Ceo interview icr_about_branding


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Ceo interview icr_about_branding

  1. 1. Cover Story Branding & Celebrity Endorsements HOW GOOD IS THE STRATEGY? Cement companies are aligning their selling strategies with branding campaigns and celebrity endorsements. A review of some of the innovative branding and marketing exercises of the Indian cement companies and their impact on the businesses of these companies. 20  INDIAN CEMENT REVIEW | march 2012
  2. 2. Cover StoryB randing and marketing are Proper attention and focus need the strategies adopted by Cement as a brand concept: to be paid to develop an effective the companies to differenti- Cement being a commodity, it is branding and marketing strategy byate their products from the rest of the challenging for cement companies cement companies. The skill herepack. Today most of the products, to differentiate cement manufactured lies not just in capturing a marketbe it consumer durables such as TV, by one company from cement manu- and selling a commodity but creatingrefrigerator, computer, mobile phone, factured by other companies. This a distinct brand space for the com-etc. or fast moving consumer goods is where an effective branding and modity. Commenting on the need tosuch as soaps, toothpaste, shaving marketing exercise plays an impor- build a brand out of a commodity,cream, deodorant, etc. come with a tant role. When new players are mak- P Ghosh, Chairman, Ercom India, .K.distinct brand identity. Cement play- ing a foray into the Indian market and stated, “Cement is a widely useders too have realized that in order to existing players are trying to stave off commodity in bulk, next to probablyretain customer loyalty, they need to the competition and consolidate their consumption of wheat, and propercreate their distinct brand identity. positions. branding of the product is a very “A credible brand gains more likeability” What are your present the product especially in tenders. marketing strategies for promoting your products? Do you feel brand The brand is positioned as “An promotion by celebrities Experts Choice”. The strategy is to is an effective strategy showcase UltraTech as a young, to reach the targeted dynamic, premium and credible customer? OP Puranmalka, brand which caters to all needs of Many companies have being Wholetime Director, the modern engineer and contem- using celebrities for their brands. Ultratech Cement porary construction needs. Here is Some claim to have benefitted a brand that he can lean back on from this. When a celebrity is used How do you perceive to translate his dreams into reality. one needs to ensure that there is cement as a brand concept? We have also used cricket exten- a Brand Fit. Secondly the celeb- Cement is no longer just a com- sively for brand exposure. We en- rity should be properly placed in modity. Today we have a glut of ce- sure that the brand recall is high the script. When it comes to ce- ment flowing in from several parts of across markets. ment, the consumer looks forward the country. More and more players to building a strong and durable are getting into the national stream. How has branding helped structure and endorsement by a Hence branding makes sense as it cement companies in celebrity may not be a catalyst in is a major differentiating factor. To- increasing their sales? the decision process. In some day there is a visible competition Branding helps differentiate the cases the celebrity will be remem- amongst cement brands to gain products. Brands have become bered and the brand connect may space in the consumer’s minds. The value drivers. In the case of indi- be low rendering the branding pro- common consumer is generally not vidual home builders generally the cess redundant. well versed with the physical and purchase is done by a petty con- chemical characteristics of cement. tractor or mason. Branding helps in How do you see the future His decision is based on the trust he better recall and recognition of the of branding for cement? lays in a brand. For him the name specific product. It also helps in in- Branding will gain more impor- matters. Similarly corporate and in- creasing the trust level of consum- tance in future, because strength is stituitions would also like to be as- ers. Repeat purchases are also fa- hygiene in cement. With the advent sociated with a dependable brand. cilitated by proper branding. In the of new players and increase in ca- Hence a credible brand gains more case of institutional buyers, brand- pacity by current players, branding likeability amongst consumers. ing helps in official specification of is imperative. march 2012 | INDIAN CEMENT REVIEW  21
