Why are we acting oblivious to brand management?

Often during conferences, seminars and panel discussions, people talk about huge figures of growth, contribution to GDP, turnovers, et all. But the moment the discussion spins towards brand management and marketing strategies of any company, an underlying discomfort is quite conspicuous.

27 Sep 2012 | By Supreeth Sudhakaran

When I had posed the question to a leading printer (who wishes not to be quoted), he had said, "One reason why brand management has never been on the radar is because of the fear of failing. It is not easy to shake off and move out of the comfort zone of your regular business activities.”

Rakesh Bhatnagar of Rave Scan feels otherwise, “Marketing yourselves and initiating brand management tactics is very important in this competitive era. We are the third largest industry, but still not many people recognise print industry’s largest brands.”
Rave Scan and Mass Packsols were the only printing and packaging companies, which were featured in the recently released PowerBrand Rising Stars 2013, organised by Planman Media. While there are several reasons to cheer here, we also need to step back a little and wonder: what is wrong with the brand management strategies of the printing and packaging companies, that only two companies were featured? Are we even interested in creating a brand, or are we happy playing along the stereotype of ‘elite jobbers’?
“The printing and packaging industry usually suffers from lack of proper branding activities that can ensure a better exposure to the third largest industry of the country,” feels Bhatnagar. Ask him further and he adds, “Earlier, it was the case of being oblivious to the fact that branding is important. Then it was the pessimistic attitude of several printers who feared that if they opened a window to the world, everyone would take a sneak-peak inside.”
Brand recall value is something that does not happen overnight. It is a constant process, which are usually based on a trial and error methodology. When Rave wanted to initiate a constant connection with their peers, print buyers, as well as government officials who were connected to the industry, they decided to talk through a 12-page bi-monthly ‘newsletter’. “We started in August 2007. The attempt was to create and maintain a connection with our clients which would also serve as an indirect marketing and branding tool for Rave,” he explains. The idea, which began with an enrolled subscription of 1000, now has a subscriber base of more than 5500.
“There is a perception that keeping everything under the wraps is the right strategy in the industry, which I don’t agree with. We believe in confronting queries with an open face. We do not have to hide anything, until we are going against ethics. So why not talk about the latest machines you have signed up for, the biggest contracts you have recently won (if there are no Non-Disclosure Agreements signed, of course). The more you talk about your growth story, the better exposure the brand achieves,” he adds.
“Previously, people never used to call each other or openly congratulate each other. The times have changed. When we launched a calendar that included beautiful selected painting depicting different months, we received calls from several leading names like Gopsons Papers and Swan Press who said that they really liked the work,” Bhatnagar adds.
According to him, before trying to create a brand strategy, it is more important for all of us to consider printing and packaging more as a FMCG consumables industry. “Without proper printing and packaging, the products won’t have a bigger market. Then why are we not an important industry? We need to believe we are big to make it big.”
The idea is not to blow your own trumpets, but to not shy away from letting your brand recall value depreciate while you are busy catering to your market. If the industry works towards taking brand management more professionally, there is a better chance that in the next few years, there would be more brands who would be featured and talked about as case studies.