Recent Brand Stories
This is Byju Raveendran's story. Byju, a graduate who started working as an engineer. During one of his work breaks, he sat for a CAT exam with no preparation and scored a 100 percentile! Totally surprised at his score, he took the test again to get 100 percentile again. This was just the beginning to the creation of India's largest Learning App, BYJU'S! Byju's friends encouraged him to teach and help them prepare for the CAT exam and before he knew he was conducting workshops for over 1000 students in packed auditoriums. This overwhelming response validated his method of teaching - how to predict questions and how to learn. Byju eventually quit his job as an engineer and took up teaching full-time. He travelled to other cities to reach as many students as possible. With a strong dedicated team in place, Byju launched online video based learning for CAT through VSAT. This helped the team to conduct lectures in multiple centers across the country. Through these sessions, Byju realised that if he wanted to make a real impact on the way students learn, he needed to make students fall in love with learning. He would need to start early. The crucial and founding years of learning are when the students start feeling the subject. Byju launched Think and Learn Pvt. Ltd. (the parent company of BYJU'S) with a focus on K-12 segment (school going students from 4-12) in 2011 followed by their flagship product of BYJU'S learning App in 2015. BYJU'S mission is to help students become better and lifelong learners. The addressable market for the K - 12 segment is around 260 million. India is the largest K-12 education system in the world, but consistently ranks low in global education. He noticed that there was a huge gap in the way students learnt and how the concepts could be learnt. Children get trained to solve questions and not ask questions. In the conventional classroom learning, there is a lack of high quality education due to limited access to quality teachers. Learning that is not personalised as 1:35 teacher-student ratio vis a vis ratio 1:14 in developed world. It is memory-based learning driven by fear for exams than love for learning. Byju started creating systems and learning experiences which made learning fun and easy. He made learning accessible, effective, engaging and personalised. It made learning contextual and visual and not just theoretical. He leveraged technology and data science for a truly personalized experience for students. The advantage of integrating technology in education is that it not only enables one to take classes from the best teachers but also personalizes the way students learn. It allows a combination of teachers, video lessons and interactive games - explaining concepts by relating it to real life experiences. This improves understanding and retention of concepts for life. It makes complex concepts visual and contextual, which will help students understand not just the "What" of learning it, but the "Why" and the "How" as well. The huge availability of data on the learning patterns of students allows for personalized feedback and assessment. This way, the learning program is personalized to every child's style and pace of learning based on their proficiency levels and capabilities which helps them learn at their own pace and style. BYJU'S vision was to complete learning experience that integrates classes from the best of the teachers, assessments and assignments which are personalised for every student, along with in-depth analysis and recommendations. To reach out to their target group i.e. students, BYJU'S partnered with Brand Capital, the strategic investment arm of The Times Group. It was able to create strong brand presence. The brand targeted urban parents seeking high quality and innovative delivery of content to their children, while making learning fun and contextual. The company utilised a good mix of print ads, television campaigns and digital media properties offered by the Times Group, leading to strong top-of-mind recall. This partnership created valuable impact to build awareness and establish credibility. Global expansion is on BYJU'S cards. In the last one year, their app has seen great adoption along with it successfully foraying beyond the metros. They have a strong and diverse investor portfolio. There are no products like BYJU'S Learning App which can reach out to such a large number of students and create great engagement at the same time. Their product will revolutionize the way students are learning across the world today, making students fall in love with learning. To know more about Brand Capital, visit www.brandcapital.co.in / Follow on Twitter and LinkedIn.
