Creating Indian Brands is the need of the hour

Alpana Parida, an IIM–Ahmedabad alumna, is the face of a variety of branding solutions. Currently she works as President at DY Works, an established brand consulting and brand design firm. Some of the achievements that DY Works has to its credit are brand creation for Bingo and Yippie Noodles (ITC Foods), brand architecture for Nerolac and Kurkure and brand rejuvenation for Dabur. Parida has also worked as the Head of Marketing for an organic food company in the US. Prior to joining DY Works, she worked as Marketing and Merchandising Head at Tanishq.

Adgully caught up with Alpana Parida as she talks about the nuances of branding.

Alpana has been a part of the advertising industry for a really long time. Talking about her journey she says, The callibre of people who joined advertising was very different earlier. Higher advertising resulted in higher market share. Today however with the market, advertising has also become very cluttered. Categories have multiplied, brands in the categories have grown exponentially and the variants under the brands have grown tremendously. The shelf price however has remained the same. The importance of the retail outlet and the shelf has grown dramatically. This has led to consumers becoming increasingly aware of what they want.”

Alpana says that although there is a lot of market research available today, very little of it is actually usable. Research which gives deep insights into the market structure is rare. She points out that semiotic analysis is the answer to this problem. Semiotic analysis helps in understanding brands and thus helps in creating brands which are unique to India.

Speaking about how the branding scene has evolved in India, she said, In the Indian context, we are adopting foreign constructs. This gives us marketing cues which are irrelevant. Thus, the creation of brands in the Indian cultural context seems to be missing altogether.” She states that there is an immediate need of studying our culture properly and building brands on the basis of these studies.

Providing insights into what can be done to improve the situation at hand Alpana said, There are very few truly successful Indian brands which have used the understanding of the Indian basics, even for product design and development. Brands can create huge differentiation through product design and packaging design as well as packaging structure design. The market needs to concentrate on these critical aspects.”

Talking about some of the immediate goals of DY Works, she said, “There are several objectives in mind. We do a lot of work internationally in places like United States, Singapore, and Middle East. So, we are trying to gain a foothold there as we look forward to establishing our offices outside India. This would be the definitely be the immediate growth plan. The larger and long term objective is to evangelize the need for branding and creating strong brands that can actually build market shares rather than advertising.

Some of the core competencies of DY Works are brand strategy and brand design. Shedding light on the brand design process, Alpana said, There are different kinds of branding solutions. One of them is import wherein; expats set up shop and offer brand solutions in India. The other kind is freelancers and young designers. Brand Design has to be a strategic answer to a brand problem .This is the most crucial part. When people choose a branding solution they should ensure that there is a strategic problem that is being answered through the design otherwise it would just remain a pretty picture.”

Commenting on the importance of the digital media in the brand-building process, she said, The digital platform has become increasingly important in the recent times. Anybody can access your brand from anywhere in the world and the experience they get is of utmost importance. People have enormous power today. The best thing about the medium is that you can have direct access to your consumers and thus interact with them on a greater level. It is equally an opportunity as much as it is something that you need to watch out for.

Alpana believes that the visibility in advertising need not be so much as the visibility on the shelf as she states that the moment of truth changes from the time consumers watch the advertisement to the time they actually buy the product.

Alpana Parida is currently reading a book by Roland Barthes; a French author who is also a semiotician. The book is about mythology and provides an understanding of how cultural material can be used to understand societies. “At DY Works, we use a lot of semiotics and the author was an early proponent of semiotics, she concludes.

By Aditi Popat [aditi(at)adgully.com] - AdGully

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