  3. 3. Cover Story fluenced Holcim to retain the brand name of ACC and Am- buja and not to use Holcim brand. On the contrary, Lafarge adopted its own brand image over the previous brands.” Elaborating on the impor- tance of cement as a brand concept, SVS Shetty, CEO, An- jani Portland Cement, stated, SVS Shetty, Anjani Portland “Cement is very much a brand Cement Ltd concept….When most of the brands manufacturing cement “ maintain standards above BIS critical part of the overall marketing specifications, an awareness of in- strategy. A brand has to be created ternal brand building through good An awareness of around some significant Unique Sell- corporate culture with focus on em- internal brand building ing Points (USP), which could either ployees & external representation be the strength, reliability, quality, will hold great value with the custom- through good corporate trust or heritage etc.” Leading ce- ers.” culture with focus on ment brands in India like Ultratech A well planned and executed and ACC have been in a position to brand strategy also results in in- employees and external improve their market across the coun- creased sales for the company. This representation will hold try through their brand image. The is due to the fact that it helps the ce- driver of the brand value includes the ment companies in developing sig- great value with the brand’s ability to attract consumers nificant market space for its product, customers ” and improve relationship with them, as people normally tend to go with thereby improving sales. the brand name, which has a good An effective branding strategy market reputation. This automati- must also result in proper positioning cally translates into increase in sales “We have started working with the of the product. Commenting on the and a relatively larger market share, end consumers directly in addition role played by a branding strategy in with better realization than unknown to our regular processes of engage- the positioning of a product, Ghosh brands. ment with the trade partners and in- stated, “The branding strategy fluencers.” should help in benchmarking of the Innovative branding & For Anjani Portland Cement, a product and build a positive lasting marketing strategies leading cement player in South In- impression in the minds of the tar- Reaching The Consumers Di- dia, the simplest mantra of brand geted consumers. For example Am- rectly practice is to draw direct communi- buja Cement’s brand is built around Many cement companies have cation lines with the customers and the concept of “Strength”, Binani adopted the practice of reaching the meet all their service requirements. Cement’s brand is based on “long customer directly alongwith the nor- The company has initiated several lasting durability” whereas Ultratech mal practice of interaction with the pathbreaking marketing concepts have positioned their brand as the regular trade channel. This is help- like Anjani Studios, NirmaanSanje- “Engineers Choice.” ing companies in understanding the evani (Mobile Concrete Solutions) Different companies have ad- buying process and preferences of to take the company’s products and opted different branding practices the customer and accordingly al- services to the customers’ doorsteps in order to retain customer loyalty. locate their efforts and resources. through vaastu suggestions, assis- Commenting on this aspect, Ghosh Commenting on the need to open a tance for structural design and draw- stated, “During earlier days, the ACC direct communication channel with ing, cost estimation for construction brand was almost synonymous with the end consumer, BK Singh, ED, and rendering construction supervi- cement, which has probably still in- GM&C, Dalmia Bharat Group said, sion to end users. Commenting on 22  INDIAN CEMENT REVIEW | march 2012
  4. 4. Cover Storythis unique branding practice by the izing the need to engage celebritiescompany, Shetty stated, “A visit to An- to act as their brand ambassadors.jani Cement Studios at the corporate For a common consumer, use of ce-office and towns of Bhimavaram and lebrities promoting the cement brandKakinada will enlighten the customer always has a unified appeal due toabout all aspects, stages and facets the familiar personalities, just like theof cement. NirmaanSanjeevani has case of other FMCG products.” How-proved to be a panacea for all con- ever, cement companies need to bestruction activities in its areas of op- prudent and clearly define the signifi-eration.” Apart from these services, cant USP of the cement being mar- PK Ghosh, Chairman,the company also provides immedi- keted. This will enable the consumer Ercom Engineers Ltdate accessibility of trained structural to be able to relate to the personalityengineers for giving structural advice of the celebrity to those features and “and demonstrating the best uses of qualities around which the brand iscement at all stages of construction, built. It makes sense for a celebrity totheir procedures and raw materials. endorse a cement brand when it is With the cementThis practice has proved to be of new in a particular market and needs market becominggreat value. The company promotes a credible vehicle to build confidenceits brand as cement experience rath- in the minds of consumers and chan- competitive with theer than cement sale. nel partners. Explaining the influence entry of new players, exerted by celebrities on consum-Film Branding ers, Shetty stated, “Many companies all manufacturers are Films have always been the most have taken the support of celebrities realizing the significancepopular form of entertainment for the to reach out to customers. The popu- of product branding ”majority of the Indian population. larity of these personalities is meantHence, this proves to be the most to boost the customer confidenceconvenient and all encompassing in the brand. But whether there is a involve them on a more continuousmedium to reach people. This in- boost in sales is best answered by basis, as brand branding opportunity was used those who have assigned Bollywood However, sounding a note ofby UltraTech cement for the first time heroes and cricketers as brand am- caution on the aspect of branding,in the cement industry. In the 2008 