The Board Meeting opened exactly as expected. After the welcome note, the usual cautious-sounding commentary from members and experts followed. It covered topics related to the uncertain regulatory environment, sluggishness in the economy and difficulties in working with financial institutions. But, the heavy fog of concern soon lifted as Pankaj, in his inimitable positive style, shared the last quarter's results. With pride, he pointed out that for the previous eight quarters in a row; the group had been witnessing healthy growth in revenues and profits. He said, "At M3M, volatility in the larger environment is being transformed into opportunities by keeping a sharp focus on the evolving needs of our customers." Everyone in the room knew that the real estate industry had been served a severe blow in the last few years; and appreciated that M3M group stood out as a beacon of success. At the core of M3M trailblazing history has been the attitude and approach of its Director, Mr. Pankaj Bansal. As one of India's youngest and enterprising directors, Pankaj demonstrates an excellent balance between sharp business acumen and exuberance of youth. He has successfully designed and executed the growth and diversification plans of the company with a customer-focus and forward-thinking approach. Early in his career, Pankaj understood that economic cycles are here to stay, and despite the gloom and doom created by these fluctuations, there is always opportunity in the face of adversity. Changing demographics can be a segue to develop new market segments; technological advances can help the business reach exponential scale, and volatility can be a trigger to develop strategies that keep the group closer to its customers. Ajay Batra, Director of Bennett Hatchery, and author of Startups and Beyond: Building Enduring Organizations, comments that M3M's mindset of building a lasting brand and a respected institution is admirable. He says, "The group's approach to balance the long-term with the short-term, and to keep an equal focus on business outcomes while building an inclusive culture are typical hallmarks of an enduring organization." So, which characteristics of an enduring organization does M3M demonstrate? Ajay answers: PERFORMANCE ORIENTATION: Because they are sharply customer-centric in their strategies and execution, enduring organizations produce exceptional products or services for their customers while delivering great financial and non-financial results for their shareholders. ECOSYSTEM BUILDING: Enduring organizations focus not just on themselves, but also others in the ecosystem. They see themselves as an integral part of society. Hence as they grow, they take their employees, communities, partners, and customers along with them. SELF-RENEWAL: Enduring organizations are lean and mean learning machines. Continuous innovations - incremental and breakthrough - are common in their culture, enabling them to outlive cycles of business, social and economic disruptions. HUMANE VALUES: Enduring organizations define, and live by, values that are humane, just and ecologically responsible. Such values help their employees know what they stand for and guide them in moments of crises. M3M group's partnership with Brand Capital, the strategic investment arm of The Times Group, has ensured that their path-breaking market innovations reflect strongly in its brand building strategies. Specifically, the partnership has helped in delivering high-decibel campaigns using impactful formats like Glazed NewsPrint Jackets, Centre Spreads, first-of-its-kind online property bidding campaign on Magic Bricks. Mr. Pankaj Bansal is committed to building an enduring and world-class organization by hiring the best of people and motivating all to become entrepreneurs in their areas of work. This highly-motivated team of over 500 professionals is moving forward to create one of the best corporates in the Real Estate industry. M3M India takes a lot of pride in bringing the Trump brand to Delhi-NCR, a residential development, at the prime Golf Course Extension Road of Gurugram. Regarding area, over 1 million sq. mtr. of projects were delivered by M3M last year, making it one of the largest real estate conglomerates across the country. Approx. 1.3 million sq. mtr. of area is under development. The group recorded sales close to Rs 3,700 crore across its projects in Gurugram during the last year making it North India's fastest growing developer. Mr. Pankaj Bansal has been instrumental in the Group signing some path-breaking deals with: DLF Group in 2012 worth Rs. 440 crore, Shapoorji Pallonji and Co. Ltd. in 2014 worth Rs. 116 crore, Sahara Group in 2016 worth Rs. 1211 crore and Tata Realty and Infrastructure Ltd. and Standard Chartered Private Equity worth Rs. 500 crore. Brand Capital is the strategic investment arm of Times of India group. Brand Capital I Brand Estate offers value-added support that includes brand and communication strategy, creative ideation and media strategy support along with offering access to a 360-degree spectrum of media assets including print, radio, TV, OOH, Events and the Internet.
