he world of business is full of jargon. What’s more, it is an unfortunate truth that not many really understand the true meaning of much of this jargon. As companies push ahead in the eager pursuit of growth, there is a tendency to adopt quick-fix measures, in the hope that they will help the company. This tendency is an especially stark truth in India, given the country’s bias towards jugaad. In the pursuit of jugaad, we may have compromised on depth, on expertise.
This is true of the concept of branding too. More than 100 years old now, this concept is still groaning under the brunt of misconceptions. For instance, many companies in India (irrespective of industry and size) seem to think that branding is all about coining a brand name and tagline, and creating a logo. It is common to hear someone ask ‘Can you increase the size of the branding in that ad?’ in an obvious reference to the company’s logo!
But these are just the ‘visual’ elements of a brand. The brand, in its totality, is much more than a name, logo or tagline there is advanced science associated with branding. As Nalin Khannaa, CEO of Vertebrand Management Consulting Pvt. Ltd., points out “The brand is at the heart of every business. It is a weapon that can power a business to profitable growth. But, it has to be developed and nurtured scientifically’.
Since its inception 15 years ago, Vertebrand, a leading marketing and brand consulting firm, has been helping companies grow their business by leveraging their brands effectively. Taking the ‘brand’ route may seem to be an unlikely way to achieve business growth. However, going by the client roster of this boutique consulting firm, it seems to be a route that many forward-thinking companies are vouching for. Over the years, Vertebrand has helped leading companies from various industries across India. It counts Apollo Hospitals, Blue Star, TVS Group, TAFE, the Mahindra Group, Ashok Leyland, Dainik Bhaskar and Shriram Properties among its valued clients.
In a market that is awash with brand consulting firms of all hues and sizes, Verterbrand stands out for a few strong reasons. Chief among them is its deep and holistic knowledge of branding. Of what it takes to build strong, differentiated brands.As Mr. Khannaa says “While most brand consulting firms see branding as an art alone, we see it as a blend of art and science.Science helps us unearth relevant insights of the market, while art helps us create magic with those insights.’ This is where the company’s range of proprietary tools helps. Some of the proprietary tools developed and deployed by Vertebrand are:
•V-Scan: for new-market entry and estimating the potential for a new product or service.
•V-Shape: to convert business vision into a brand strategy.
•V-SOP: a systematic process by which a retail chain can develop standard operating procedures.
•V-Trak: a retail audit for helping clients to decide what's right for their retail chain.
Our Government and also the
industry will have to pay due
attention to the allied theme of
'Brand in India' because, ensuring
that strong brands are built in
the country is an important first
step to attracting more MNCs and
•V-Scope: for measuring and tracking brand health in qualitative and quantitative terms.
•V-Cap: to estimate the total financial value of a brand.
Another factor that sets the company apart is its single-minded focus on its clients’ business objectives.
This means that the team at Vertebrand first understands the client’s business context and objectives, and then puts together a customised solution accordingly. “For us, listening to the client is of paramount importance. Every client has a unique vision, a unique story and unique opportunities/challenges. We do not offer standardised, template solutions, because we know that won’t help our clients’, says Khannaa.
And finally, there is the deep understanding of India. The team of consultants at Vertebrand has an insightful grip on the Indian market and its several micro-markets, on every dimension (geographically, culturally, demographically, industry-wise, etc.).
“Our clients know their product or service inside out. How we add value is by helping them take this product or service to the market and build a strong connection with the relevant consumer segments”, says Anustup Datta, Director-Brand & Business Strategy at Vertebrand.In the early days, the company did face a challenge in convincing clients to take a scientific route to brand management. However, as it built a solid body of work, it became progressively easier to convince other clients. Today, Khannaa says they are in a happy space. “More Indian companies are realising that branding can be a lever for profitable business growth. They are now looking beyond just the visual elements of a brand, and embracing a holistic branding philosophy. This is good; we are here to help them!” he says with a smile.
This perspective on branding makes sense at a larger level too.With a lot of talk in the media and Government circles about ‘Make in India’, it is time the Government and the industry gave due attention to the allied theme of ‘Brand in India’. Because, ensuring that strong brands are built in the country is an important first step to attracting more MNCs and foreign investors. After all, strongbrands are symbols of good business. They give out a clear signal that it is possible to prosper in a given market. Vertebrand is therefore trying to work with key industry bodies to create a ‘Brand in India’ agenda.
Vertebrand continues to grow from strength to strength, spreading its wings in the process. In keeping with the rapidly changing dynamics of the market, it has added capabilities in the areas of Digital Marketing and Internal Brand Alignment too. Khannaa says there is a huge need for these services in India. Given its expertise in the domain of Branding/Marketing, Vertebrand is well-placed to tap into these opportunities.
“Even as we evolve, we will continue to focus on building and managing brands scientifically for our clients, and help enhance the value of their brands.’ says Khannaa, as he signs off.