Recent Brand Stories
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
Brand Capital views entrepreneurial drive as the most positive force generating sustainable economic value and partnered recently with Babson College, USA for their 3rd India Symposium in Boston, Massachusetts. Babson College is the top-ranked college for entrepreneurship education and a recognized thought leader for "Entrepreneurship of All Kinds". Babson prepares next gen leaders with skills and the vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, motivate teams in a common purpose to make a difference and impact organizations of all sizes and types. Notable alumni include Akio Toyoda (President, Toyota Motor Corporation), Roger Enrico (Former Chairman, Pepsi) and Alberto Perlman (Founder, Zumba). Held on March 10th, 2018 the symposium brought together eminent speakers, students, alumni and faculty, to learn about new India and how to make a difference there, learn from motivating stories of individual and business growth, connect and build relationships. The theme - 'The Best of a Billion Minds' - was brought to life by a series of key note addresses and engaging panel discussions by thinkers and leaders from big business, start-ups, media and entertainment. Mr. Anupam Kher, actor, received a standing ovation on his moving talk on 'The Power of Failure' - pragmatic and humorous stories to drive home personal lessons about resilience to the audience of over 200 Indian and international students. Being fearless is his key to succeeding, he said, after all "a drenched man is never scared of rain". Interactive panels included a discussion on how Indian businesses can make a larger impact on the world stage with Mr. Prashant Prabhu (Ex-President, Michelin India-Africa-Middle East), Mr. Neville Taraporewalla (President, Brand Capital, Times Group), and Mr. Navjot Singh (Managing Partner, McKinsey, Boston). The panel raised the issues preventing the growth of Indian business and presented some clear and inspirational ideas for youth, specifically those who would helm family-run businesses, to become unstoppable. The discussion emphasized the need to take the high road, instead of giving into juagaad, setting examples of good civic responsibility and corporate governance, practicing values based management that is socially and culturally aware and equitable across ranks, placing customers and employees before profit. It raised the moot point of a culture shift being the need of the hour, accelerated by the arrival of MNCs coming to India at scale, and hence a movement towards businesses that generate wealth from actual effort, led by individuals who have knowledge and character, regulated by politics with humanity and producing commerce with ethics. Best practices were cited so that students were inspired to be the change they wish to see and envision India as a land of opportunities where they can not only succeed but also change the status quo. The speakers in fact emphasized the virtues of thinking big - to become a global business, Indian businesses need to expand geographies and think globally. Another panel with technology entrepreneurs and technology investors like Mr. Aditya Kurjekar (CEO, Let's Talk Payments), Ms. Lakshmi Nambiar (Partner, Anthill Ventures), Mr. Ahmed Naqvi (CEO & Co-founder, Gozoop), and Mr. Preetish Nijhawan (Co-Founder, Akamai Technologies and Partner, Cervin Ventures) discussed the secret sauce for successful entrepreneurs. From their experiences with multiple start-ups, the panelists shared unique learnings that had great resonance with young entrepreneurs. The third panel was made up of successful Babson Alumni who shared their learnings since graduating. The panel speakers included Mr. Dinesh Wadhwani (CEO & Founder, ThinkLite), Ms. Savitha Sridharan (Founder, Orora Global, Inc.) and Mr. Anant Chaturvedi (Vice-Chairman, UFlex Limited), all Babson graduates that have succeeded as entrepreneurs, social impactors and in their family businesses. Ms. Malini Agarwal (Founder, MissMalini.com) shared her story of breaking conventions by dreaming big and following oen's passion to build an authentic brand. As a highlight, her talk also touched on the value of being kind on social media. Other keynotes by Mr. Harsha V Agadi (Chairman, Crawford & Company and Quiznos) and Mr. Tarun Khanna (Author, Economic Strategist (Niti Aayog), and Professor) spoke about the power of the population in India, India as the land of opportunities, India's place in the world's future and the value of investing in India. The event ended with a mesmerizing performance by a 6-member Berklee India Ensemble orchestra. The Ensemble has previously performed with AR Rahman, Shankar Mahadevan and many other leading musicians. The performance was the perfect ending for a day filled with discussions on India, and the musicians captivated the audience by playing traditional renditions of popular Indian music. Brand Capital is the strategic investment arm of the Times of India group and offers media investment solutions that smoothen the exciting journey of entrepreneurs in India. To know more about Brand Capital, visit www.brandcapital.co.in / Follow on LinkedIn and Twitter