In 1988, two boys, in the first year of their college, met for the wedding of a common friend and decided to walk in to the best showroom for suiting in the town Circa 1988. Their discerning eye picks the costliest of fabrics immediately. The salesman sensing their inability to pay brusquely asks them to leave. The two boys promised to themselves that this experience will never repeat. We are talking of the founders of what is today called M/s Spacewood Furnishers Pvt. Limited - A Rs. 5 billion furniture company spanning kitchens, wardrobes, all kinds of home furniture and doors. And the tale of the two friends started here. During their second year they got into a small business of solving text problems on various subjects of engineering, got it published and gainfully sold the publication to struggling students of engineering. This was their first step towards entrepreneurship and partnership! They made money and threw it on the face of the salesman and bought the expensive fabric! Coincidentally, they both got placed in VIP industries, Blowplast group after passing put of Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology in 1992. Kirit was with the Vendor development department of Modular Office Furniture and Vivek in the design and planning department of VIP Luggage. After working for 18 months with dedicated learning in purchase, vendor development, manufacturing and other aspects of business, Kirit Joshi and Vivek Deshpande knew that furniture it was that was their life's calling.In 1994, they founded Spacewood Furnishers Pvt.Limited and then did not look back with a 2000 sqft rented workshop, 8 workers and Rs. 65,000 investments for furniture components. Every year the business kept growing and all earnings of the enterprise was pumped back into buying new machines. In 1997, the founders invested in membrane pressing technology which was first-of-its-kind in India. They had visited Germany and bought this new technology for manufacturing kitchen fronts and shutters. With import of this unique technology, Spacewood became synonymous with Modular kitchens. In 2005, Future Group's innovative furniture format called Hometown started. Spacewood got the opportunity and started making finished products such as Bedroom Furniture, Modular Kitchens and sold them as private label - Spacewood. In 2013, the founders realised that the private label business was restrictive as retailers and OEMs are limited. For further growth, the brand 'Spacewood' had to be built. Spacewood planned its own retail arm, Modern Living Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Given the clear challenges of creating a brand and retailing, they needed huge marketing support and expertise which was not available in-house. Moreover, Nagpur being a Tier 2 city, local talent was not available. Spacewood's vision was to be the leading furniture and interior products manufacturer offering innovative products and solutions to every home in India. Spacewood partnered with Brand Capital with a vision of creating a brand. This marks an important milestone in its retail journey of becoming a consumer brand from a supplier to big retail furniture player. The initial communication focused on awareness build-up and trust for a new entrant into a highly fragmented furniture space. The strength of BCCL media properties amplified it's reach by targeting specific audiences. The large format ads in micro-market supplements achieved twin objectives of establishing the brand and enhancing visual appeal. The messaging in Spacewood's communication relied on simplicity and high emphasis on visuals to showcase large kitchens, living room furniture and wardrobes. Kirit says, "It was a dream come true to have Spacewood jacket ads in The Times of India!" Spacewood kept growing at 25% CAGR and was eyeing exponential growth and new products in the future. In 2015, Sumitomo Forestry Group, a Japanese Building material company invested and took 26% stake for an investment of ~$14 mn. This was the first ever FDI in furniture manufacturing in India. Spacewood is now a leading Brand name in India with presence in homes, kitchens, offices and doors. They have also started selling online and tied up with Pepperfry, Flipkart, Amazon, Urban Ladder and become a top seller in bedroom furniture category. Some success mantras of the Founders Be Passionate at work. If one loses passion and excitement, then the organization's performance goes down. Entrepreneurship is a journey, one never reaches the destination but sees milestones, time and again. Entrepreneurs need to have a larger vision and social responsibility. He/she is responsible to his employees, customers, investors, suppliers and all stakeholders. The objective of an entrepreneur should be to achieve not to acquire. To know more about Brand Capital, visit www.brandcapital.co.in / Follow on Twitter and LinkedIn.