bassadors.” Ghosh said, “The future of brand-Hindi movie, Chak De India, UltraT- ing may have its own problems andech Cement was the sponsor of the Future of Branding for turbulences particularly due to theIndian hockey team. The brand was cement companies likely consolidations, takeovers andvisible throughout the movie. Due to increased competition with mergers, which may happen in the passage of time, the significance of cement industry in near future.” TheCelebrity endorsements branding in ce- Cement companies have also ment products isjumped on the bandwagon of rop- likely to increaseing in celebrities in order to promote further. Thetheir brands. Binani Cement is one of brand war willthe mid-sized cement brands of the intensify and be-BrajBinanigroup. Bollywood super- come more ag-star Amitabh Bachchanis the brand gressive with theambassadorfor the brand. The tag- induction of notline for the commercials is “Sadiyon only celebritiesKeLiye.”Commenting on the practice to promote themof having celebrities endorsing ce- on the television,ment products, Ghosh noted, “Due newspapers andto increased competition, cement roadside hoard-producers are more and more real- ings, but to also march 2012 | INDIAN CEMENT REVIEW  23
  5. 5. Cover Story “The first step is to create differentiation” What is your view on strategies for cement? cement as brand concept? We have started working with the To get a perspective it will be end consumers directly in addition to insightful to do a quick check on our regular processes of engagement some of the adjacent industries with the trade partners and influenc- such as paints, sanitary ware, tiles ers. Dalmia Bharat group is present and electrical switches etc. These in south, east and north east markets industries are at various stages of with very strong brands. The chal- BK Singh, Executive evolution. Paint and sanitarware lenge for us is to craft a strong brand Director, GM&C, are ahead by more than a decade strategy for the overall organization. Dalmia Bharat Group compared to cement – nearer to the consumer and engage directly Has branding helped your influencers and channel partners. with them at the point of purchase. company increase sales? Cement has still a long way to We have strong belief in investing What are the pitfalls in move nearer to the consumer and in our brand and experienced that branding strategy? establish as a brand. there is a direct correlation between Brand building is a well thought- the investment and it’s positive im- out strategy which is linked to the How does one differentiate pact on sales. Additionally it creates overall organizational goals. Any lack one brand from another? higher loyalty of the consumers to- of synergy will weaken the whole ex- The shift from a commodity to wards the brand and can command ercise and can create dissonances a brand in plain terms is a process a better price which can be again and discontinuity in the minds of the of connecting the core product with ploughed back into the brand build- consumer and public at large. Hence the end consumer. The first step is ing process. It is a positive circle. in my view, crafting the organizational to create differentiation in terms of goals is must before brand strategy quality, price, support and reliability Do you feel brand promotion is developed. followed by creating expectations of by celebrities is an effective trust, affection, loyalty and reputa- strategy? How do you see the future of tion. Cement, as commodity needs It is highly subjective and it is a branding in cement? to move towards an augmented of- matter of options one exercises. But I think, we will see many initiatives fering by creating differentiations. personally it makes sense where the in creating differentiations, focus on brand is new in a particular market special application cements and en- What are your present and needs a credible vehicle to build hancing of the consumer engage- marketing and branding confidence in the minds of consumer, ment process. most pertinent example in this case earlier enjoyed. The Ultratech brand ing brands in the country, branding is of Grasim Cement which had its has been positioned as “Engineers and product promotion activities will own brand like Birla Plus& Birla Su- Choice”. This branding exercise has play a much bigger role in coming per and L&T which was holding pre- met with great success. However, it years.” mium segment of cement market. could be a risky affair for some other Presently, brand strategies are Grasim faced a tough task of mak- company to carry out such branding presently centralized, but going for- ing the choice between merging exercise which might end up as a fail- ward, brands with broadband con- L&T brand with the existing brands ure as well. sumer appeal will have values. There of Grasim or to launch a new brand Commenting on the branding role is a gap between perceptions of ad- for the consolidated company. The of cement in the future, Shetty com- vertisement requirement in rural and company decided on the latter and mented, “Brand value will be strongly urban market. Focus on branding in went ahead with the Ultratech brand driven by future growth projections rural market will also be needed in fu- and positioned itself in the premium and the hurdles posed to the present ture, as consumption will be increas- segment of the market, which L&T growth curve. With so many compet- ing in these segments. ICR 24  INDIAN CEMENT REVIEW | march 2012