styles and craftsmanship, is worn by Hollywood stars. Yes, these brands are not in the major brand lists. But they are winning hearts and wallets around the world, thanks to the vision and dedication of their management and the support of the TURQUALITY® program.