When The Going Gets Tough

In this day and age where a single customer has thousands of brands to choose from, how can corporations in India protect their brands to become the first choice of any buyer?

Gone are the days when companies in India more or less operated in a monopolistic environment. Post liberalisation has not only led to an inflow of multinational competitors, but more so has increased the choices for the Indian customers. In such an environment, can companies protect their future just by looking at their profits at the end of the year? Certainly not. The concept of brand value is still at a nascent stage in the Indian market. However, companies in India today have just started realising the importance of brand as an economic value generator. The concept of brand valuation was pioneered by Interbrand Corporation, a global brand consultancy which generates ranking for the Top 100 Global Brands every year. One of the most surprising things in the league table is that no Indian company ranks in the top 100. Does that mean companies like Infosys, Wipro, Tata and Reliance have not yet reached the level of being considered as ‘global’? In August 2005, the TATA brand was valued at $6 billion (over Rs. 30000 crores), a sufficient number to include itself in the top 50 global brand ranking.

Organisations must not look at brand valuation in isolation. Although, every company would be interested in knowing the value of its brand; the important thing is to learn how to sustain it and thereafter leverage that value within the entire organisation’s system. Valuing an intangible asset like ‘brand’ is not driven by a formula. It is a logical analysis of every element that drives the value of that particular brand. Indian management consultancy like Equitor have taken this a step further and have started developing a model that allows an organisation to convert its intangible assets into tangible outcomes through the use of a balanced scorecard.

Looking at the current scenario in the Indian market, there is no alternative to investing in brand as an asset to secure future earnings. And to make that future sustainable, it is how the brand behaves on a daily basis; which means how the brand makes sure that it is consistently meeting the promises it is making everyday in every interaction that the organisation’s stakeholders have with that particular brand.

What is interesting to realise is that many companies fail to understand how to live up to the promises it makes to its final customers. By using communication tools such as advertising, organisations often tend to make the mistake of over promising. Why? Because most organisations often tend to try and fulfil that promise by focussing only on the final product or service; thus ignoring the entire channel that enables that product or service to reach that final customer. How would you feel interacting with a salesperson at a BMW showroom who lacks a strong passion for ‘speed’? The point is simple. Every customer touchpoint should reflect the values of the brand. And to do this, there is a logical step-by-step process which needs to be put in place.

Changing your customer’s perception about your brand is not difficult provided you give him/her clarity as to what you are offering and prove it on the ground. This clarity cannot come through advertising. It is your actions that should speak louder than your words!

Gaurav Bahirvani is a Strategic Brand Consultant & Business Head at Equitor Management Consulting Pvt. Ltd. For any queries or feedback, email gaurav@equitorindia.com OR visit http://www.equitorindia.com

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