He did his bachelor's and his master's at Georgia Tech in the US and was the only one to make it to McKinsey, when McKinsey wasn't even a regular recruiter on the Georgia Tech Campus. Today, he is the CEO of Lodha Group, India's largest real estate company. Abhishek Lodha is a world-class builder. Abhishek went down memory lane and spoke about the creation of the landmark Lodha building, World One Tower in Lower Parel, Mumbai. It is touted as India's tallest residential structure. Abhishek had bought a prime piece of land in the heart of the city - at a price many people thought was crazy. He was determined to build one of Mumbai's finest residences and got the best partners in the world to work on it, including the architect IM Pei, who designed the pyramid outside the Louvre in Paris. They created a lot of open spaces and greenery which resulted in the World One tower zooming vertically and becoming India's tallest residential structure. Their audacity was also visible when they took on a large piece of land in Wadala and decided to call the area 'New Cuffe Parade'. This was to evoke similarities with the tiny area of Cuffe Parade in South Mumbai. Abhishek has been instrumental in building and nurturing the brand 'Lodha'. He says "a brand is not what you say about yourself in your advertising. A brand is really about what people say about you when you are not in the room". Lodha's key drivers have been to build credibility, trust, deliver first-rate products and let people know the difference. With a vision to build a strong and recognisable brand, Lodha Group partnered with Brand Capital, the strategic investment arm of The Times Group. Large, Innovative formats of advertising like Power Jackets and Gold Paper were used in The Times of India and The Economic Times to create impact and drive brand imagery. Brand salience was created through sustained presence and a very high share of voice. This was further augmented by Times Group's 360-degree media platforms covering all major consumer touch-points like TV, Radio, Digital and Out of Home. Lodha Group kept their messaging classy and emphasised on consumer experience. They highlighted the quality, premiumness and differentiated nature of living spaces. Lodha Group was also amongst the first real estate builders to associate with top global names like Armani/Casa, Trump, Philippe Starck, Jade Jagger and Indian celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna. Today, Lodha Group's marketing approach and advertising campaigns are benchmarks for other Real Estate developers. Abhishek shared a few of his success mantras which helped him create an organisation that is well-regarded in the pantheon of all corporates. #1 The biggest constraint for an entrepreneur is time. It's best to have a to-do list and take full responsibility for it. #2 Culture is an outcome of actions and not just words. The behaviours need to reinforce those values, every day. #3 Smart People + Right Values = Big Impact. It's important to put together a solid team with a clear focus on the right values. #4 Create bandwidth by adding organisational and personal bandwidth. People with intelligence figure better solutions and help take better decisions. #5 Create a framework when faced with a problem. This ensures that the same problems don't keep coming back again. #6 Adhere to the process, the outcome will take care of itself. #7 Dress well, address well, dash well. Always be well-groomed, speak well and communicate clearly with respect. #8 Manage the price - quality equation. Winning brands ensure that low price does not translate into poor quality. #9 What is the downside of trying? Usually nothing. But if one does not try, one will never win. #10 Respect your people. This is the recipe to create a great business. Brand Capital is the strategic arm of Times of India group. Brand Capital I Brand Estate offers innovative brand-building solutions that reduce the burden of cash flow constraints on developers. A sustained brand-building effort is expensive and in a capital-intensive sector like real estate companies are often compelled to overlook the requirement for branding at the cost of growing their business. 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. 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
