“It is a wrong perception prevalent in the corporate world that only large organisations and multinationals need to build a strong brand. This is not the case. Smaller companies, also require the power of branding,” says Deepak Kaistha, CEO, PowerBrands India. Kaistha shared insights into the Indian SME domain and branding in an exclusive conversation with SupportBiz.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
As a professional, please elaborate on your understanding of Indian SMEs...
SMEs have supported India’s growth with a commendable contribution. Just like large corporations and multinationals, small firms play a significant role in the economic stability of the country. India has more than 13 million SME units, which are responsible for 45-50% of India's exports. Second only to the agricultural sector, the SME sector creates numerous employment opportunities in the nation, and, thus, have the potential to play a bigger role in alleviating poverty.
However, in order to compete efficiently and mitigate the possibility of becoming irrelevant in the challenging marketplace, Indian SMEs need to innovate, adapt, and revolutionise. This is where branding comes into the picture.
What are the key challenges that Indian SMEs are struggling with?
Despite playing an indispensable role in the economy’s growth, the future of Indian SMEs does not seem to be very bright. The government should provide more favourable support to enhance the productivity of this sector. Backed by an adequate ecosystem, such companies can weave their own success sagas. Issues like low production capacity, corruption, infrastructural bottlenecks, raising funds and knowledge constraints in expansion and modernisation continue to be a big hurdle in the development of SMEs in India.
What is the status of branding among SMEs in India?
‘Branding’ is nothing but differentiating one's products from others, grasping the attention of consumers. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, not many SMEs focus on branding.
To avail of the opportunities present in a developing market, Indian SMEs should focus on strengthening their brands by positioning themselves better for their new target audience. Branding promises customers a certain level of quality, providing apt solutions to their demands. To spur its growth, investing in a branding exercise is a must for a firm. It should be initiated as early as possible, to provide them a competitive edge.
What are the key opportunities in the area of marketing and branding for SMEs?
First, SMEs need to understand that brand building is a necessity, not a luxury. Marketing and branding are two concepts that no firm can afford to ignore. Keeping future benefits in mind, they should create a brand for themselves.
Marketing understands what consumers want, and how a firm can satisfy those demands through its products and services. In a long run, it helps in creating the brand loyalists for the firms. When it comes to a successful sales strategy, brand building exercise is as essential as marketing for small organizations. For marketing strategies to be successful, it is imperative to develop a sound brand strategy. In addition, brand creation plays a vital role in enhancing the global outreach of small firms in the B2B market.
What value can Indian SMEs expect from brand-building?
A common perception prevalent in the corporate world is that only large organisations and multinationals need to build a strong brand. This is not the case. Any firm, irrespective of its size, can benefit exceptionally well by employing a brand-building exercise. Brand-building not only creates a distinct brand identity for a small enterprise, but also differentiates the firm from the rest. It creates a desired pull in the target market, and a sound movement of orders. By improving the reputation of the firm in the market, brand-building enhances the cash inflow of the company. It is crucial for shaping a solid corporate brand image.
What initiatives are you undertaking in this direction?
Understanding that SMEs need a platform to foster their growth, Planman Media, with its initiative PowerBrands Rising Stars, plans to bring prolific companies under the spotlight, on an international stage, augmenting their international brand identity, stability, sustainability, and credibility. This coffee-table brand book is a one-of-a-kind initiative, exemplifying India’s new-age brands that started from scratch and, in a short span, proved their mettle. It is a great opportunity for small companies, to highlight their untold success stories in a never-seen-before avatar, which must not be missed.
PowerBrands Rising Stars will provide the next step to Indian SMEs for growth, by expanding their horizons. The ideology of this project is to salute the icons that have rewritten business rules by becoming the benchmark of achievement and success. It is a suitable platform to give them a wider target audience, an international exposure, recognition beyond the boundaries of the country, and unmatchable networking opportunities.
Please share a glimpse of PowerBrands Glam. How would it be of value to Indian SMEs?
PowerBrands Glam (PB Glam) is a three-day brand fiesta - a brand carnival that will celebrate Brand India in a grand way. This event will witness the discovery of next-generation entrepreneurs and inspiring leaders, forming a constellation of Indian brands. It undertakes to unveil the untold and unseen tales of Indian brands, defining our country’s economic prowess.