Recent Brand Stories
The entry of technology and mobile application-based services has led to a massive transformation in how the food industry operates. With consumer demographics comprising young and urban professionals, FoodTech has been amongst the most promising sectors within the Indian startup ecosystem.Segments like box delivery and on-demand meals are becoming increasingly popular, leading to an unprecedented number of startups joining the race for market share. In this vast scope of venture opportunities, Brand Capital provides marketing and advertising leverage to startups that have the potential to make it big through its branding prism. One such startup that has flourished with Brand Capital's advertising strategies is Faasos - India's leading Food-tech company. Faasos was started by Jaydeep Barman and Kallol Banerjee in 2011 with the vision of being an Indian Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) brand. The company quickly expanded to multicity operations and grew to over 50 stores in the next few years. However, the challenges that the availability of retail infrastructure posed on a pure retail play was soon evident. In mid-2014, Faasos conducted a survey among its users to understand two things: awareness of the brand and whether the full-stack model was working. The survey results proved to be an eye-opener: over 76% of the respondents had never 'seen' a Faasos store, but still ordered food from it. The company embraced technology to move to "online only" demand play. This effectively meant that the company could avoid costly rentals in high footfall areas and instead operate out of dark kitchens (100% delivery orders) located anywhere in a catchment. Two new markets Hyderabad and NCR were launched without a single visible outlet. The success proved the model beyond doubt. The advent of ordering apps, however, posed the next challenge. How to be relevant for more and more food ordering missions of the customer. This lead to a key insight and the next stage of the evolution of the company. The company started experimenting with multiple brands operating out of the same kitchen and hence riding on the same supply chain and technology stack. Today the opening of a Faasos kitchen in a locality is equivalent to opening 8 new restaurants offering different cuisines. The branding made sure that they catered to different food missions as far as the consumer was concerned. Startups have risen and fallen due to weak branding and marketing strategies. And sure enough, Faasos dealt with a few of its own challenges. It was during this time the co-founders decided to partner with Brand Capital, the strategic investment arm of the Times Group, to establish an effective & sustainable branding strategy. Brand Capital decided to build on these strengths and focused on building a strong customer relationship in Tier 1 & 2 cities. They helped Faasos reach their potential target audience across India. Faasos launched their app in July 2014 and delivered this message using print media properties such as the main edition of Times of India. This created the required buzz and Faasos scaled up to unimaginable heights! Today, the company, which had six outlets in Pune in 2011, is present in 15 cities and services 30,000+ orders every day across India. 95% of their orders are received via their mobile application. Faasos has come a long way since its inception but has always stuck by their brand agenda - 'Eat Good, Eat Exciting!' It has been almost 7 years since Jaydeep Barman co-founded Faasos with Kallol Banerjee. Being in this space for over a decade, Jaydeep speaks from experience and shares the following key points for young entrepreneurs wanting to build a QSR or a food-tech startup: Entrepreneurship is, in essence, a form of protest against status quo. Be very clear what form of protest it is. A statement ( a small and personally supervised operation) or a movement ( which will involve relying on other people's judgment). Choose what you want to inspect very carefully because only what you inspect will improve and innovate. Try to solve problems at its causal level and through technology. More people and more money will only postpone the inevitable. Remind yourself every day that people generally come to work with the intention of achieving something worthwhile. Build the enabling environment. To know more about Brand Capital, visit here / Follow on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Entrepreneurship is gathering momentum in India. Ambitious entrepreneurs are bringing in innovations and disrupting the Indian market. Leading English News Channel for business, ET NOW, kick-started the seventh edition of its landmark, year-long initiative, Leaders of Tomorrow to empower such entrepreneurs in the MSME sector. Whitney Johnson of WLJ Advisors, Sam Subramaniam, CEO of Brand Capital and a panel of India's celebrated business thinkers were present at the Leaders of Tomorrow masterclass on 'Entrepreneurial Excellence - Disruptive Innovation' held on 30th May in Mumbai. Leaders of Tomorrow kicked off their 7th Season through an Entrepreneurial Excellence Masterclass on Disruptive Innovation. "Companies don't actually disrupt, it's the people who do. But people are getting bored which is leading to attrition," said Whitney at the workshop. "If you give people an opportunity to learn they will want to work with your company," she added. Whitney believes that people are hired for their disruptive potential to provide breakthrough solutions rather than their proficiency and professional conduct. Whitney Johnson of WLJ Advisors is recognized as one of the 50 leading business thinkers in the world by Thinkers50. She is an expert on disruptive innovation and personal disruption, and an acclaimed author of the book 'Disrupt Yourself'. Joining Whitney Johnson on the masterclass was a power-packed panel consisting of Sam Subramaniam, CEO of Brand Capital; Dr. Amit Kapoor, Chairman of Institute for Competitiveness; Meera Shenoy, Founder of Youth4Jobs and Ganesh KN, Professor at IIM Indore. Sunanda Jayaseelan, moderator and editor of the show, engaged with the panel in an