Say "I love you Rasna!" all over again. Brand Capital's Native Haat partnership with Rasna makes the brand even more affable! Brand Capital's up-close-and-personal interview with the man behind one of India's iconic brands, Rasna, Mr. Piruz Khambatta. He shares his vision, the challenges, changes in the Indian consumer's taste and the future of Rasna. Building such an iconic homegrown Indian brand comes with its set of challenges, and no one knows this better than Mr. Piruz Khambatta, Chairman and Managing Director of Rasna Pvt. Ltd. Mr. Khambatta first got involved with the company at the age of 18 and has been at the helm of affairs since 1997, when he took over as the Chairman and Managing Director of Rasna Pvt. Ltd. Edited and abridged excerpts: Q. What are the changes that you notice in the Indian consumer? India is a young nation with highly aware of the India customers. They are not swayed by marketing messages. They have a mind of their own and are qualified for making good purchase decisions. This puts immense responsibility on marketers to make ethical and good products that positively affect the life of its customers. Q. You spent a lot of time reformulating Rasna. What are the drivers of this reformulation? Rasna is an iconic brand, loved and trusted by generations of Indians. However, consumer tastes change all the time, and they change much faster in food and beverage. Rasna is now almost three decades old. So, as we look closely at consumer trends and growth markets and we see this time as a great opportunity to re-tool our portfolio and gain market share. Q. Please tell us about your vision for Rasna? Rasna's vision is to become a homegrown F&B brand that prides in providing the best nutritional value by celebrating India's heritage, diversity and culture. We have partnered with The Times Group's Brand Capital Plus and adopted the Native Haat brand. Our recent launches include Indian fruit powders like Aam-Panna, Shikanji and Native Haat honey sourced from the Sundarbans. With honey, we are attempting to provide a healthy alternate to sugar and our current campaign communicates that. Q. This re-positioning needs substantial demand generation; how would you be able to inform customers about this interesting position that Rasna is taking? Native Haat is a brand that stands for 100% natural products and Brand Capital has extended this brand to our partnership. In addition to this, The Times Group also provides a wide canvas of demand generation vehicles that includes the English movie genre besides the news network with Times Now, Mirror Now, Radio Mirchi. It gives a reach to about 270 MN customers on digital platforms, an OOH coverage along with its huge English and regional print options. We are confident that this integrated model of communication will amplify our message to customers in an effective and cost-efficient way. Q. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Rasna and other FMCG companies? I think the biggest challenge today is for customers to differentiate between various claims that companies and marketers make. Validating the variety of product claims is often difficult and can result in customers paying for products that don't deliver on tall claims and promises that companies make. We are disciplined about our brand promise - "the Rasna Promise" and reassure our customers that everything we launch goes through stringent quality checks. We bring the best to customers and pride in the trust they place in our products. Q. What can we expect from Rasna in this coming year? You can expect products that address gaps in the market, products that pride on being Indian and provide high nutritional value and enhance the quality of life. We do this keeping in mind the taste buds of our diverse audience be it toddlers or senior citizens and everyone in between. We will stay true to "The Rasna Promise" - give consumers products ethically sourced with nutritional value and great taste. Brand Capital is the strategic investment arm of the Times of India group. Brand Capital Plus consults, collaborates and extends equity of existing brands housed by The Times group in addition to the investments needed to drive demand for the product/service. It co-owns the entrepreneur's risks and shares the rewards while offering a unique brand experience to customers. This is backed by the unparalleled marketing and media might of the Times Group across TV, radio, digital, out of home and print mediums. This ensures that an entrepreneur can invest in what he/she specializes in, and Brand Capital Plus can employ marketing expertise and media reach. Brand Capital Plus walks the journey from inception to success, to build together a world-class customer offering. To know more about Brand Capital, visit www.brandcapital.co.in / Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter
