Brand Owners' Summit 2014: 5 Takeaways from Day-1

By Team Smart CEO and afaqs! News Bureau , afaqs!, Bangalore | In Marketing | June 26, 2014
Day 1 at Brand Owner's Summit Bangalore, co-organized by afaqs! and The Smart CEO Magazine had a wonderful mix of talks by entrepreneurs, CEOs and marketers. In this article, we jot down five of the most interesting takeaways from the six sessions so far.

A wonderful day in Bengaluru started with a bang. The first speaker of the day was Krishnan Ganesh, a serial entrepreneur and investor and most importantly a role model for upcoming entrepreneurs in the country. Ganesh, of course, became popular after recently exiting TutorVista, a company he started up to offer online tutoring services for people in the US (taught by tutors working out of home in India).

Brand Owners' Summit 2014

Ganesh started his talk with a story about how the idea (to start TutorVista) struck him, thanks to a cartoon he had seen in the Washington Post which basically depicted a mother in the US telling her child: "No, you cannot outsource your homework to India." Unfortunately for this fictional mother, this cartoon spurred the creation of a company that did just that.

Day 1 was filled with several such anecdotes. Ganesh wasn't the only one. Nagesh Basvanhalli, managing director, of Fiat Chrysler India reminisced about how Fiat was among the few automotive brands that entered - and then also left - the country prior to liberalisation. When they came back again, they were competing with at least a dozen other brands. His talk focused on how he plans to rejuvenate a large multinational brand in a country that offered tremendous potential but in a market the brand had to play catch up in. One of the campaigns he spoke about was specialized campaign that would take the brand from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.

Here are five exciting takeaways from Day-1:

1. Today, in India, good brands can be built fairly quickly. Krishnan Ganesh gave the example of and, two companies he has promoted as ones that have built a good brand in a particular geography in less than two years. The audience agreed and Ganesh believes the digital media, coupled with an entrepreneur's ability to identify a Greenfield idea that is unique, is the way forward.

2. Krishnakumar Natrajan, co-founder, MD and CEO of Mindtree, an IT services company busted two myths about branding. He said: "The first myth is that B2B and B2C brands are different. And the second myth is that branding will have an immediate tangible effect on sales." He went on to talk in detail about how, as a global brand, it was crucial to be locally relevant and win the trust of the local community in all geographies the company operates in.

3. Varun Agarwal, first generation entrepreneur and author of the book 'How I braved Anu Aunty and Co-founded a Million Dollar Company' spoke about how his book played a key role in promoting his startup venture, Alma Mater. The takeaway is that one doesn't have to do the traditional stuff to spending on Facebook, running TV commercials and so on. For him, penning a book really worked. For others, there could several unique ways to build a brand.

4. Madan Padakki, founder of Head Held High, a social entrepreneurship venture, ran one of the best sessions of the day. A series of videos played by Padakki left the audience awestruck. Padakki's company essentially works with rural youngsters who can't speak a single line in English, and transforms them into people who can eventually become team leaders. The series of videos showed, how Rajesh, one of Head Held High's first students, started off trying to speak only 1 line in English. The next video (which was shot after 7 months) showed how he had picked up the language and more importantly, how he had transformed as a person and become more confident. The third video (which was shot a few years later) showcased how Rajesh had transformed into a Team Leader at a rural BPO. Padakki coined the term Rubans, for rural youngsters who can essentially become like us urbanites, through a structured training process, and also build a proper career for themselves. The takeaway from this is that anything is possible. As an entrepreneur, one just has to dream and put together a well thought execution plan to back this up.

5. The day ended with a panel discussion led by Zipdial's Valerie Wagoner. This session was a deep dive into using mobile as a strategy to make marketing work. Here, Amuleek Singh of ChaiPoint made a simple point that is probably the most important of them all. As a brand, how can we simplify the experience of a customer, instead of complicating it? Often, too much data from analytics can do more harm than good.

Stay tuned and watch this space for more updates from Brand Owners' Summit.

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