enlightening discussion on disruption and innovation. Brand Capital's CEO Sam Subramaniam was present for the masterclass on Disruptive Innovations. He is a prominent example in building thriving business in the industry and creating disruptive growth strategies for portfolio companies. Sam will drive Brand Capital through the next wave of innovation and growth in the Indian entrepreneurial community. Brand Capital, the strategic investment arm of the Times Group, has played a major role in helping disruptive businesses thrive over the past decade. It believes that entrepreneurial drive is the most positive force in the market which generates sustainable economic value. Collaborating with brands as their strategic-cum-media investment partners, Brand Capital has leveraged brand-led growth for 180 companies and more to reach their potential and business goals. Through its innovative mentoring session - ScaleUp, Brand Capital provides guidance and direction to budding entrepreneurs by industry experts. Brand Capital uses its unique models to fund long-term brand building efforts of a company. One such model is Brand Estate that helps lay a strong foundation for real estate ventures and helps them to stand out and stand apart in the industry. Brand Capital | Springboard helps early-stage ventures to jumpstart in the market that have the potential to become scalable businesses. Businesses that want to leapfrog from good to great and have a special product with ambitions to become a recognized brand look up to Brand Capital's distinctive model Brand Scope. One notable example of Brand Capital's disruptive portfolio companies is Thyrocare, one of the leading diabetes health clinic in India. Brand Capital aided Thyrocare in reaching out to the consumers, built stature and made it a trustworthy brand. The first phase of the communication objective of Thyrocare was to drive awareness and create a consumer pull which was anchored across several campaigns on Times of India and other Wellness supplements. The second phase was to induce trials for Thyrocare and drive home the features of affordability, quick turn-around and various health test packages. The third phase was generating investor attention which was effectively delivered through communication across The Economic Times and TV channels, Times Now. The Brand Capital association played a pivotal role in helping Thyrocare punch above its competition and position themselves as a leader in the healthcare and diabetes market. The masterclass saw an in-depth conversation with other panel discussions who are strongly impacting the society around them. Dr. Amit Kapoor, President and CEO of India Council on Competitiveness, is a recognized public speaker on strategy, shared value, social progress, competitiveness and economic development. Meera Shenoy, another panel member, is a well-known social change maker who has dedicated her life to skilling underprivileged youth for jobs. Professor Ganesh KN is an expert in the areas of research and product innovation, strategic management and entrepreneurship. He stated that we are living in the age of disruption and technologies are giving rise to new businesses with innovative business models. ET NOW's Leaders of Tomorrow show will help unleash the potential of Indian entrepreneurs and inspire them to take their aspirations to the next level. Catch the series telecast on ET NOW from Mondays to Thursdays at 10:30 PM and 8 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. To know more about Brand Capital, visit www.brandcapital.co.in / Follow on LinkedIn and Twitter
The Indian Healthcare sector presents a plethora of opportunities for first-generation entrepreneurs. However, even with the right start and ever-growing traction, it is always good to get guidance or even validation from the right people, who can help to better navigate choppy startup waters. Brand Capital curated a mentoring session in Bangalore to help Healthcare entrepreneurs meet experienced mentors who talked them through these challenges. Brand Capital is the strategic investment arm of The Times Group, with a portfolio worth a few billion dollars. As part of its vision of providing value beyond capital, Brand Capital invites young entrepreneurs for exclusive mentoring sessions with industry stalwarts. These experts help entrepreneurs envision growth plans in areas such as business strategy, branding, distribution, finance, and funding. ` The start-up wave has caught the fancy of first time Healthcare entrepreneurs. From online marketplaces and aggregators to medical devices and applications of deep tech like AI, IOT, and genomics for analytics, many companies are disrupting the traditional healthcare sector which was dominated by large foreign players with significant capital efficiency. Brand Capital believes that the Indian healthcare market, which is booming and anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 15% to USD 280 bn by 2020, holds a huge potential. With a burgeoning population and varied consumer preferences, each niche is big enough offer for branded play. While more than 70% of India's population lives in rural areas with no or limited access to hospitals and clinics, start-ups will be the key to providing healthcare to underserved rural Indians. Entrepreneurs in healthcare space have to focus on multiple aspects like accreditations from international bodies, long lead times, barriers to usage, product differentiation, brand building, and distribution network. Often there are many options and need for agile decisions that make a significant impact on the very survival of businesses. Founders need guidance from industry experts to help make decisions. Mentors On 30th of May 2018, Brand Capital organised a session for mentoring select group of entrepreneurs in the Healthcare space. While these entrepreneurs had the right product idea, they needed mentors to guide them on how to establish a brand presence and scale up operations. Brand Capital curated an esteemed panel comprising industry stalwarts and domain experts to mentor these entrepreneurs. The panel of mentors included Dr. BS Ajai Kumar, Chairman