ET NOW, India's leading English Business News Channel, hosted 'Leaders of Tomorrow' (LOT) Conclave and Awards 2018 at Taj Land's End, Mumbai on 25th September, 2018. It is India's biggest platform for SMEs. LOT showcases, empowers and recognises India's most promising Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The LOT Conclave & Awards 2018 was attended by corporate leaders from various industries who led the conversation on what it takes to leapfrog SMEs to the Sensex. The keynote address was delivered by Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO - NITI-Aayog; theme address by Mr. V. Vaidyanathan, Founder & Chairman - Capital First and the special address on 'Right to Win' was delivered by Mr. Harsh Mariwala, Founder & Chairman - Marico India. In his keynote address, Amitabh Kant stated clearly that the future of SMEs and MSMEs lies in digitisation. 98.3% of Indians already pay income tax online, as a result of the government shifting to digitization and technology. He emphasized that this will be a huge asset in the way MSMEs do business and for India's economy to grow at 9-10%, we need to create the right ecosystem. The stellar line-up of speakers included Sam Subramaniam, CEO - Brand Capital; Ashish Kumar Chauhan, MD & CEO - BSE; Partha Sinha, VC & MD - McCann Worldwide; Pradeep Parameswaran, President - Uber, India & SA; Debjani Ghosh, President - NASSCOM; Vijay Karia, Chairman & MD - Ravin Group and Prabodh Thakker, Chairman - Global Insurance Brokers amongst others. The sessions through various discourses and deliberations reflected on a range of topics including Open Innovation, Smart Marketing, Local to Global and the Digital Front amongst others. Some excerpts from the Smart Marketing Panel Discussion. Sam Subramaniam, CEO - Brand Capital highlighted that SMEs have much to achieve in a very short time and don't have deep pockets to use prime media to reach their consumers. Brand Capital could become their first point of leverage as it provides relevant media, helps in media strategy and in building the entrepreneur's brand story. When companies need capital, Brand Capital introduces them to private equity funds, family offices, venture funds and helps them get the capital as well. Partha Sinha defined marketing as a combination of empathy and imagination. He said that one needs to be empathetic towards people one is serving and use imagination to serve them better. He thinks both can be and should be done by people who are at the helm of the business. Arun Iyer shared his viewpoint stating that the biggest difference between seasoned marketers, start-ups and SMEs is the fact that seasoned marketers get second, third and fourth chances unlike a start-up or SME. S. Swaminathan had an interesting take that Smart Marketing embedded with smart analytics is really the future. Re-imagination of data is what SMEs need to look at and that's the opportunity they should really pursue. The Conclave was followed by an Award Ceremony to honour the true Leaders of Tomorrow. The winners were shortlisted after a month-long nomination process across nine exciting categories. Pioneers from various industries were felicitated based on the criteria including their unprecedented display of sharp business prowess, clear understanding of the market and their deep focus on innovation and driving change. Clensta International, one of the companies which was earlier mentored at Brand Capital Scale Up, the exclusive closed-door mentorship program by Brand Capital won the 'SME of the Year Award'. Brand Capital Scale Up connects budding entrepreneurs to industry veterans who provide mentoring in areas such as business strategy, branding, distribution, finance and funding. Since 2014, 192 companies have been mentored through this platform. To get invited to the next Brand Capital Scale Up, register here. Brand Capital is the strategic investment arm of The Times Group. To know more about Brand Capital, visit www.brandcapital.co.in / Follow on LinkedIn and Twitter.
It wasn't easy in Bengaluru and it was no better in California-when Ramakant Sharma and Anuj Srivastava decided to renovate their respective homes. And that's when they learnt how frustrating the experience can be. While one chose a local contractor, the other hired an interior designer. The result was the same: their project became a Pandora's box where they would discover newer challenges every day. From timeline, prices, quality - to the personal attention that the project demanded, nothing was predictable. In the end, their tribulations landed them in the middle of a highly fragmented $23Bn market that was calling for a technology-led innovation. And thus, in July 2014, Livspace was incorporated and its operations were launched in Bengaluru in January 2015. Cut to the present, Livspace has grown to become India's largest home interiors and renovation platform. Today it serves seven metro areas and has announced its plans to serve six more, for a total of 13, by 2019. The company has designed over 5,000 homes-a whopping 2 million+ square feet-and works with over 2,000 design partners. This unprecedented scale is disrupting the entire interior design ecosystem. But how did they get here? Livspace combines Canvas, its proprietary technology platform with a three-sided marketplace between homeowners, certified designers and vendors. It delivers end-to-end home interiors to homeowners in a hassle-free, predictable manner and empowers designers and vendors to deliver it. Canvas allows designers to manage the entire