Category Archives: Brand Consulting

Why brand

To make business a successful or profitable venture, it has to develop a brand that its target audience recognises it with. It becomes easier for the business to grow and develop successful customer relationships. Although many people think that building a brand is complicated, just follow a few steps and you are already on the right track.

Decide what you plan to brand and do a research on your target audience
Before engaging in the brand development process, it is important to do some research work and decide what you would like to brand. Generally, there are choices between branding a person, a company, a service or even a particular product. Once a decision has been made regarding what will be branded, it then becomes crucial to ensure that enough time is spent on researching your target market. Once this has been done, it is then essential to learn as much as possible about the product, service or individual that you intend to market.

Decide the brand definition and positioning
After researching your target audience, it is important to take time to develop a brand definition that clearly explains what is being offered, and how the product or service you have to offer is different from what is already out there. It should also inform your target market how they will benefit from using it and what guarantee you offer to those who choose to use your service or product. From here, the next step is to win a place in the market for what you have to offer. This can be done by giving them solutions to problems or needs that previously could not be solved or met.

Develop a brand name, tagline and a logo
These three aspects are extremely important in the brand development process as they help to ensure that your business or service offering stands out clearly among others who may have the same offerings. By designing a logo and compiling a memorable tagline, you can be sure that customers will be able to remember not only your business name, but also what you are able to do for them. Once this has been done, it is time to launch your brand and market it.

Manage your brand
By offering consistent customer service and products, you will be able to manage your brand very well. Once the market is aware of the high quality goods or services that you have to offer, you will be well on your way to effectively mastering the brand development process. It is also important to ensure that any negative publicity is dealt with as professionally as possible in order to maintain the reputation of your brand.

These steps will show you the way to develop a winning brand. Once you have achieved this, it may become necessary to adjust your branding approach on occasions to ensure that your company identity is kept up to date. And if you need any kind of professional assistance during or after the process, get in touch with us at info@industree.in

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Challenges of being a Consultant in India

Many of our experiences and interactions suggest that consulting in India is way different from anywhereelseelse in the world. Consulting is a painful job in India especially if you are a small firm with limited resources. Why I say this is because consulting is a demanding job here. Customers tend to look at you as a game changer and they expect you to turnaround the whole situation like magic. Which is extremely impossible and not a day’s work. It needs understanding between both the client and the consulting company, what are the expectations, goals, etc. And then there is another reason, consulting fees are hardly paid in India, everybody wants to take a few tips and orientation from here and off the table there.

I will focus on a few challenges that consultants usually face in India but please don’t make this as a case because situations may differ from one firm to other.

The client and consultant sit together to define the “scope” of the assignment i.e. what would be the deliverable. But uncontrolled changes or continuous growth in a project’s scope actually haunts the consultants and clients regularly. This is because the scope is inadequately defined due to the underlying complexity of the problem, improper pitch made by the consulting firms or because of the client simply focusing on the end results without fully appreciating the problem at hand. In price-sensitive India, keep expectations low on business class travels and luxury hotels that’s associated with a consulting job.

Acquiring adequate data is a major issue here, most of the things go untapped or hence is the reason for flawed data reports. The need for 3-4 types of ID proofs in India is another proof that data is not “proven” yet. So you may have a hard time drawing meaningful insights from them.

Consultants are no scientists, they rely on innovation or improvisation to draw insights and a major source for these insights is wisdom fetched, be it in the form of knowledge various team members or experiences gained through previous engagements in similar industries or by handling similar issues. With major consulting firms having less than two decades of presence in India and the country witnessing major changes in the intervening period, one may still be some distance away from being “too-old” to “know it all” in India. Similarly for the clients, one of the major reasons for their apprehensions or expectations is their limited experience of engaging with the consultants.

India is a vast and diverse country, a sector may be organized and consolidated but it may still be unexplored somewhere else. With time you may get an idea about a particular market in India but to come up with findings that apply to the entire country, you may have to assess them separately and independently. This would be time consuming and require to explore as an individual or tapping into local resources if available. Different languages, cultures, varied population, etc. will give you a tough time.