and CEO of HCG; Faizan Aziz, Co-founder and CEO of Myra Medicines; Prashant Jhaveri, Chief Business Officer of MediAssist; Vinay Subramanian, Investment Director at Stakboat; Jaishiv Natrajan, Angel Investor & founder of Herbologica Limited; Mr. Ramoji Tejomurtula, Managing Director of MEMG CDC; Dr. Mudit Saxena, CEO and Managing Director of Ovum Hospitals; Archana Priyadarshini, Partner at Unicorn India Ventures; Venkatesh Kempalingaiah, Director of Aarin Capital. Mentee Companies The mentee companies were predominantly from the wellness and data analytics sector with focus on lifestyle diseases namely - Wellbeeing - an integrated medical centre integrating conventional complementary and alternative medicine; Trident - an innovative platform where labs can communicate and generate report anywhere anytime through cloud computing; Vitacloud - a digital therapeutic solution to empower people to prevent manage and overcome their chronic condition; 5th Vital - provides on-door phlebotomist service to identify any ailments in time; Inito - a breakthrough technology to help conceive faster and Wellth - building technologies to make quantified wellness accessible, habitual and rewarding. Excerpts from the mentoring session The mentors touched upon various key aspects of the scale-up journey for these businesses and also on the future of the healthcare sector in India. While development of personalised medicine provides a lot of opportunities, there needs to be processes to empower people to get involved in their own healthcare management in a consistent manner. Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic increase in data and the technology to manage it has also emerged. Although it has given way to many new possibilities like speedy diagnosis, real-time tracking, positive lifestyle, convenience of treatment, the challenge lies in integrating these technologies into daily lives so that results are measurable. Patient engagement, optimising the entire 'patient journey' with orientation towards outcome will also be crucial to achieving these ends. Many mentees felt that the healthcare industry continues to face barriers in terms of transparency and trust. Segments like sports wellness and lifestyle devices which are gradually becoming mainstream play a major role in awareness creation. This has also open doors for new relations between healthcare systems and users. All mentee companies expressed gratitude to the mentors for sharing their wisdom and insights at the Brand Capital mentoring program. To know more about Brand Capital, visit www.brandcapital.co.in / Follow on LinkedIn and Twitter
This story is about life lessons of the entrepreneurial journey of Dhruv, the promoter of one of India's leading online travel companies, Yatra. His ups and downs, challenges and triumphs. Successful people like Dhruv often survive failure and misfortune and make their own luck on the road to success. Dhruv's dream as a child was to play cricket for India. He played for school, did well and was looking forward to trials for the state under 15 team. Dhruv discovered during the selection trials that while he was a star player at school, there was a big world out there with several players far better than him. While at college, he set up a unit in Bhiwandi to manufacture chlorinated paraffin wax. The business did not flourish as expected. He worked at Arthur Anderson for seven years after completing his CA post which he went on to do his MBA from INSEAD business school. Dhruv got with an opportunity to work with in an online travel space with eBooker. He joined as Head of Strategy, but soon moved as Head Operations and Technology with over 1,500 people in his team. This role gave him a first-hand feel of running businesses across multiple geographies, managing engineering folks and call-centre armies. As eBooker got acquired in 2005 by Cendant, Dhruv moved out of eBooker to start his entrepreneurial journey. Dhruv and his four colleagues decided to move back to India to start-up an online travel business. They set off on a treasure hunt to convince venture capitalists to invest in their idea. And with the first set of VCs signing their first cheque, they knew they were in business. And thus, was born Yatra.com! Yatra provides information, pricing, availability and booking facilities for domestic and international air travel, domestic and international hotel bookings, holiday packages, inter-city and home-stays and cruises. As a leading platform of accommodation options, Yatra provides real-time bookings for more than 83,000 hotels in India and over 800,000 hotels around the world. The top priority and key challenge for Yatra was to build a team. The first few hires were critical. Dhruv's pitch to potential employees was that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a lasting impact on what would happen in the next 10-20 years. Being in large companies will not help you create a legacy or change the eco-system. You could join to make it happen or stay where you are to see it happen! A totally hard-to-resist pitch and today Yatra has a team of over 2,200 people. Building brand Yatra was another key task for the founding team. With Cleartrip and MakeMyTrip fighting for customers' clicks and their wallet, Yatra had to make a different offering. With an upmarket target audience, Yatra reckoned that there was an opportunity in the Indian middle class. Yatra hence sharpened its focus on domestic travel. Yatra partnered with Brand Capital to shore up its branding efforts. Brand Capital provided an important leverage to Yatra to punch above its weight and challenge the market leader. With a focus on creating a differentiated brand in the online travel agency space, Yatra used print media properties like the main edition of Times of India and Metro Supplements of Times of India consistently. This helped them effectively drive their message to the target audience in India. At the heart of all of Yatra's brand-building initiatives was the discipline of listening to customers. Dhruv believes in building one's business around one's customer rather than one's own perception of what's good or