Can a healthcare start-up learn from the print business and deliver healthy growth? When partnered by Brand Capital, the world's No. 1 media investor, and steered by the vision of an inveterate risk taker, it sure can! Small boy with a big dream Thyrocare founder Arokiaswamy Velumani hailed from a poor family in a tiny village in Tamil Nadu. He started his journey from abject poverty in this small village with just Rs. 400 in his pocket to wealth and prosperity in the city of Mumbai. In Mumbai, he gave up his 14 year-long job at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) to launch India's largest thyroid-testing laboratory. Healthcare as an industry was highly competitive and curative rather than preventive in nature. A few decades ago, the Indian diagnostic market was extremely fragmented, with about 40,000 independent path labs. Thyroid testing was an expensive affair and prescription-driven. Dr. Velumani's vision was to build preventive thyroid testing and make healthcare diagnosis affordable to the consumer. He pioneered in launching preventive healthcare diagnostics in 2006. He reckoned that if he could offer lower prices, he could attract customers and build a large-volume business. This led to the creation of Thyrocare as an affordable healthcare testing brand. Thyrocare built an interesting and unique business model. All the Thyrocare samples spread over 700 cities were bar-coded and clubbed together in the city. Then, they were sent by air-cargo to Mumbai and processed through the night. The reports were generated and emailed back to each centre the next morning. This ensured that expensive machinery was utilized, and the turnaround time stayed less than 24 hours. He faced two challenges - one was to establish Thyrocare as a credible and affordable diagnostics brand and the other was to change the consumer mindset from a prescriptive approach to a proactive preventive one. He partnered with Brand Capital, the strategic investment arm of Times of India. Brand Capital aided Thyrocare in reaching out to the consumers, built stature and made it a trust-worthy 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 anchored on Times of India and 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 also played a pivotal role in generating investor interest. Success mantras from Dr. Velumani #1 Find parallels and inspiration from completely unrelated industries and apply those principles to find new solutions. Dr. Velumani drew inspiration from Times of India printing press and designed an efficient process where the samples would wait for the machines to be processed. Dr. Velumani was a regular reader of The Times of India and it struck him that the company procures news from all over the country through the day and printed centrally at night. That sparked off an idea and he thought he could do the same with blood samples too. One can collect them through the day across the country and process them in one facility at night. #2 Focus. Thyrocare is focussed on thyroid testing, that's it. #3 Make profit not from customers but from suppliers. Thyrocare squeezed out profits from suppliers' margins and not customers' pockets. Volume gave them the leverage to negotiate lower prices from their vendors. #4 Decide, don't discuss. It's all about listening to your inner gut and learning to avoid analysis paralysis. #5 Have an appetite for risk. There are three kinds of people in the world - those who underestimate risk, those who overestimate risk and entrepreneurs! #6 Be hard-working and frugal. Frugality is the only way to succeed in business. Entrepreneurs are creators and not consumers. If they spend all the time consuming, they will not be able to create. #7 Value your employees. Dr. Velumani believed in no fancy HR jargon or consultant's advice, but promoted family days where employees were encouraged to bring their families at work. #8 Throw away the safety net. The closer one is to the epicenter of the comfort zone, the less likely it is to achieve something. #9 Have patience, perseverance and stamina. These are the must-haves for an aspiring entrepreneur. #10 Focus, Learn, Grow and Enjoy - in that order. In life there are plenty of things to but only about a dozen things not to do. Learn what not to do. Don't cheat, don't get distracted, don't be arrogant, don't delay decisions. These success mantras are excerpts from Prakash Iyer's book - You Too Can. To know more about Brand Capital, visit www.brandcapital.co.in / Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter
