John Noble, Director, British Brands Group talks about the powerful economic force of branding and the importance of branding to the pharmaceutical industry




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Video title: John Noble, Director, British Brands Group talks about the powerful economic force of branding and the importance of branding to the pharmaceutical industry
Released on: July 27, 2011. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, Fintan Walton talks to John Noble, Director of British Brands Group
British Brands Group: Aim and purpose
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here at the LESI Conference in London 2011. On this show I have John Noble, who is a Director of the British Brands Group, welcome to the show.
John Noble:
Thank you very much.
Fintan Walton:
British Brands Group as I understand it is a not for profit organization whose purpose is to try and help UK based companies to develop brands, is that correct?
John Noble:
Yes it is, I mean I think our work is in many ways broader than that I mean yes we are a membership organization and currently a corporate membership organization rather than for individuals and what the group does is speak on behalf of brand owners and particularly brands manufacturers to policy makers in the UK to try and shape a policy framework in the UK that creates you know that is positive for the creation and building of brands and branded companies. So that policymakers understand just how important brands are to consumers more certainly, but also it is society and in the current times particularly to the economy because often you know this brands and their interests are represented people may take it for granted people may not think about the brand dimension when formulating policy so we make sure that doesn't happen and that the true value of brands comes across to the policy makers.
Fintan Walton:
Okay so you're not efficacy group and some guys I suppose?
John Noble:
Absolutely, yes.
Fintan Walton:
And of course then you've got your members and then you got I presume there are couple of other aims one would be I presume is to obviously not just be an efficacy group but also create the infrastructure so that brand awareness becomes better not just within the corporations themselves but also outside?
John Noble:
Absolutely yes, because we see branding as being a very powerful economic force and the very powerful brand company force you know so in terms of people wishing to increase the value of their businesses, if people are wishing to strengthen connection with consumers, if people are wanting to be strongly innovative in their approach and continuously innovative in their approach to their businesses then we think brands are a very powerful thing to have and certainly when you are talking to government we feel is there searching for means for growth in the current economic climate that brands is immensely powerful weapon to have in their armory and they shouldn't be forgetting that.
Issues discussed with policy makers
Fintan Walton:
So you are obviously talking to the policy makers, what are you talking to them about? What are the issues that you are looking for that you would like to see resolved?
John Noble:
Well I think first of all actually is ensuring that contribution of brands is understood, I mean it is as basic as that, I mean I think people understand the value of branding two individual companies and you see the brand valuation lead tables I think the world's most valuable brand on the current lead table is Google just the brand alone is being valued at something like US $100,000 million enormous wealth there. So I think people understand the wealth for companies, but what they don't understand is necessarily is the value to the economy both in terms of the numbers of people who work in branding but also in how branding helps align companies with the social needs of the time, how branding helps open up new categories, create new markets, encourages new established categories and markets to grow and so we think that's a very important message, so that basic message of the economic value of branding we think is something which needs to be promoted more and so we certainly do that in what specific areas the work that we concentrate on is certainly on intellectual property policy to making sure that companies have the ability to protect and safeguard their brand assets and also most importantly of course that consumers know what they are buying and when they want to buy a brand they know that they are getting the brand and not some kind of it or some other kind of look alike sort of could be similar sort of things but isn't a product, so it's that sort of brand protection side and we also do some work in the competition area as well.
Emerging markets and challenges for British Brands
Fintan Walton:
Of course and then you obviously you've already indicated it's a global issue as well it's obviously your UK based organization with the emerging markets these are new challenges for British companies with their own brands, where do you see that going, do you see that's still as an issue for china is often considered to be a place where brands can be mimicked very easily and are we yet to see China and similar countries asserting brand rights, licensing rights to brands effectively?
John Noble:
Yes I think, we are actually on a very positive trend. Yes I mean there is no doubt about it the problem of counterfeiting is as strong as ever and people would argue actually it's getting stronger, you've mentioned China I wouldn't want to put the finger at any particular country, but there are certainly some countries where stronger sources of counterfeit products than others what is the greatest risk is the countries that are producing the kind of it's or is it the means of distribution of particularly through the internet and global distribution with counterfeit is now added for that products and how tricky it is to track them down and stop the practice. I mean I think that is a very real issue and I wouldn't wanted to underemphasize that the size and the scale of that problem and as I said I think it's a growing problem. However I think internationally in terms of the global market for branded companies I think we got some very encouraging and important science you know China fundamentally I understands the importance of it's intellectual property, it's own economic growth and development, certainly understands the importance of brands it's being buying up some strong brands of its own and developing those. So if you are looking at the global competitive market branding will be an extremely important force and I think the developed economies must be very aware and must look to that, because the ability to brand is when any longer be just the preserve of the what you call the developed economies everybody else is catching up extremely fast.