bad. He makes a conscious effort to be out there with the team and be in touch with reality. He wants to make sure that he understands their pain and is a part of their attempt to find solutions. He believes in being visible and approachable and willing to admit one's mistakes. Dhruv's reinforces the raison d'etre of Yatra with his team. He provides them with the larger purpose and makes them come to work every day. It's the leader's job to articulate a vision that excites the team and keeps them going. When one runs a 100-metre race, one may end up feeling tired. One may feel comfortable running several kilometres in a marathon, because one knows, one is yet to finish. The smiling faces behind the computer screen in the corridors of Yatra are the bunch of folks who are clearly running the marathon. The world of the internet may be 'lovely, dark and deep' but Dhruv has promises to keep, and miles to go before he sleeps. Excerpts from the story are from Prakash Iyer's book - You Too Can. To know more about Brand Capital, visit www.brandcapital.co.in / Follow on LinkedIn and Twitter
Did you know that every third Indian could develop diabetes? That if all diabetics formed a country, it would be the 3rd largest country in the world? That a man who was in the fizzy drinks and desserts business would abandon the sweets category with a professional crusade against its chief nemesis, diabetes? Lifespan started off as a standalone clinic on November 14,2014 in South Mumbai. Today it is India's largest chain of Diabetes Management Clinics. Lifespan is present across 10 major cities with 40 clinics and is the preferred destination for more than 50,000 patients. More than 70% of Lifespan patients taking an annual package have seen a marked improvement in their health outcomes by actively following Lifespan's treatment. Lifespan was conceived to have an asset-light, rapidly scalable business model in healthcare given that the prevalent problem at that point of time was that healthcare was becoming too capital intensive leading to longer gestation periods and slow break-even timelines. Its founder, Late Mr. Ashok Jain was diagnosed as diabetic at 37. The doctor told him to take an insulin shot, but didn't tell him how to. So, he began to read about it and tried to learn more. He learned how 80% of all diabetics aren't aware of their condition. In his long journey as a diabetic, he faced several issues. Long waiting hours outside a doctor's clinic. No dietary advice on offer. No counselling. And routinely, patients were advised to take insulin without being told how. Brand Capital|Springboard, which was investing in growth ventures that are category creators called him around that time. As Ashok was waiting patiently outside the diabetes doctor's clinic, an idea flashed in his head. Why not set-up a chain of diabetes clinics where the focus would be on the customer - the patient! A business where patients would not wait for more than 15 mins for clinical consultations, lifestyle counselling and dietary advice too. And Lifespan was born out of the first business plan developed by Brand Capital|Springboard. He had taken a different path all along - studied at home till class 3, eldest of 12 siblings. He chose NITIE over IIT and IISc as it offered an attached bathroom in the hostel room. He was behind the fun, cool, purple-and-pink, challenger ice-cream brand "Dollops" launched by Cadbury. He was also the man behind Cadbury Schweppes orange drink Crush, Canada Dry and the low-priced Sports Cola. Sarthak Jain has since taken over the reins of the business after the sudden demise of his father. He continues to drive Ashok's vision - "To Help India Win Over Diabetes", India being the diabetes capital of the world. The USP of the business has always been "convenience" since diabetes is a lifelong condition. For a patient, Lifespan has a novel offering all under one roof. Be it consultation with a diabetologist, diagnosis and tests, counselling with a dietician and lifestyle educator. Lifespan also offers anti-diabetic-customised food products, available at the clinic. Additionally, Lifespan has Lifespan Pharmacy that delivers medicines to the patients' doorstep as per his/her subscription plans. Lifespan pioneered the R.I.S.C. (Report on Insulin Sensitivity and Control) Technology. The test screens vital parameters for a diabetic and helps indicate risk for complications and offers complete EMR for patients. Everything from tests to prescriptions is digitized and it is probably the only healthcare brand that strictly does not follow hand-written prescriptions. Brand Capital|Springboard has played a pivotal role in orbiting Lifespan's vision to reality. This partnership has been the primary mechanism to help build the brand as the top-of-mind in diabetes management and to educate people about the diabetes epidemic. The access to the Times Group media footprint, the largest in the country, has been key to acquiring the relevant customer for Lifespan. Efficient deployment of print, radio, digital and outdoor media from the Times Group, has ensured that Lifespan has gained the highest share of voice and top of mind recall when it comes to Diabetes Management. This has also amplified Lifespan's voice to get its message across of diabetes management to millions of people across India. This partnership has shrunk the timelines to grow a successful business from a 20-year horizon to 3-4-years. Sarthak's message to all those who do not exercise and experience stress, which are the two most driving factors of diabetes - is to get yourself tested at Lifespan! Brand Capital is the strategic arm of the Times of India group. Brand Capital|Springboard is a business model within Brand Capital which co-creates new growth ventures and businesses of the future along with highly driven entrepreneurs and corporate houses. Brand Capital|Springboard ventures are market disruptors and category creators in themselves. An early-stage growth investor, Brand Capital| Springboard co-creates businesses that cause a non-linear shift in the industry, with cutting-edge innovative products/services, thereby truly redefining the market.
