The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Brand blitzkreig harbinger of retail boom

New Delhi, Nov. 15: Does retailing “numb your senses and excite your wallets'” When it does, the retailing concept will have become a success in India.

A seminar organised here by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) tried to ascertain whether the old adage was true or not. Discussing the theme of reinventing the company and creating retail brands, Suhel Seth from Equus Advertising said, “Brands provide enduring benefits but these benefits need to be well understood by those retailers” for shoppers to be “benumbed and excited.”

“In India, value for money only indicates low price and not the real value of a product. Therefore, a brand must be one which has catchment areas for consumers, seeks to remain a provider for value-added products and companies selling their products must also stand as guarantors for them,” Seth said.

He added that in the current retailing scenario in India, some brands are either in the process of making their mark or still wish to make their mark..

Earlier, speaking at the seminar, Sue J. F. Evans, principal-retail, AT Kearney, said, “Retailers are a population of mastodons. They are invading green pastures globally”. Outlining the emerging trend in the area of retail, she said cannibalism will accelerate and retailers will be pushed to find newer pastures.

Sudershan Banerjee, CEO, Hutchison Essar Telecom, said every organisation is a consumer company by itself and operates in a retail environment. “It is important to understand that brands are not created by organisations or bill boards, they are in the perceptions and minds of the people who touch it”.

He said brands represent the companies we live in and the values that we believe. Banerjee indicated that while there is a huge competition in the market, but what the consumers see, need and desire is very different from what they finally get. The consumer today wants to have the power and ability to dictate than to be dictated. “The journey to create a retail environment must be people focussed, process focussed and strategy focussed”.

Sushil Suri, chairman and managing director of Dr Morepen Laboratories said: “The biggest challenge for any brand is to first identify whether they are in the right place or not. Also, firms need to look back and see when did they last invent themselves. I can say at least the pharma sector has not looked at its strategies for a decade”.

“No business can have a sustenance model of 10, 20 or 30 years. We need to re-look at the models on which we are working on today. Will they remain valid tomorrow or not' It is time that we realise that change is very abrupt. It does not want to stop and we realise that all of a sudden there are new animals in town,” he added.

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