In order to crack the nut, as a consultant, you may have to conduct interviews at the client end, participate in group discussions, touch-base with competitors and other stakeholders. It’s not easy to convince the external stakeholders to spare a few minutes for  unless you are a woman. One of the major roadblocks is the inability of the prospective interviewees to differentiate industry standards or information from strategic and confidential information. While it could also boil down to consultant’s ability to engage with the interviewee but I would also attribute the lack of openness to the Indian culture of family owned businesses where they mainly rely on close relatives for critical tasks or for sharing useful information.

India is indeed a challenging space for consulting but with the right attitude there are rewards awaiting.

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being a small start-up

Starting a business can be exhilarating and fulfilling, but in course it can get complicated and may challenge you in many ways. Challenges and problems will be nothing new but will be something we have often seen happening to others.

Most small businesses fail because of lack of cash flow. Study says that 79 percent of small business failures cited “starting out with too little money” as one of the reasons for the business downfall because owners borrow based on their ideas of a successful business, instead of borrowing for a worst-case scenario. A start-up business owner needs to be optimistic, but often is too optimistic about seeing profits. Without adequate cash flow, slow sales or a downturn in the market can end the business before it has a chance to gain momentum.

Common problem for new businesses is to hurry into marketing campaigns without understanding the actual target market. The costs associated with marketing is stiff and if a business does not know who its target market is, then the money may go wasted. With incorrect messaging the reach is limited and don’t reach the target audience.

A start-up requires tremendous effort, commitment and strong will to make it a success. Add to this the financial stress of a fledgling business. Start-up business owners often have problems balancing the overwhelming demands of the company, if the stress of the workplace spreads into the home, the business owner may feel pressure around the clock.

A common problem for most entrepreneurs is the belief that they can handle all of the start-up’s operations by themselves. It may be a cost-effective way to run the business, but operating the entire business on your own may not be a wise decision or the best use of your time. Many small-business start-ups may not require full-time employees. But it’s a good idea to have at least one or two teammates who are ready to help. With experienced, reliable assistance you can avoid other common business mistakes. When it is time to hire staff, be careful in your choices, employees are a crucial component in the success of your business.

But as a matter of fact hiring is also a big problem for small companies, atleast in a business like mine. We offer marketing solutions and are often in need of high-end graphic designers, writers and editors. And these creative people don’t come cheap, so most of the time hiring them is out of question, thus, use them on contractual basis. Contract has its own issues in our country, India where we operate. Most workers are never committed. Also, since we are a small company, many people don’t like to work for us as we are too small and are kind of perceived as unstable, have no brand identity. Hence, the moment they get an opportunity from a bigger company they shift jobs.

Since you are competing with big fish it does not mean you have to quote rock bottom prices. Pricing your goods and services too low can delay the process of turning a profit. Instead list fair prices and make sure your start-up excels in customer service and delivery. Its very important to excel in any field and customers do appreciate on-time response.

One thing I got to say, its tough but not impossible.

This a guest post by Ms. Thapa, Twitter @bijeta

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Brands are not built overnight

This is a guest post

I have good understanding of how businesses in America, UK, Europe and many other countries operate. For them, marketing is an important aspect and the whole company and its ideologies are based on it. And that’s also the reason why even the youngest companies also have a very strong value in the market place.

Here in India, its exactly the opposite. There is a gap in understanding the need of a brand. There are many reasons that support it, most important one is, companies are not funded and are very dependent on the sales report determined every month end. Which automatically deviates the resources towards increasing sales force and equipping the department with all they need leaving marketing far ashore. Let me share this, recently, I was in a meeting at a potential client’s office. The CEO says, ‘no we don’t want to brand’, then she added, ‘we are already a branded company, people know us, we get covered by various papers all the time’. Then she asks me, ‘what do you mean by branding’. I gave her the example of Nike’s Swoosh. She said, ‘well, we first need money coming in then we will think about branding’.