design project on the cloud-create designs in 2D/3D, access a digital catalogue of millions of SKUs, plan the budget, chat with clients, place manufacturing orders, create project plans, track delivery and more, without installing any software on their computer system. This allows designers to work on more projects and hence increase their incremental earnings. On average, a Livspace Design Partner earns twice as much as his/her peers outside of Livspace. This increase in productivity directly impacts the number of homeowners that get access to good interior design-something that was traditionally reserved for the affluent few. Livspace, on the other hand, espouses the philosophy of good design for all; a philosophy that wasn't all that simple to offer right at the outset. For beginners, "interiors" is an often-misrepresented term. Many people associate home interiors with just buying furniture, painting the walls and designing a modular kitchen. However, nothing can be farther from the truth. Interior design is not only very expansive in what it entails-furniture and decor, modular kitchen, wardrobes, storage such as TV units, services like false ceiling, flooring, electrical and more-but also involves designing spaces that solve a functional and aesthetic purpose. To add to the complexity, interiors have never been associated with an organized player of scale. Hence, the company had a huge opportunity and challenge in front of them right at the very inception. So, they took it upon themselves to be the market makers. For a high-value and infrequent purchase such as home interiors, they invested in a strong omnichannel strategy. They extended their world-class online experience to their Design Centers and experience apartments, which boast a very strong tactile experience. This helped them not only reduce time to convert but also increased their average order value by up to 40%. Livspace partnered with Brand Capital, the strategic investment arm of The Times Group, and was able to create a strong brand presence. The brand targeted urban consumers focusing on working professionals in top metropolitan cities seeking assured quality and timely delivery of services. The company utilised a good mix of print ads, radio campaigns and strategically located OOH properties offered by the Times Group, leading to a strong top-of-mind recall. This partnership created a valuable impact to build awareness and establish credibility. Some success mantras of the founders When asked to share tips for upcoming start-ups who seek to become market makers and leaders, Anuj and Ramakant had a thing or two to add. ● "Always hire people smarter than yourself. Problem-solvers who are action-biased are a great fit for start-ups seeking to disrupt any space," said Anuj Srivastava. ● "At an early stage, investing in building a culture of autonomy may not seem critical but these things tend to stick as you grow. So, think about culture early," added Srivastava. ● Ramakant Sharma advised, "If you want to scale, always think for scale. Don't invest in products and features that are intrinsically 'unscalable'. But whatever you do, launch fast and then improve. Don't wait for perfection." Brand Capital is the strategic investment arm of The Times of India group. To know more about Brand Capital, visit www.brandcapital.co.in / Follow on LinkedIn and Twitter.
In 2015, two young Mumbaikars had a dream. A dream to connect patients to local pharmacies and diagnostic centres through a mobile app. Their vision was to make healthcare accessible and affordable across India through a quick and efficient doorstep service with great discounts. This vision gave birth to PharmEasy, India's No. 1 healthcare aggregator. Founded by Dharmil Sheth, an MBA from IMT Ghaziabad and Dr. Dhaval Shah, an MBBS from Rajiv Gandhi Medical College and MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur, PharmEasy caters to the chronic-care segment through services such as doorstep medicine delivery, at-home sample collection for diagnostic tests, teleconsultation, as well as, a subscription-based healthcare service. The start-up presently caters to over 20 lakh families annually and has added more than 20,000 new pin codes to its service network over the past two years. Today, PharmEasy is present pan-India and reaches out to millions of customers through its mobile app. The PharmEasy app also integrates an auto medicine reminder that ensures one never misses a medicine dose. Pharmacy made easy, but how? "Fashion, accessories, electronics, apartments, vehicles - everything is sold online for convenience, but there was no platform providing healthcare (pharma) delivery services to needy patients. That is what inspired us to build a platform which would make authentic healthcare services accessible, affordable and available to all," says Dharmil, co-founder of PharmEasy. The users on the platform simply need to upload a prescription to have their medicines delivered to their doorstep. Patients also receive access to a virtual vault that stores their prescriptions and enables one-step purchase for ongoing medication. For drug regulation, each prescription uploaded on the platform is verified by a licensed pharmacist before it is processed. Medicine delivery is made within six hours of a prescription being verified. Never give up The success story of PharmEasy is indeed an inspiring one. Two like-minded 'brainiacs' who want to improve the world; a perfect solution to a nationwide problem; and, a relentless urge to continually innovate. What