The story is about a home-grown brand that pioneered the cafe culture in India. Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) is the largest cafe chain in India. Cafe Coffee Day comes from a rich coffee growing tradition of over 140 years. It was in the golden soil of Chikmagalur, a town in the Indian state of Karnataka, that a traditional family owned a few acres of coffee estates which yielded rich coffee beans. This gave rise to a business opportunity that resulted in a large and successful coffee empire for the family. The company opened its first CCD outlet in Bengaluru in 1996. It was a coffee shop-cum-cyber cafe that allowed customers to surf the internet. And yes, they could drink coffee too! As the coffee cafe culture in India grew, the need for a relaxed and fun 'hangout' for the aspirational, urban youth in the country began to emerge. Recognizing the potential that lay ahead, CCD embarked on a dynamic journey to become a large organized retail cafe chain with a distinct brand identity of its own. By 2000, they had 22 stores and they had significantly grown over the years. Today there are 1704 Cafe Coffee Day outlets and 45,919 coffee-vending machines across institutions. Cafe Coffee Day's vision was to become an 'experience beyond a cup of coffee'. They wanted to become the first choice destination around the corner for everyone who wanted to relax, socialise and enjoy the best coffee and food. The challenge was to break the consumer mindset that Cafe Coffee Day was 'just another coffee shop'. It was around this time that they partnered with Brand Capital, the strategic investment arm of Times of India group. With exciting new food and beverages being added to the menu regularly, the company utilised a good mix of print ads, strategically located OOH properties and articles to induce trials for the new products and to position itself as 'India's favourite hangout cafe'. The Brand Capital team worked closely with the company's marketing team to better communicate the brand values and to help the company to hold on to its market share in a tough industry with deep-pocketed and well-known foreign players through print campaigns in The Times of India. Today, Cafe Coffee Day has become synonymous with the coffee drinking experience in India. It is the biggest youth destination network in the country. To cater to individual taste and experience needs, the brand developed a multiple format strategy to differentiate addressable customer segments. For two decades, Cafe Coffee Day has passionately been bringing great coffee and cafe experience to consumers. With customer delight at its core, Cafe Coffee Day has been working closely with the coffee growing communities and building on the coffee culture in India. This has led them to carving out a niche for themselves in the cafe space today. Cafe Coffee Day's key strategic approach is based on the 3 A's: Affordability: Cafe Coffee Day is all about offering best in quality food & beverage options at an affordable price without compromising on quality. They believe in providing affordable luxury with offerings at a great value. Accessibility: Cafe Coffee Day believes that there is a need for a cool youth hangout in every neighbourhood and their penetration across the country delivers on this. Amazing Value: The brand provides youth a meeting space where they can unwind, relax and rejuvenate with great food and beverage offerings. Some success mantras of Cafe Coffee Day: Simple habits that great leaders seem to share is that they all wake up early and are careful with their money. Good entrepreneurs, great leaders are seldom fazed with failure. They value those failures rather than let them come in the way of dreaming big. Great entrepreneurial journeys often start with one brave move. Entrepreneurs know that if they don't try, they are sure to fail. They just do it. Professionals give knowledge, data and may say it won't work. Entrepreneurs learn to look at things and say, 'how can I make it work'! Stay in touch with the team and with customers is key for a service business. When ordinary people work together for a long time with a common purpose, they create extraordinary results! Build a great business, and money will come. Be passionate! When one is building an enterprise, one needs to make sure that there is no room for complacency. For a true leader, quitting is not an option. Never is. He/she is the captain of the ship. Success is simple. Don't worry about doing too many things. One right decision is enough to change one's life. The success mantras of the story are from Prakash Iyer's book - You Too Can. To know more about Brand Capital, visit www.brandcapital.co.in / Follow on LinkedIn and Twitter
Profitable businesses require a solid foundation of a credible brand, effective management systems, and sharp talent engagement. There is a common misconception that high-growth startups have already found a magic potion that takes them on a linear and self-sustainable path of success. As Brand Capital has discovered while generating accelerated growth for new business models, building enduring trust in the brand is key. In addition, there are some practices that are critical for high growth start-ups as detailed in a maturity framework, in Ajay Batra's book, "Startups and Beyond: Building Enduring Organizations". The ex-IIM husband and wife team of Tarun and Vandana have always been passionate about improving the quality of education. Two years ago, watching their own children struggle to grasp basic math and science concepts, they hit upon the idea of starting an online testing service named "Intellecta", that gives specific feedback to learners on topics that they are strong or weak at. The reports from this service are used for customizing teaching-learning plans in classrooms, and for providing constructive feedback to students and their parents. Their bootstrapped B2B solution has been deployed in over 20 private schools. "Intellecta" has a team of 10 IT professionals, 8 subject matter experts as consultants with the founders