Importance of Branding to pharmaceutical companies
Fintan Walton:
Indeed, and of course within the pharmaceutical sector which this program goes out to brands have become very important for the extension of a particular product when the patent goes there is still a brand name attached to that product which gives us still an advantage in certain territories?
John Noble:
Absolutely yes.
Fintan Walton:
So branding is very important to the pharmaceutical companies?
John Noble:
Absolutely, and we have pharmaceutical companies who are members of the British Brands Group because they recognize the importance of branding to their business, they recognize it is a way to really forge close links and connections with individual consumers and to develop loyalty to be able to extend their reach into wider areas of business and so branding is immensely important to pharmaceutical companies and particularly for the reason that you've mentioned your patent protection only gives you so much protection, but if you continue to invest in your brand and continue to renew your trademarks and then your future cash flow and your future business is that much more assured and of course potentially on a much more on a long time basis you have brands in the UK which developed and build in the 1760's for example and so you now talking about long-term stuff.
Issue of Tax treatment
Fintan Walton:
Of course one of the things that companies do with their brands is often to obviously to domicile them overseas in territories where there are better tax treatment, is this one of the issues that British Brands Group has to tackle particularly with the UK government and the HMRC?
John Noble:
It is something we are very aware of and we do talk about it, because in terms of our overall goal it's the UK being an ideal base, we wanted to be a world class place for companies to create and build brands I means that's our goal and the tax regime is and must be an integral part of that and so we want to see a tax regime which encourages people to have their head offices, hold their intellectual property in the UK and the most we can do is alert policy makers and officials to that dynamic that intellectual property is movable and so therefore the UK must be competitive if it really is serious about being a country in which it is good to build brands.
Plans over next five years
Fintan Walton:
Just finally then obviously with your role within British Brands Group, what would you like to see happen, what would you like the British British Brands Group to achieve over the next five-years?
John Noble:
The most valuable thing undoubtedly that we could achieve is a recognition by particularly the economic policy makers that the branding is a powerful forefront in the UK economy and in other economies worldwide. The brands need the protection against the counterfeit or against the look alike so that would encourage the investments in innovation, it would encourage competition widen consumer choice and give consumers much higher quality, much better products at the end of the day and I think that something like that everybody would be a winner.
Fintan Walton:
John Noble, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
John Noble:
Very kind, thank you very much indeed.
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
John Noble
Director
John Noble is Director of the British Brands Group, a membership organization that provides the collective voice for brand manufacturers in the UK. The Group was founded in 1994 to promote the values and benefits of brands to consumers, the economy, and society, as well as to represent brand manufacturers on policy issues. Through its lectures, research studies, conferences, publications and briefings, the British Brands Group is committed to deepening understanding amongst those who make and shape public policy of the contribution of brands to the quality of our everyday lives and the success of the economy. It is part of network of similar organizations across Europe and represents AIM, the European Brands Association, in the UK. John Noble is a Chartered Marketer and, prior to joining the British Brands Group, followed a marketing career that started with British Airways before moving into marketing consultancy with Marketing Solutions. He then became Head of Marketing for Hamptons, the firm of estate agents, and held a senior marketing role with Bristol & West International.
PharmaVentures
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialisation.
British Brands Group
British Brands Group founded in 1994, is a non-profit-making membership organization. Its role is to speak out authoritatively on behalf of brands and to represent them collectively when commercial and regulatory issues threaten both their value and their ability to be a positive force in society. While the Group's work focuses primarily on UK policy makers, it also seeks to deepen understanding of how brands benefit consumers, society and the economy by delivering choice, value for money and innovation to consumers. The Group also provides the prime forum for its members on brand-related issues. British Brands Group is part of a global network of similar brand associations, and is the UK representative of AIM, the European Brands Association, based in Brussels.