Creating brand value: How to run an effective integrated communications program [#IRE 2014]

Despite the buzz around online retailing in India, the country does not feature even among the top 30 markets for online retail investment, according to consulting firm AT Kearney’s Global Retail E-commerce Index. Also funding is increasingly becoming a challenge with funds starting to prefer the “safe bets” – i.e. the more visible who paradoxically are burning huge amounts of cash to attract customers to their portals.

To gain more depth into creating brand value, at iamWire’s Internet Retail Expo 2014, we had a panel discussion with our industry experts from StrongKofee, SeedFund, Beer Cafe, etc. The discussion essentially revolved around what exactly is the necessity of brand building and how one can run an effective integrated communications program. The panel included Devdarshan Chakrabortyy, Founder, StrongKofee Leadership Communications (Moderator); Mahesh Murthy, Founder, SeedFund; Rahul Singh, Founder and CEO, Beer Cafe and Ritesh Singh, CEO, ARM Digital. Devdarshan started the session saying that integrated communication is a big challenge and  most of the time, the differentiation is ignored. “So, get your thematic story in place to get your brand in place. Its not always important to put huge budgets on it. You can really do it cheaply, efficiently and yourself,” he added.

Putting forward his view, Rahul said that most startups first think of going National. However, its important to start with regional first and create a culture for your brand. “Beer cafe is a story. It is a culture. We are a brick and mortar and will always remain one. There is a lot we have to do but we have done much on digital marketing forum,” added Rahul.

Counter attacking him Mahesh said that its not about your story, its about the consumers story. Market shares keep changing, but in digital there is one king, i.e ebay, where ebay is 80% and nobody else is close. “But what is important to know is that there is no room for number two! You need to be number one or perish. This is a world where a winner takes all,” he added.

Mahesh further said that one really need to have an incredible word of mouth. “Best is to pick a field where nobody else is there. However, if you can’t, then you must have very strong competitive advantage.”

Wherein Mahesh was of the view that, its not necessary to always spend big sums on media, Ritesh at the same time believes that brands not spending in marketing will shut down media companies, but will increase the earning of consultants on the other hand.

Devdarshan continued the discussion on lines of traditional and digital media. According to him, traditional media is consumed along with Digital. Mahesh on the other hand forced that traditional media is now niche media.

“The only mass medium is Digital! Niche mediums is used for amplification. 110 million TV sets in India is drowned by the reach of Mobile in India which is double. What is important is to understand, the creation of remark worthy material. Traditional media adds to digital media,” he added.

Ritesh also believes that experiment is the key and there is no secret passage to success.”More and more people are a part of the event. We all must be ready to fail. Learn about your category and competition. the best is to learn from your parallel industry. You need to know your consumer and your budget.”

When asked what happens when things go wrong? Crisis management on digital media, does an entrepreneur have the kind of time? Mahesh answered, “You can’t control digital media. All you can do is monitor and manage it. Be open and honest and accept the blame if its your fault.”

For an overview of the social media discussions around this session, see this Storify. You can also watch this three-minute trailer or the full video.

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