I just want to bring this to the notice that branding is not so expensive as many businesses are worried about. And as a matter of fact, brand is not built overnight, it needs time, patience and perseverance from its creators and visionaries. Its important to create a brand identity right in the beginning so that all communication, website, collateral, logo, etc. are in line with the brand identity from day one. For a start-up, a nice working logical website with information easily available on the website is a staple. Or else what’s going to happen is, a company operates for sometime, has different stationery and collateral. There is no clarity on what and when to use, and ultimately it comes to a situation when a staff send out a mail, it has a different look and when the other one communicates, its different. This kind of chaos only creates dilemma and questions in your counterpart. If you cannot manage your own communication, how are they going to manage work for others and this means it can also cost business.

Hence, professional vibe is extremely important for succeeding in business. In the past, we have experience of working with start-ups like PolicyBazaar and VitalWires. Lets focus on VitalWires, at that point of time it was known as Gravity Microsystems, a SAP consulting firm. In 2010 the company was looking for a partner to help them rebrand from scratch. Industree had the opportunity to be associated with the company right from name selection to setting brand identity, guidelines and marketing strategy. We had a couple of meetings with the board and team members to understand their ideas and vison for the company. In over a year’s time, VitalWires transition was a success. Today, they are a strong team of 40-50 employees based out of Gurgaon.

We helped them create a brand guideline which includes brand identity, objective, target, story and personality. I also realized that developing the guideline really helped the company because it clearly described what all they could perform. Since templates and product lines were also developed based on the guideline, all brand elements were used as mentioned in the guideline. Which meant all outgoing communication was consistent and focused. The color palette also addressed the need of showcasing VitalWires as a no nonsense company. The main color ‘blue’ stands for inspiration, sincerity and spirituality, which actually is the objective of VitalWires. We also managed their online activities, content development and time to time need basis work. It was a satisfying project and we made it happen.

This is for the readers, marketing is not so expensive as it is perceived to be. Of course, it will be a different story if you are going by Above the Line (ATL) activities to market. However, I have something in mind to say about ATL, which we shall do in the future post.

If you are a start-up, don’t wait for the last moment to start marketing your organization, because as I said earlier, start early and brand it right. You will save time, energy and money. When you are new, work pressure is less and you have the patience and time to spare. As time passes, you know what works and what does not and accordingly you may adjust when things when the business is still young. Hire a professional company to assist in creating a brand identity and they will suggest you the rest.

Hope this post is helpful to many small sized businesses because that’s where branding is mostly neglected.

Bijeta is the author of this article, she is the founder and director of Industree since its inception. You can follow her on Twitter

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Defining Target Customers

While positioning a brand we generally come up with primary, secondary and tertiary target customers. The primary purpose of defining target customers in the brand positioning stage is important, it helps establish the target customer clearly in mind when thinking about brand benefits and relevant differentiation. The more detailed the target customer description, the more powerful is the brand’s unique value proposition. It will also help later when marketers need to develop marketing and media plans. Idea is to hit the bulls-eye of the target so that a there is a firm understanding of primary customer, but knowing that your brand will also appeal to people outside of this bulls-eye. Often, there are influencers and approvers in purchase, especially in B2B situations. In fact, there are sometimes committees of people involved in the purchase decision. Regarding target customers versus target audiences versus target markets, to a large extent, different people use these terms to mean the same thing. For manufactures, often the question is “Should our primary target be direct customers (distributors, retailers or resellers) or should it be the end consumer?” Of course, we always want end consumers to be our primary customers.

Its important to get attention of the ideal or primary target customer as much as possible when positioning the brand. For instance, we have positioned one restaurant chain having two different target customers.

there is this one restaurant chain whose target markets are so diverse that one set of customers considers it as a “special occasion” restaurant, they would dress up to dine in this restaurant. While there is another set of customers who considers it to be their everyday casual dining restaurant of choice and feel completely comfortable dining in casuals and dine their often. The first market type may dine in this restaurant once or twice a year (or less), while the second market is likely to dine there on a regular basis.

Now the job is done, customer target is defined. Its time to consider how this restaurant must cater to both audiences.

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