could stop a combination like that from making waves? But, just like every other success story, PharmEasy experienced its share of troubles that the founders overcame with intelligence, grit and determination much beyond their 30 years of age. "Lack of support from the regulators was one of the significant challenges faced by us," reminisces Dharmil, who informs that the firm is regularly engaging with concerned regulatory bodies at every level to actively suggest modifications to old laws governing online platforms in the healthcare sector. Customer mindset was another significant impediment faced by the start-up. At the time when PharmEasy was conceived, medical teleconsultations and medicine home delivery were unheard of. Besides, educating patients about the importance of purchasing only prescription-based drugs was a time-consuming exercise. PharmEasy entered into a partnership with Brand Capital, the strategic arm of Times of India Group that enabled them to create awareness about this emerging category and establish the brand 'PharmEasy' in the consumer mind space and thereby accelerate transactions through their app. This awareness was created by a Times Group 360-degree media amplification through print campaigns in Times of India and through other Times Group mediums like Times OOH, Radio Mirchi and platforms of Times Internet Ltd. With Brand Capital's partnership, affordable pricing, intelligent marketing, and consumer-centric services, the start-up was able to win the trust of its customers in a short span to become a household name with presence in over 1,000 cities in India. The Road Ahead The start-up began as a three-people company, less than three years ago, and employs over 1,000 people today. As of March 2018, the company has raised over 40mn USD (until series C funding), making it the fastest growing online pharma aggregator in the country. For their commendable achievement, the co-founders, Dharmil and Dhaval were featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 list (2017) for creating a robust platform that is fervently revolutionizing the healthcare space in India. "We currently deliver to every single pin code in India. However, in our core markets, our experience is superlative as we deliver within 24 hours. The idea is to extend this offering to every single patient in the country. We are expanding our centres to ensure that this is something that we are doing exceptionally well," points out Dr Dhaval. Success Mantras: "Fail, if you have to, but fail fast, learn and come back." - Dr. Dhaval Shah "Customer is our king and as far as we ensure that we take care of them - there is no going back." Dharmil Sheth Recently PharmEasy Raised $50 Million in Series C Funding from Eight Roads Ventures India, the proprietary investment arm of FIL (Fidelity International Limited) ,F-Prime Capital, Nandan Nilkeni and Sanjeev Aggarwal backed Fundamentum partnership and San francisco based hedge fund Think Investments. To know more about Brand Capital, visit www.brandcapital.co.in / Follow on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Where 'fast' and 'moving' are essential parts of the sector nomenclature, can a forward-thinking business fuel such as Brand Capital be far behind? With the Indian economy poised to triple consumption by 2025, riding on a vibrant FMCG sector composed mainly of food businesses, there is massive action, high growth opportunities and leaping potential in the fast moving consumer goods category. While established brands are adapting speedily to a changing consumerscape, new and ambitious startups face challenges ranging from how to win the big game to how to effectively impact niche play, Having mentored over 180 companies since 2014, Brand Capital, the strategic investment arm of The Times Group, hosted a closed door Scale Up activation for growing businesses in the FMCG sector recently in Gurugram. Budding entrepreneurs met industry veterans who shared category insights and actionable ideas on how to make a mark in this dynamic sector. Mentee Companies Mainly from F&B and Wellness segment accounting for more than a quarter of the Indian FMCG sector. Each company had their own unique product and propositions; and thus challenges faced were equally distinct. Clensta (makes waterless personal hygiene solution) focused on right partnerships and building proper distribution network. Oddy Uniwraps (produces recyclable, safe food wrapping paper that can be used to reheat food in ovens) focused on brand awareness and BTL engagement. Teafloor (produces online tea store with customised range of tea varieties) focused on the threat of competition and easy accessibility to substitutes. To-Be-Healthy (TBH) (manufactures delicious, premium and nutritious snacks) focused on tackling high cost of raw materials, credit lending and sales efficiency. Whyte Farms (delivers fresh and natural milk straight from farm to homes) focused on optimizing sourcing and faster market penetration. Mentors The panel of mentors included Ashwani Arora, Managing Director, LT Foods Ltd., one of India's leading rice brands; Ajay Batra, Founding Director, Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship & Bennett Hatchery, Bennett University; Aseem Soni, CEO, Modern Foods with 25 years of business experience; Sharad Saluja, Director, Sterling Agro Industries Limited, a business engaged in the manufacturing and sales of all kinds of dairy products; Pranav Gupta, Vice President, Carpediem Capital - a PE fund focused on the India consumption opportunity; Sona