doing the bulk of marketing and sales. They would now like to expand and offer the same service to another 200 private schools in India, Singapore, and Malaysia. With growth and expansion on their mind, the founders understand that they need branding, financial (i.e. VC investment) and organizational systems to make their trajectory smooth and profitable. So what does it mean for "Intellecta"? It was looking for inputs to acquire and service customers well while paying attention to essential building blocks of the organization. It was concerned that without this emphasis on effectiveness, their ventures may expand beyond their capabilities too soon. They have since turned a five-maturity-level structured framework, which has enabled them to determine their current maturity and focus areas for continuous growth: Organizational Structure: For effective management of growing ventures, a functional structure and role delineation are needed for business units and individuals, thus assigning clear responsibilities and establishing criteria for accountability. This sharpens the organization's ability to "listen", and act on, to the voice of its key stakeholders: customers, partners, and employees. Business planning: Define goals for expected business impact; develop strategies to achieve the goals; develop plans that translate strategies into actionable activities and tasks. These goals cover areas like formal competition-mapping, business modeling, brand-building, revenues, profits, employees, etc. Performance Tracking: Monitor progress of unit and organizational plans; collect quantitative and qualitative measures to track progress towards defined goals; use dashboards to collect and share progress status in the organization and demonstrate agility in taking preventive/corrective actions. Stakeholder Engagement: Gather customers' experience of engaging with the organization; analyze and act on the gathered feedback, and reach out to employees to understand their suggestions and concerns. Talent Management: Build channels for free-flowing internal communication; provide support to new team members; create systems to recruit/select the most appropriate talent, and support individuals in performing their responsibilities. Brand Capital brings in the importance of credible branding and helps to share the risk of brand building. Earning trust of all stakeholders - the end consumer and influencers is critical for the Education industry as it is also seen as a 'noble' service. For sustainable growth, education brands need to position themselves over a period of time as centres of excellence. Whether its B2B or B2BC communication, driven founders seed confidence with stakeholders they meet one on one. However, for accelerated growth towards establishing themselves as centres of excellence, the same needs to be shared en masse with hundreds of potential partners (such as B2B partners for a business like 'Intellecta'). Visibility in credible mediums like print and consistent amplification through other mediums like TV, Radio and Digital work magically. It goes a long way to accelerate brand-building enabling the founders to reach 24 month milestones in 15-18 months. As long as the brand stays clear of overdoing their communication, a combination of working with a structured framework along with investment in brand values can transition a startup into a high growth venture. Some of the names (of people and organizations) in this article have been changed due to reasons of confidentiality. Brand Capital is the strategic arm of The Times of India group. To know more about Brand Capital, visit www.brandcapital.co.in / Follow on LinkedIn and Twitter
This story is the journey of a business from the sleepy little town of Kota in Rajasthan to a nerve center and Mecca of coaching classes for IIT entrance examinations. Like most of the path-breaking ideas and opportunities, Rao IIT was born out of misfortune and adversity. The first stroke of misfortune was when a young engineer called VK Bansal who worked at JK Synthetics in Kota, was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy - a rare disorder that weakened his limbs. With a condition that was deteriorating continuously, he started teaching part-time and helping the young minds from Kota realize their dreams of getting into the coveted IIT. The second stroke of misfortune was shutting down of JK Synthetics. BV Rao, General Manager of the company decided to join his former colleague VK Bansal, who by then had started his own coaching center. Rao's daughter Yamini saw an opportunity to grow and along with her husband, Vinay Kumar, a successful executive with a Norwegian shipping firm decided to take the classes out to other cities of India. They quickly expanded their footprint across the highly competitive markets of Mumbai and its suburbs. They also established their presence in the academic hub of Pune and the national capital, Delhi and are now looking to make Rao IIT a pan-India player. With a vision to build the number one brand in India for test prep, Rao IIT Academy partnered with Brand Capital, the strategic investment arm of The Times Group. Large, innovative formats of advertising like Times of India and Mumbai Mirror Jackets were used to create impact and drive brand imagery. Brand salience was created through sustained presence and a very high share of voice which also enabled them to amplify their students' achievements thereby establishing the success of their methodology consistently. Shaping a child's future by training them for academic excellence is nothing less than the task of parenting itself and that is where Rao IIT Academy distinguishes itself. Contrary to what the other coaching centres were doing, by showcasing the ranks of their students to attract more admissions, Rao IIT Academy focused on the personal touch. Their advertisements and creatives broke the clutter by appealing to the emotions of both the child and the parent in shaping the child's future. Some success mantras of Rao IIT: Adversity and misfortune are often