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Ramanujam Sridhar



Hyderabad, Jan. 26 Brands are successful because they are relevant to their customers and are different, Mr Ramanujam Sridhar, CEO, Brand Comm, said at a seminar here.

Addressing a group of management students here recently at the Institute of Public Enterprises, organised by the Business Line Club, he said, “The different part is very critical for a brand as there is so much competition in the branding category especially after the opening of the Indian economy in 1994 as there is so much choice for the consumer today.”

Mr Sridhar added that successful brands are those which are different from competition so that one remembers it at the appropriate time.

Citing the example of Apple, he said that one of the briefs that Mr Steven Paul Jobs, CEO Apple, gave for the design team of the iPod was that in two touches the music should play and that is one of the reasons for the huge success of the product.

“Be it the brand name, shape of the product, the advertising of the product or even the price point, something has to be different about the product, otherwise the brand is not going to be successful,” Mr Sridhar said.

According to him, brands must not only be relevant but also affordable to consumers in rural markets as consumers are price-conscious and brand managers need to be aware of this fact. He said that 57 per cent of India’s population is below the age of 24 and some advertisements, which appealed to this segment, did not make sense to the old. “Young Indians don’t mind laughing at themselves, but it wouldn’t have made sense to a 50-year-old and advertising reflects the time we live in,” Mr Sridhar said. He also said that India forces brands to alter their thinking and pricing is very critical in the Indian context.

“Indian products, unlike China, has not looked at the international market so much, as we have a big domestic market to cater to and, also unlike in China the cost of manufacturing is very high in India,” Mr Sridhar said responding to a question.

To another question on the cost factor, he said that the philosophy of companies in the downturn is to concentrate on riding out the crisis even if prices have to be reduced and the challenge here is market the product based on the strength of the brand.


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