Mazumdar, Chief Partnership Officer, KidZania, and Kshitij Torka, Vice President, Grofers. Success Mantras For FMCG StartUps: Grab It Before It Goes - The "attention economy" is limited. One has to grab the attention that someone else has today. Jo Dikhta Hai Woh Bikta Hai - Marketing and positioning is as important as the product itself. Know Your Consumer - Advertising and promotional campaigns should be crafted with the audience in mind and the channel used. It is crucial to highlight the personality of the product. Always Be Connecting - While building brand loyalty is necessary, the campaign should always evoke emotions and imply connection between product and goal. Judging The Book By The Cover - The best way of captivating consumers and standing out is to have unique yet informative package design. This is the first thing a consumer sees, and therefore, is as important as what it contains. Niche Needs - Niche products are relevant as long as it understands where its audience is. This might require understanding the mind of the consumers through focused group discussions and qualitative analysis. Lose The Battles, Win The War - Start-ups have limited time and resources. And companies must focus on core competencies and outsource activities like distribution and supply chain. Brand Capital is the strategic investment arm of The Times Group, with a portfolio of over 3 billion dollars. As a key player in the investing ecosystem, Brand Capital ' Scale Up connects ambitious entrepreneurs to industry experts who provide closed-door mentoring in areas such as business strategy, branding, distribution, finance and funding. To get invited to the next up Scale Up event near you register at www.brandcapital.co.in / Follow on LinkedIn and Twitter.
About 30 years ago, two brothers - Irfan and Rezwan Razack dared to move away from the family's well-established retail business to create their own space. Today, what then might have been frowned upon as a break from tradition, is a company worth a couple of billion dollars. That, in short, is the story of the Prestige Group, India's second largest developer, which is credited with redefining south India's skyline. It all began with young Irfan getting interested in the task of selling a family house. As he negotiated a sale deal with a builder from Mumbai, he got exposure to the entire process of selling property, interacting with lawyers and finally collecting the money. It proved to be a tremendous learning experience for him. Since the brothers Irfan, Rezwan and Noaman had to reinvest for capital gains, they found themselves buying more properties in the city. After selling one of the plots they'd bought, they realised that this was a profitable business. After five years of trading, the brothers decided to try their hand at developing the properties they had bought. Prestige Estates was born in 1986. One of the first buildings, in fact, was a plot of land owned by Irfan Razack's father-in-law. He was keen to sell it, but Irfan managed to convince him to build on it, lease it and earn a regular rental income, thereby turning unproductive assets into productive ones. That building - Prestige Copper Arch - remains to this day one of the nicest structures in Bengaluru! Prestige has grown into a trusted brand, one that enjoys the confidence of its partners and customers. Right from the start, Irfan Razack was clear that whatever one does, one does well. A lot of emphasis was put on the basics - quality, design, on-time delivery, maintenance and customer service. Irfan Razack says, "In building a brand and a business, it is essential to think long-term. Prestige isn't Prestige for what we are currently doing. It is about the little things we have done in the past that makes us what we are today. Your sins catch up with you. If you've done good work, that catches up too. At some point, money will lose its relevance and it's all about creating something that will stand for generations." His daughter Uzma Irfan, the Director, had the brainwave to have the Prestige Brand undergo rapid expansion and diversification under the leadership of Irfan Razack. Uzma has made immense efforts to streamline all branding and communication-related initiatives. Over the years, the Prestige Group has grown by leaps and bounds and she can be credited for single-handedly strengthening the public image of the company during this phase. Prestige Group partnered with Brand Capital, the strategic investment arm of The Times Group to build a strong and recognizable brand. Large innovative formats of advertising like Power Jackets, French Windows, were used in a sustainable manner in The Times of India and The Economic Times to create brand impact and imagery. Brand Salience was created through impactful and classy communication by the Prestige Group. This was further augmented by The Times Group's 360-degree media platforms. Prestige Group has several innovative firsts to its credit. The Forum - the first mall in South India, Prestige Ozone - the first gated community, Prestige Shantiniketan - the first integrated township, UB City - the biggest mixed-use development in Bangalore's Central Business District comprising of commercial offices, The Collection - South India's only luxury mall, serviced residences, restaurants and the Piazza. Well-wishers often advised Irfan Razack not to take risks, to stay on the safe track, but he chose to innovate and blaze new trails. He took the road less traveled and has today created a legacy of landmarks that will be admired and enjoyed by people long after his time. Some of Irfan Razack's success mantras are: You must have the ability and the heart to give. Give and it will keep coming back to you several times over. If you don't give and try to hold onto something, it will run away from you. If you believe in something, don't give up the fight. Don't take no for an answer. Find a way to make it work. Make a difference, even if it's a small one. Irfan Razack couldn't change the whole city, but he is happy making a small difference. Build a business on sound ethics. Build your reputation and the word will get around, adding to your credibility. If you take shortcuts and don't keep your commitments, that word will spread too. Excerpts from the story are from Prakash Iyer's book - You Too Can. 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
