Q&A with Kartikeya Kompella (Part 2
25th January 2015 | Kartikeya Kompella
Kartikeya Kompella, editor of The Brand Challenge, discusses his experience editing the book and working with branding experts across many sectors.
Question: You’ve done two edited volumes on branding and interacted with many experts on branding. How has the experience been?
Kartik: It’s been brilliant. I got to work with two of my absolute heroes – Al Ries and Professor Kapferer and many more experts on branding. I’ve made some good friends and had great fun on the way.
Question: So you must have done a lot of research to identify all these experts. What did you learn from this research?
Kartik: I think there are a lot of great books on branding, but there are a lot of mediocre books, too. There’s a lot of similar stuff said in different ways with jaded examples. But then that’s my opinion and I’m sure some of their readers (and many of the authors) would disagree with me.
What’s inspiring are some of the really great thinkers and how they think about the subject. I hadn’t heard of Peter Fisk before I started my research but he is absolutely colossal in his understanding of the subject.
Question: You’ve mentioned 'jaded examples' – what’s your theory on this? Is it that there are only a few brands getting it right?
Kartik: I’m pretty sure that there are a lot of examples around, but there are a couple of things about these. Firstly, these brands are not as large and well known as Apple and Google and therefore do not resonate as well. Secondly, not all these brands are well known and so neither do the researchers know of these nor are they always willing to use them.
Question: Which branding building methodology has impressed you the most with you?
Kartik: I’ve studied some really impressive methodologies from Passion Brands to Primal Branding to Lovemarks and I’m specifically a huge fan of these three. I’m sure there are many more that I’m not aware of yet.
Question: Obviously branding is a subject close to your heart. What is it about the subject that fascinates you?
Kartik: Well, branding is influenced by many interesting disciplines from sociology, psychology, anthropology so it’s an interesting mix and provides for a nice intellectual challenge. I think while we learn about brands we learn a lot about people and how they think and feel.
Question: So that’s it? The intellectual challenge alone?
Kartik: Well, I guess I put it a bit simplistically. Brands have the power to create great progress and also to cause havoc. There are brands that inspire and there are some that are actually quite toxic. I think if we can actually channel the power of branding better we can create a lot of good and reduce some of the imbalances of wealth, health and well-being.
Question: Do you learn from books that you edit?
Kartik: Absolutely ! I think I’m the biggest beneficiary in terms of learning from these books. Not only do I read each chapter many times but also I get to interact with these experts, too.
Question: What did you learn from The Brand Challenge?
Kartik: Oh a lot! I think every chapter was revelation in some form or the other. I think the chapter on Identity put the topic in perspective for me. The anti-laws of luxury branding were brilliant. Al Ries’s chapter on Focus was amazing as usual and provided an oft forgotten aspect of branding. I thought Jocelyne Daw’s chapter on non-profit branding and Mike Symes's chapter on financial branding showed interesting new models of branding that can be used across categories.