FCB Ulka’s executive director, MG Parameswaran, recently unveiled his third book, ‘Building Brand Value’, in Mumbai. SEBI chairman M Damodaran launched the book formally
It’s time for a hat trick for MG Parameswaran, executive director, FCB Ulka, who recently unveiled his third book, ‘Building Brand Value: Five Steps to Building Powerful Brands’. The book was formally launched by M Damodaran, chairman, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), in Mumbai.
Parameswaran wrote his first book around eight years ago. Since then, he has had two books published – ‘FCB Ulka: Brand Building Advertising – Concepts and Cases’ and ‘Understanding Consumers: Building Powerful Brands using Consumer Research’.
According to Parameswaran, ‘Building Brand Value’ is different from the other books available on brand building because it captures the unique Indian flavour in the brands that exist today in India.
Excerpts from an interview:
Q. How did you come up with the idea of writing this book?
Parameswaran: The idea of writing this book was conceived at the time when I was teaching ‘brand building’ at NMIMS. I found that while there were several Indian and international books on the subject, there was virtually no book that takes a student or a young practitioner through the various steps of brand building. The book starts from the zero level, where a company starts thinking of entering a new or existing category with a new brand.
Q.What was your experience while writing it?
Parameswaran: The book has taken about four years to complete. The first two years were spent in developing all the concepts and pulling out Indian case studies that fit the structure. Also, in the first two years, the ‘Pentagon’ model – which the book is based on – was being ‘tested’ at the course at NMIMS. The students were given projects to create new brands in several categories applying the model. The experience proved very useful and confirmed my faith in the need for a ‘made in India’ model for Indian brands.
Q. What are the interesting findings that your book is likely to throw up?
Parameswaran: The ‘Pentagon’ model assumes that there are many opportunities for creating new brands in existing as well as newer categories in India. So, the model starts with the stage of Brand Appraisal. This stage is all about evaluating the potential for creating a new brand. For instance, Paras Pharmaceuticals must have done this kind of analysis before launching the Livon brand.
The next stage is Brand Definition. At this stage, the company looks at defining the new brand’s positioning. The third stage is Brand Articulation, where the new brand is given a name, an identity and the marketing communication programme. The fourth stage is the Brand Measurement stage, where a company has to put in place a proper measurement system to track the new brand’s performance.
The last stage is Brand Expansion, where the company looks at extending the brand to other categories. The centre piece of the model is Brand Execution, which deals with the four or six ‘Ps’ of marketing; and these will get defined as one progresses through the five stages.
Q. Does your book offer practical examples/ case studies of brands in India?
Parameswaran: The book has over 30 examples of Indian brands that have been launched and succeeded in India. For instance, Tata Indica was re-launched as Tata Indica V2. The V2 tag gave the Indica brand a new meaning that helped it attract a whole new set of potential buyers.
Q. Do you believe that brand building has not been adequately addressed by Indian writers?
Parameswaran: I wouldn’t say so. There are quite a few books on branding written by Indian authors. ‘Brand Positioning’ by the late Subroto Sengupta is a very popular book with many examples of successful brand positioning cases. But there are no Indian books that cover the zero-based approach to branding. And that is the gap that this book is attempting to fill.
Q. Is your book aimed at Indians only, or can marketers from abroad benefit, too?
Parameswaran: The book is primarily meant for the Indian market, given the number of Indian market examples. But the lessons in the book are equally applicable to any developing market. In many of these countries, there are still many opportunities to create and manage new brands. That is what this book is trying to address.
Q. Who will your book benefit, apart from marketers?
Parameswaran: The book is ideal for brand managers and marketing managers. Ideally, this can be a part of their library, meant to be referred to as and when the need arises. The exhaustive appendices can be of daily use to a practising manager.
In my discussions with several heads of management schools, I have found that they, too, are looking at creating brand management courses more specifically aimed at Indian concepts. So, this book can be useful to students, too.
Q. Are you planning any follow-up to the book?
Parameswaran: I don’t have any new plans, as of now. A second volume of the FCB-Ulka Cases book is on the anvil, which will be out perhaps after July 2006.
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