"I'm like a sponge, constantly absorbing from the people around me and different people have inspired me at different stages in my life", said Meena Ganesh. An accomplished professional, a successful serial entrepreneur, proud mother of two and now the CEO of Portea Medical. It is a healthcare service provider that focuses on providing medical care at home, and looks set to revolutionise the healthcare space in India. Being an entrepreneur was never really on her mind when she entered the corporate world after getting an MBA from IIM-Calcutta in 1985. Straight out of B-school, Meena went to work with NIIT in Delhi - then a hot new company in the emerging IT space. The office was in a pokey little apartment on the terrace with an open culture and a "let's go do it" attitude. She was led by Rajendra Pawar, a hugely inspiring leader who created a very democratic, egalitarian, performance-oriented culture. The presence of a mentor, the freedom to make mistakes and the opportunity to take ownership - all these vital ingredients shaped her career. After seven fabulous years at NIIT, she moved into a strategy consulting role at PWC, followed by a move to Microsoft, playing the role of an entrepreneur inside a large corporate. While at Microsoft, Meena had an idea to start a business that would provide services to a new, mushrooming breed of Internet companies. And, thus was born Customer Asset. The idea was to service dotcoms but soon after, dotcoms began to vanish. After spending eight long months evangelising the call centre idea and selling the idea to prospective clients, she finally got their first customer. Customer Asset scaled up rapidly and was sold to ICICI bank in 2003 - and later got listed on the bourses as FirstSource. Meena says that she started as something and ended up as something else. She said "You have to be willing to read the writing on the wall and the customer is the best reflection and you got to ask yourself if you've created something a customer just cannot do without. You may love what your company has to offer but if the customer doesn't care, it won't work. Perseverance maybe a virtue, but entrepreneurs also need to learn when to stop trying." Post the sale of Customer Asset, Meena moved as the CEO of Tesco, to set up their India operations. Five years later, she joined TutorVista - a company started by her husband - as a Co-founder, which they then sold to Pearson Education and exited the business-pocketing over $200 million which was one of the highest value exits at that time. Post the TutorVista exit, the couple began to scan the environment for their next venture. Their search was for a real customer problem to solve. It took them to healthcare and what excited them was the white space of providing hospital quality care in the comfort of the consumer's home. They acquired Portea Medical - a Delhi-based start-up in 2013 and Meena took over as the CEO. Tech-enabled health at home category was at a nascent stage when Portea entered the healthcare landscape. The brand and category needed credibility through advertising to drive customer interest and transactions. Portea partnered with Brand Capital, the strategic investment arm of The Times of India and was able to create strong brand presence. This partnership created huge impact to build awareness and establish credibility. This was done through Times Group's 360-degree media properties. It also helped them increase their long-term value from their existing customers. Portea today has widened its presence to cover over 16 cities, and employs over 4,000 people. Some of Meena's success mantras are: First, start with the customer: Figuring out what the customer wants is the biggest challenge and the product market fit is key. Execution excellence: Pay attention to the details. It is important for the entrepreneur to know the minute details of the business and understand what's working and what's not. Get to know the whole picture: Understand all the breakpoints, anticipate what may go wrong. Visualise failure points and build guardrails to make sure you succeed. Look for the right people: People who have the energy and passion and are willing to push back, to think and are willing to take ownership Take feedback from team members: Team members who give you feedback are priceless. One needs colleagues, team mates and subordinates who are not scared to tell the emperor that he has no clothes. Four traits of successful entrepreneurs: Customer focus, intellectual bandwidth, passion about the business idea and ability to build a team. Finally, don't just spout wisdom, walk the talk! 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
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.