A special session on “Indestructible Brands: Building Brands to Survive Disruption” was held at AIMA’s 2nd National Leadership Conclave (NLC) on 3rd & 4th March 2016 at New Delhi.
Below is an excerpt of the Q & A between Ms Supriya Shrinate, Chief Editor-News at ET NOW and Mr Santosh Desai, Managing Director & CEO of Futurebrands India Ltd, Author, Columnist, Social Commentator.
Santosh Desai addressing AIMA’s 2nd NLC
How has brand building changed in India and why are we so obsessed with disruption?
I think we live in a time where things are changing very fast and we have said this for a few decades now. You know there is a sense that things are changing but in the last seven or eight years, in particular, it’s not just the pace of change, It’s as if our foundational assumptions, the way we see the world itself has changed. And I think this creates a very interesting challenge at this particular point in time. I found the subject interesting, ‘indestructible brands: building brands to survive disruption’. Implicit in this articulation, It’s curious because there are certain assumptions that are built into this. It says building brands to survive disruption, not to create disruption. Brands are implicitly imagined as some sort of citadels, fortresses which do not create the new but which somehow must survive the new, which are not found in the source of change but they are under attack from change and they must protect themselves against disruption. This is very interesting. I just find this unconscious mental model of the brands as not being the source of change but being under threat. I also find it interesting that we are yearning for indestructibility. This idea that a brand is a permanent asset that you create once which stays for life and forever and forever, which survives attacks that marauders and invaders make on it and it stands there proud defined over millennia, this is an outdated idea. This yearning, this nostalgia for a permanent notion of a brand, It’s fundamentally at odds with the world that we live in.
Below is an excerpt from the speech of Mr. Rajeev Bajaj, Managing Director, Bajaj Auto Ltd on the theme ‘Building World Class Indian Brand’ at AIMA’s National Leadership Conclave.
Rajiv Bajaj at AIMA’s NLC
“I would in the context of today’s discussion tell you a little story about my own self. This is about when I was in college in Pune. I passed out in 1988 and I must tell you I was the most popular student in college and let me tell you the reason why because in 1988 if you wanted to buy a scooter, you had to wait for one and half year. So every professor and student was my friend and whenever they wanted a pair of wheels they had to come to me and make a request. That was the glorious period of “Hamara Bajaj”. I joined Bajaj in 1990 and the financial year 2000 was thankfully the first and last year when the company didn’t make any money making two wheelers. That is how dramatically my world changed from 1990 to the year 2000.The scooter went from having a waiting period to being in a situation where nobody wanted to buy it anymore.
“Someone once said, that coffee is a serious man’s drink.”
We, at Café Coffee Day believe that the café culture is inherent and so is the need for people to connect. We saw the opportunity to humanise the affair and that’s why we went ahead and added a smile to it. Talking about challenging conventional methods, we often hear people stating, “I have 25 years of experience”.
One needs to understand that what matters more is wisdom and not the number of years, unless things are done differently.
Talking about challenging conventional methods, Social Media has been a great revolution and we as a brand have adopted it in a big way. It has been the cause, catalyst and outcome of challenging convention. The core of this medium is that it catalyzes change and that’s the first step in challenging convention!
We believe that simplicity is of utmost importance and it is critical to ignore the noise around you. Further, it’s not necessary to re-invent the wheel all the time.
I would like to share some examples from our own experience back in 1996, when Café Coffee Day started its first CCD in Bangalore. People, at that time couldn’t imagine paying more than 3 rupees for a cup of coffee. When we launched, we started with a cup of coffee for 25 rupees and with the concept of providing cyber cafes where people can manage to carry on their work using free Internet while enjoying a cup of coffee.