Pooja Yadav

Brand heads take control of startups: how has the game changed?

At the first edition of afaqs! Startup Brands Summit, marketers discuss the changes that take place, when they move from a global brand to a startup.

When a marketer moves from a global company to a startup, something changes. In a recent panel discussion, afaqs! talked to brand heads, who are now building their own startups, to learn more about the challenges, distribution and their growth journeys.

During the discussion on the theme of Building Brand Trust, at the first edition of the Startup Brands Summit by afaqs!, marketers talked about how brand heads change the game, when they take control of startups.

Moderated by Ashwini Gangal, editorial consultant, afaqs!, the panellists included Prateek Mukherjee, head - new businesses & brands (brand factory) Mamaearth; Priti Rajput, vice president marketing, WOW Skin Science; and Romil Lodaya, vice president marketing, Kapiva.

Rajput, who earlier worked as global head of category, Godrej Consumer Products (GCPL), talked about how things have changed for her, ever since she moved from a big company to a startup.

"The biggest difference happens when you're with a legacy brand. It's like you're living a dream, when you're associated with a global brand. But in startups, you're building the dream yourself. Your know-how changes as now, you're on a journey of building a brand."

Mukherjee, who has been a part of brands like Procter & Gamble (P&G), Gillette and Urban Company, shares, "One important thing that has changed, is the speed of doing things. While working for a brand like Gillette, you need to take care of global equity and the time you take to strategise, whereas for startups, the world is extremely fast. Startups have executed well and, so, there is a big mindset shift in this business."

Lodaya, who was a brand manager at Cipla earlier, mentions, "Startup is about speed, it gives (you) the ability to test. Startup brings fundamental changes to how you look and approach any preposition. From operating marketing in a large company to building brick by brick for consumers, is the major fundamental shift that a startup brings."

When it comes to brand trust, there's surely a paradigm shift in approach, when a marketing executive, with a big brand experience, takes control of startups. But how do these brands calibrate their risks?

Mukherjee responds, "We're very close to our consumers. We seek feedback and engage with our consumers to know the insights. By keeping ourselves close to our consumers, we're able to mitigate some risks."

Lodaya adds, "To stand out from brands like Dabur or Patanjali, we need to engage with our consumers, and keep on changing our formulations and ingredients. For this, we offer free consultation to everyone, so as to get more consumer engagement."

According to the panellists, brands can fail, or succeed, but they need to know why they're doing it. Rajput shares, "Many times brands fail and succeed. It all depends on how you play the game to build the brand."

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