opening chapters of a bestselling story. When the doors shut for Dr. Rao, he saw a window opening and went after it to create Rao IIT. It starts with hunger. And a dream. Rao IIT would have remained just another Kota school had it not been for Yamini's hunger to propel it to an all-India player. With hunger, dreams become bigger, actions get taken and growth follows. How are you different from everyone else? Rao IIT launched an integrated program that combined the college course with the preparation of IIT. Greatest test cricketers may not help you win one-day games. Rao IIT quickly figured that the skill set for the professors teaching the regular college courses was different from the ones teaching competitive exam syllabus. For IIT-type coaching, they sought out IIT graduates working in the industry which worked brilliantly. Doing business is easy, making profits is tough. Rao IIT ensured that they had a business plan, instituted systems and processes to ensure that revenues were growing while monitoring the costs and keeping the business profitable. Don't underestimate the time it takes to succeed. Rao IIT figured that it takes time to build faith and confidence, which will then translate into results. Be bullish, but realistic, about your ambitions and provide for adequate staying power. Cock-a-doodle-do - why advertising works. Word of mouth is good, and testimonials are effective. But it is advertising that is truly powerful when you are looking to ramp-up. Advertising is a perception creator. It helps authenticate success and perform on a larger stage. The codfish lays 1000 eggs and the hen just lays one. But everyone talks of the hen - because while the codfish goes about its work quietly, the hen screams "cock-a-doodle-do". Innovate. Or die. Rao IIT is constantly innovating - digital content, testing methods, student interactions, motivation - constantly looking for newer ways to connect and serve the students better. 25-35% of the processes and workflows change every year. Standing still is not an option. Keep aiming higher. Rao IIT wants to be a billion-dollar valuation business by 2025. Not taking a risk is often the biggest risk. Rao IIT took a risk of moving out of Kota else they would have never grown the way they have today. Take calculated risks and tread cautiously. Excerpts of the story are from Prakash Iyer's book - You Too Can. To know more about Brand Capital, visit www.brandcapital.co.in / Follow on LinkedIn and Twitter.
India is, today, among the top three global start-up ecosystems in the world with a significant rise in the number of first generation entrepreneurs. The growing number of investments in the start-up space has been the key driver behind this rise. Besides, there are various other macro and demographic trends like rise in consumption, rapid adoption of technology and increase in mobile penetration, which fuel the start-up wave. While Eastern India does not come across as the obvious startup hub in the country, given the right push, it can be created into one. The region has the demographic backing in the form of access to human resources, untapped consuming population across the twelve eastern states along with developing infrastructure and continuously improving connectivity. With the support of government initiatives like Startup Bengal and an increasing concentration of ivy league institutions like IIM-C, IIT-KGP and XLRI, there is immense scope in the region to be explored. Not many of us are aware that thousands of start-ups germinate in the eastern region every year. They show appetite for domain-specific expert advice on crucial aspects of business related to finance, operations, distribution, marketing and compliance. The need of the hour is an all-encompassing platform where all stakeholders - be it budding entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts can synergize and collaborate to accelerate a startup into a successful and sustainable business. The Times of India Group, India's largest media conglomerate along with partners - Sumedha Fiscal, Mayabious and Infinity have launched a new endeavor in Eastern India - "Brandshoots Ventures". It's the first-of-a-kind focused accelerator platform promoted by Brand Capital, the strategic investment arm of The Times of India group. The vision of Brandshoots Ventures is to unlock the entrepreneurial potential in the East and emerge as the first-choice destination for entrepreneurs looking to create a national brand. Brandshoots Ventures nurtures start-ups through a structured, time-bound, merit-based 16-week program. It provides an opportunity to start-ups to reach out to a pan-India network of investors, connect with synergistic businesses and learn from a pool of mentors across India. Brandshoots Ventures connects its portfolio companies with industry experts, mentors, investors to alleviate teething issues at an early stage. It helps companies fine-tune the go-to-market strategy with guidance from domain experts. It assists in chalking out a sustainable business model to ensure organic growth. It enables scaling up and provides marketing currency to start-ups. In addition to this, it provides tech support for building the website, app, digital marketing inputs and non-tech support such as legal, compliance and taxation. Brandshoots Ventures has a rigorous screening process. In each batch of Brandshoots, there are 8-10 start-ups in high-growth, high-impact verticals like Ed-Tech, Healthcare, e-Commerce, Green-Tech, Big Data, Mobility and Retail. Their selection criteria include companies with asset light and scalable business models with a strong focus on the founding team. Each cohort of Brandshoots Ventures culminates in a demo day where its start-ups interact with financial and strategic investors to secure funding for the next stage of growth. It's current portfolio includes - Alfatek Systems, Bubble Blue, Dabadigo, Delybazar, Fincart, H-Spree, KnwAll and Scan It. Three of these companies have already raised their investments through Brandshoots Venture's network of investors. Another