Saumya Tewari

Brand Owner's Summit 2015: Building brands in a diverse market

At the Brand Owners Summit held in New Delhi, the audience was treated to insights on marketing and building a long-term brand in a diverse Indian market.

The maiden edition of Brand Owners Summit saw participation from marketing heads from both traditional and new age businesses. Held at Le Meridian, New Delhi, on October 21, the day-long event had speakers from diverse segments ranging from the 86-year-old DS Group to the upcoming experiential brand Chaayos.

Brand Owner's Summit 2015: Building brands in a diverse market
The event kickstarted with an insightful session on 'The art and science of long-term brand building in diverse markets' with C K Sharma, business head, DS Group. The Rs 7,500 crore company operates in categories like mouth fresheners (Rajnigandha, Pass Pass), foods (Catch Masala) and hospitality (tie-ups with Radison).

Highlighting the importance of branding in a highly cluttered and competitive market, Sharma says branding allows companies to charge a premium and hence, is critical.

Citing the example of the Apple brand, he says it is crucial for companies to innovate their business models. Companies such as BlackBerry and Nokia, which were used to a particular way of doing business, became redundant over a period of time. He further cited the example of brands that have created a niche for themselves in age-old categories by creating their own space. In his list, brands like Zara (textile), Fastrack (watches) and Rajnigandha have continuously evolved themselves.

"Change and looking at new businesses is important. It is crucial to revisit the mantras and innovation," Sharma said.

Brand Owner's Summit 2015: Building brands in a diverse market
Deepak Shetty, chief marketing officer, Moser Baer, spoke on 'Handling disruption and sustaining a brand through continuous innovation'. Shetty traced his brand's journey which went through product innovation from a floppy disk to CD/DVD and had now entered the LED lighting category.

The company started manufacturing CDs and DVDs in 1989 and it was only in 2002, that the Moser Baer brand was launched. In India, the brand was selling close to 100 million discs. It later entered the Photovoltaic category but got disrupted by China's pricing globally. However, it kept pace with the changing times, and entered the Pen drive category.

"While designing a product, one needs to keep 'tomorrow' in mind and not cut corners when it comes to quality. To us, disruption is something which helps create a new market and value network which eventually changes your regular way of doing business. Either we disrupt, or get disrupted, there's no third way of doing it," Shetty explains.

Recalling how Moser Baer disrupted the optical media business in India, he shares that the company brought an economical range of CD/DVDs bolstered with extensive distribution. The features included scratch proof, blu-ray, archival, rewritable and dual layer discs with a range of price points. They also offered 100 per cent replacement guarantee. Today, the company claims to have 60 per cent of the market share in this segment.

The company also launched aesthetic pen drives with topical designs which included IPL or Independence Day special editions.

Brand Owner's Summit 2015: Building brands in a diverse market
Brand Owner's Summit 2015: Building brands in a diverse market
However, he concedes that while trying to disrupt the home entertainment space with DVDs priced at Rs 50 the company lost on the channel margin and hence, the market. Moser Baer also faltered by buying content rights for home video not knowing that digital will take over.

The company now aims to create disruption in the LED lighting space, Shetty informs about the new product launch. "We created a product which will solve the problem of both voltage and power fluctuation. We've embarked on the journey of LED lighting and that's where we want to create disruption."

Presenting interesting insights from radio advertising was Ashwin Padmanabhan, chief operating officer, Reliance Broadcast Network. He cited examples of how his brand Big FM, has created properties like Fakebook with Kavita, Family Fortunes creating engaging content. He also doled out tips on how best brands can advertise on radio through branded content weaving their proposition in it.

Meanwhile, Priya Jayaraman, co-founder and business director, Propaganda India, gave a sneak peak into how their agency has been helping brands with their digital footprint going beyond social media.