The Indian FMCG sector presents a plethora of opportunities for first generation entrepreneurs. However, founders often face resource pressures for product differentiation, branding, media usage, and distribution, especially in the early stages of launch. Brand Capital curated a mentoring session in Mumbai to help FMCG 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 mentoring sessions, Brand Capital invites young entrepreneurs for an exclusive mentoring session 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 the first time FMCG entrepreneur. Many companies with niche and differentiated offerings are evolving in the consumer sector, which has been historically dominated by large Indian conglomerates and established international brands. Brand Capital believes that the Indian FMCG market, which is expected to reach a size of $200 billion by 2020, holds a huge potential.With a burgeoning population and varied consumer preferences, each niche is big enough offer for branded play. Any forays into the FMCG consumer space require entrepreneurs to focus on multiple aspects of 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 business. Founders need guidance from industry experts to help make decisions, but limited access and even more limited time renders it into inaction. On 12th January 2018, Brand Capital has mentored a select group of entrepreneurs in the FMCG space. Brand Capital curated an esteemed panel comprising industry stalwarts and domain experts to mentor these entrepreneurs. The panel of mentors included Avani Davda, Managing Director, Godrej Nature's Basket; Rohan Mirchandani, Co-founder & CEO, Drums Food; Rajesh Sehgal, CFA, Managing Partner, Equanimity Investments; Kallol Banerjee, Co-founder, Faasos Food Services; Niteen Bhagwat, Vice-Chairman, FCB Interface; Vinod Nair, Managing Director, Network Advertising; Tushar Parekh, Founder, Managing Director & CEO of Excelus Star Foodbev; Mayuresh Kore, Chief Financial Officer, Adlabs Entertainment Limited; Gaurang Chandarana, Founder, Wellzee.com; Ashok Venkatramani, Former CEO, ABP News Network Pvt. Ltd. The mentee companies were predominantly from the Food & Beverage space and included Poshtik Pregnancy Care - maker of nutrition and skin care, Happa Foods which has a range of nutritious baby food, Daivya Aahar Ready to Eat foods and gravies, Eat Easy Foods Ready to Cook Dehydrated meals, Mexer Beverages - Ready to Drink, Caffeine Free, Non- Alcoholic Beverages & Mixers and all-natural healthy snack products brand Karrotz. The mentors touched upon various key aspects of the scale up journey for these businesses. All business need to start with a vision statement and have immense clarity on what problem they are trying to solve, stated Vinod Nair, Managing Director of Network Advertising. Ashok Venkatramani who has over 20 years of experience with HUL, stressed on the fact that the Target Group needs to be sharply defined, whether it's in terms of sociographic, demographic, geographic or psychographic characteristics. For many companies in the FMCG space, it is tempting to launch a wide range of SKUs from the very beginning to have a suitable offering for all demographic and income levels. While this strategy may be effective for larger companies, it could be detrimental to start-ups, as pointed out by Rohan Mirchandani, Co-founder of Drums Food. He emphasized that for start-ups, it was important to launch only one or at best two SKUs at the outset. The effort should be to make one hero product before launching other products. Avani Davda, Managing Director at India's leading gourmet retailer, Godrej's Nature's Basket stressed on the fact that consumers buy stories and not products. It was important for entrepreneurs to communicate their brand story and their raison d'etre to their TG. For FMCG companies, these stories can be part of the product packaging itself. Niteen Bhagwat, a veteran in advertising and Vice-Chairman of FCB Interface, suggested an innovative strategy of recruitment. He emphasised that there was a large workforce of women who were looking to restart their careers and were highly qualified and experienced. Many mentees felt that distribution is a key challenge in a market like India, and there was a persistent dilemma on online vs offline, modern vs general trade and B2B vs B2C distribution. Avani advised on the kind of margins that they should target before going for a full-fledged distribution strategy. It was also important to first focus on the depth rather than the breadth of the distribution network. All mentee companies expressed gratitude to the mentors for sharing their wisdom and insights at the Brand Capital mentoring program. For entrepreneurs looking for mentoring, click here to register. Connect with us on Linkedin and Twitter for latest updates.