three are in the final stages of raising their seed funds. At a recently concluded Demo Day of its first cohort, the investors felt that the region previously lacked cohesiveness and hence was overlooked by national and international investors. P C Balasubramanian, President and Executive Director, Matrix Business Services Pvt. Ltd. said "Entrepreneurial values must supersede personal values. Focusing on team-building, collaborating with experts from various backgrounds teamed with costumer-centricity goes a long way in ensuring long term success." Biswadeep Das, Head of Operations, Brandshoot Ventures commented "The vision of Brandshoot ventures is to impact both theoretical and practical knowledge to building entrepreneurs and creating an atmosphere conducive to robust commercial growth." Girish Shivani, Executive Director, YourNest Angel Fund highlighted "Kolkata accounts for less than 5% of our deal flow. Things will now hopefully change with Brandshoots Ventures". Digvijay Singh, COO, Indian Angel Network stressed "The East needs more angel investors. Brandshoots will attract a lot of attention from investors across the country". All investors unanimously felt that platforms like Brandshoots Ventures should continue investing time, money and energy in innovative and sustainable start-ups which will go on to becoming national brands in the future. To know more about Brand Capital, visit www.brandcapital.co.in / Follow on LinkedIn and Twitter
This is a story of five cousins bonded by a strong sense of camaraderie, shared hatred of studies and strong resistance to linear thinking. They were united by a single thought - 'Think Big, Think Different.' One silent cold night in Bengaluru, the penny dropped, and these cousins experienced the aha moment which led to the creation of a Rs. 1000 cr brand, ID Fresh Food. P C Mustafa, CEO and Co-Founder, ID Fresh Food, as a child assisted his father in his labour jobs after school and during weekends as they lived hand-to-mouth. Despite being poor in studies and failing in the 6th standard, he completed his engineering and his MBA from the prestigious IIM-Bangalore. Mustafa's cousins were the owners of Choice store, a local grocery store back in 2008 in the suburb of Tippasandra in Bengaluru. They always kept their ears to the ground. Their sales of the idli batter from a local vendor was growing but so were the number of complaints. This gave birth to the idea of creating one's own idli batter for sale. Keen to test their idea and prototype the business model, they started their idli batter venture with a small investment of Rs. 50,000. They rented a small 80 sqft room and installed a wet grinder, a weighing machine and a sealing machine. Their plan was to make batter and supply it to 20 stores, and target to sell 100 packets a day in 6 months' time. Today, ID Fresh has expanded its capacity to 1 million idlis per day with a plan to increase it to 10 million idlis per day. ID Fresh's objective was to provide consumers with a hygienic, branded, yet home-like tasty packaged version of dosa and idli batter in a largely unorganized market. They positioned the brand as "fresh and 100% natural" with the promise of being preservative-free, hygienic and convenient. They partnered with Brand Capital, the strategic investment arm of The Times of India and were able to create strong brand presence in their chosen markets and business growth with Times Group's 360-degree media properties. The brand targeted urban consumers and their focus being on working professionals in top metropolitan cities who did not have the time and inclination to prepare batter - which is a long and tedious process. They launched print campaigns in Times of India which was augmented by Times OOH to amplify their communication. Today, their brand has expanded to various new cities away from its home market of Bangalore as well as into new product formats like Malabar Parota, Wheat Parota, Ragi Idli, Dosa Batter and Vada Batter. What were the success mantras which led to the creation of a Rs. 1000 cr. business? #1: Build your brand to build your business. ID Fresh branded their offering from day one. They came up with the name "ID" - acronym for Identity - which was short and unique. They had a great design and packaging to deliver a winning product. #2: No credit, only cash. This made the initial selling tough for ID Fresh Food but as the retailers got used to the idea, everyone seemed fine with it. #3: Stay focused. In the initial months, the founders of ID Fresh Food resisted the temptation to expand into other product categories and did not get distracted by newer ideas which could take them away from their original objective. #4: Be obsessed with quality. They bought the best raw material and increased prices. Customers pay a premium for quality. #5: Ensure company is profitable from Day 1. ID Fresh Food made Rs. 400 profit in the first month. Thinking one will eventually make profits is a poor way to build business. 'Eventually' is quite like tomorrow - it never comes. #6: Listen to your gut feel: It's good to take feedback from others, but one can't listen to all the people, all the time. One needs to decide for oneself, believe, and then just do it. Doing what others say only ensures that one has someone to blame when things go wrong. #7: One size does not fit all. Each market has its own unique challenges. It's important to do one's homework and never take success for granted. #8: Keep innovating new products. One should make sure one has a differentiated and value-added product. #9: On-board the right investors. One must look beyond the price tag investors are putting on business. See value-add from investors and the comfort of working with them. #10: Customer is queen. One must develop a strong connect with customers and have a solid understanding of what role one's product or service plays in his/her life. Excerpts of the story are from Prakash Iyer's book - You Too Can. To know more about Brand Capital, visit www.brandcapital.co.in / Follow on LinkedIn and Twitter