The journey from being a label to being a brand

Retail in India is evolving by the day. The growing affluence of young population, their changing lifestyles and the spending habits and attitudes, and the constant aggression and innovation shown by retailers to reach the B and C cities...
The journey from being a label to being a brand
Noted retailers tell us what it takes to create an iconic brand.
Retail in India is evolving by the day. The growing affluence of young population, their changing lifestyles and the spending habits and attitudes, and the constant aggression and innovation shown by retailers to reach the B and C cities are drivers behind the consistently growing retail industry in the country.Let’s see what the numbers say. According to a recently published report of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) titled, ‘The Indian Retail medley: Coexistence and Growth of Unorganised, Organised and Online Retail’ the Indian retail market is expected to grow from USD 550 Bn in 2015 to an estimated USD 2,100 Bn by 2025. It promises to be a four-fold growth. While the organised retail is expected to grow seven fold, the online retail will show a staggering twenty six folds growth.
 
From label to brand: A continual reform
With so much to munch on from the pie, retailers are biting on larger chunks and creating brand identities that tempt, and controlling how their brands should be received by people. Everything from the product to price, to promotion, to presence, labels today are busy investing in building brands.
According to Rajesh Jain, Managing Director, Lacoste India, “Your brand should inspire an enduring form of affection that any entrepreneur would want in her/his brand. Your product should recognise the need of the buyer, have a price in tandem with its positioning in the market, should be present where there is a need and should be rooted. It should have a DNA of its own.”
He also mentioned that while there is no formula that can guarantee turning a label into a brand, the brands need to change with the times and embrace technology, that continual reform is the way forward.
Dhamotharan R, VP and Head Buying Merchandising, ITC Wills Lifestyle retailing Business, believes that the label becomes a brand when customer recognises it by just looking at it. “Consumer need is one element and differentiation from the supply side is another. If your customer looks excited by just looking at your product, you know you are running an iconic brand. But, after all, one needs to make that exist with commercial business viability. Make your product available at all places where your target audience is expected to shop at, assure them the brand promise. Availability would be an important aspect, too.”
 
Invest organically to grow brand’s status
Mrinal Mathur, who is heading the Marketing vertical at LT Foods Ltd., one of the better known names in the processing and exporting business of packaged rice in the country, agrees that the brand has to be looked at from the customer’s perspective to understand what it is expected to deliver. “I would think it as an investment. Get the customer on your side. Today, people are not focused on making profits but on acquiring customers. When you connect with them holistically, your loyalists will connect themselves and talk about your brand through word of mouth. The excitement with which they will look at the brand will assure you that you have built a quality consistent product.”
The entrepreneur would be required to sustain all these values through the life of the product to make it into an iconic product. Brands like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonald’s etc prove that in any part of the world.So, while the brand has to be deeply rooted and should have a DNA, it needs to keep reforming with changing times. Retailers should create a product which is non-negotiable, a quality product that is consistent, and assure a brand promise through it, so that the customers identify the values of buying it. Sustaining all these values through the life of the product is what makes a label into an iconic brand.      
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