Let us face it. Building brands were/are always difficult in India. Hence, we have had only few National Brands. In the Earlier days, Print, radio and television ads were prohibitively expensive. Furthermore, unreliable transportation and a complicated system of levies often meant selling countrywide was unfeasible. However, the digital revolution and GST has solved most of the peripheral problems.
Fast forward to the current, we have Regional brands aspiring to go national and there is plethora of new brands in every segment now, catering to all price points. There are numerous new brands coming up every day; anyone can import goods and package it as a brand. So, what changed? The entry barriers have drastically come down. Income Mobility have made aspiring Indians brand conscious ,even at lower price points. As Indians have more choices, brand and quality perception have become intermingled. Aggregators have also given brands “somewhat” level playing field. However, crowding of Brands on aggregator platforms makes building identity difficult.
So, how does one go about building a Brand?. First, knowledge of demand trends is vital to determine your product/market distribution mix otherwise it may become too risky. Fulfilment windows have shortened for customers. The world we now live in has become pretty much “on-demand”, if not available when one needs it, a company may lose business. Brick and Mortar still plays a dominant role, But newer channels have emerged. ecommerce was a trend years ago. Currently, India is omni-channel.
What is the way forward for consumer businesses to build their Brands – One needs to have ability to meet “on-demand” even from Brick and Mortar stores. In addition, a robust online presence (own, external, aggregator) and an offline fulfilment solution is not just a Wishlist anymore. It needs to be a part of future digital strategy. Brand campaigns & promotions should happen at an omni-channel level. Customer loyalty & Dealer/Franchise loyalty by driving/directing business to nearest store. Every business needs to have a unified Dashboard to have real time metrics and get advertising ROI. They should have store-level sales view to plan optimum number of external partners and plan discounts/flash sales and finally expanding distribution network via “trusted” sources to prevent cannibalization.