Breathing Life into a Brand

Breathing Life into a Brand

GREAT LAKES GUEST LECTURE SERIES – Mr AVIK CHATTOPADHYAY

Co-FOUNDER – EXPEREAL INDIA

27th July 2018:

Fridays at Great Lakes, Gurgaon, generally mean a session with a seasoned industry expert. Dressed in our formal best, armed with laptops and notepads, the Great Lakes’ PGDM batches, Aztecs and Jaguars, were ready to welcome Mr Avik Chattopadhyay for an interactive session focused on Branding. Being a marketing enthusiast, I was eagerly looking forward to this session.

Mr Avik Chattopadhyay: He is the founder of a brand consultancy firm, Expereal India. The firm deals with building strategy for several brands. He possesses extensive experience of more than a decade in Branding for the automobile industry and has previously worked with giants like Volkswagen, Maruti Suzuki, Apollo Tyres, Peugeot, to name a few, in leadership roles.

The interactive session majorly focused on the characteristics of a brand that keeps it relevant in the long run. Mr Chattopadhyay explained that at the heart of each and every brand, lie some core values and characteristics which derive its purpose and are in-sync with the hearts of the consumers. If a brand cannot connect with its audience, it is eventually and inevitably going to phase out.

He further added that the idea of a brand is applicable to everything, from products and services to organizations, teams and even individuals. In order to substantiate his words, he offered examples of prolific standings like that of the Nalanda University – standing for knowledge, the Pyramids – standing for their engineering marvel, and the Himalayas – standing for both tranquillity and as a symbol of challenge. While these can be perceived as products from a marketing perspective, there are individuals like Elon Musk, Christopher Nolan and Steve Jobs who are nothing short of a brand in themselves.

He explained that in today’s context, a brand is something that is highly misunderstood and many a time is just equated to a bunch of tangibles like a logo, slogan, advertising or maybe a Facebook page. A brand in its entirety is way more than that and is reflected by “what it stands for.” It is something that is promised and delivered consistently.

Having worked with some of the most reputable brands – Maruti Suzuki and Apollo Tyres – he then took the students for a Case Study ride to showcase how these two companies came out from a series of troubles and bad market standing and how they were able to turn around the brand image to what it stands for today.

In the case of Maruti Suzuki, he described the worst couple of years in the company’s timeline i.e. from 2000 to mid-2002 and how that was a major motivation to introduce a product which entirely revolutionised the Indian automobile market. The product was Maruti Suzuki Swift. While Swift was built for a newer target market and was designed as per it, the entire project remained true to the brand idea of Maruti Suzuki, which is – democratization of mobility.

A similar case of Apollo Tyres was discussed. While Maruti Suzuki had a very inside-outside approach to solve its problem, Apollo did just the opposite and succeeded too. He laid out the importance of setting and adhering to benchmarks along with devising a long a term strategy to be truly successful.

The session turned out to be more enlightening than any of us imagined and that was evident by the storm of questions Mr Chattopadhyay received from the knowledge-hungry Great Lakers. To conclude, this was one of the sessions which will be in the memory of everyone who aspires to make a career in Branding.

Author: S SnehanshN

PGDM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

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Sitting in the Hall of Fame

Even at the age of 80, Dr Bala V. Balachandran, is an inspiration to many and a motivation to many more. His energy, enthusiasm, knowledge and, most importantly, wit are the key traits that make him so loved and respected by all.

Having an opportunity to attend his class was truly a blessing. After interacting with this great gentleman, I often kept wondering what is it like to be successful at the age of 80? What keeps him going?

When asked the same, Uncle Bala said, it’s the enthusiastic students and their never ending thirst of knowledge. Seeing, interacting, teaching and always being surrounded by people in their twenties make him feel twenty at heart and the love and respect that he receives from then is what encourages him to achieve more and do more for them. Well, this is ‘attitude being gratitude’ at its finest and speaks volumes about the character of this phenomenal person. It is in my personal opinion, that it’s not just being successful but doing it the right way is what differentiates the men from the boys.

So, what was it like to attend his class? The aura of the class comprising of the enthusiasm of the students and the respect that he commanded were among the first oblivious things that can be observed. The constant humour, witty one-liners, the command and expertise over the subject (duh! he is the pioneer of the subject) and his constant real-time illustrations are the composition of his class.

The key take away for a student from Uncle Bala’s class are the real life experiences shared, industry specific problems defined and the strategic methods implemented to solve the same which are in correlation with your academic subjects helping you bridge the gap and connect the dots.

In his short stay of 3 days and 10 hours of classes, he has given us much to cherish and the impression that he has left on us students will be everlasting.

Author: Ashwin AN

PGPM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

The Great Lakes Bike Squad – Roadtrip #1 – AGRA

It was the Sunday of the penultimate week of term 1 when the examination schedule arrived and noticing that we have a 2 day holiday post exams, was enough to lift our spirits after the 7 weeks of rigorous classes, assignments, quizzes and projects. Being the kind of travel enthusiast and an adventure junkie that I am, I immediately started planning a road trip.

Post extensive deliberations and discussions, “The Squad” decided that Agra was the best place to visit in this limited span of time.

Introducing the squad:

 

 

With the exams done and dusted, we nut heads, Chinmay, Rishi and I (Ashwin) were super pumped up for this trip. We got our bikes washed and fueled them up for the ride.

The Kickstart: Day 1: Saturday

We started our journey early in the morning at 6 AM and were greeted by foggy clouds, slight drizzle and curvy roads. As we cruised through the countryside with cool breeze caressing our bodies and ruffling our hair, a kind of indescribable euphoria took over.

The benefit of starting at 6 in the morning is that we covered good ground in no time and by the time we reached the National Highway, we were starving. After devouring a few parathas, we were on our way to our first major stop, Mathura, the birth place of ‘Lord Krishna’. We explored the town for a while and then made our way to Vrindavan to seek the Lord’s blessings. Following which, it was now time to head towards Agra and the gorgeous Yamuna Expressway, with its scenic beauty, embraced us with open arms.

 

Yamuna Expressway was a full-throttle adrenaline rush!!! Cruising at 120 KMPH and pushing our vehicles to their limits, it was an amazing feeling altogether. Post all that adventure, we stopped for our mandatory photo shoot and reached Agra at 2PM. Later in the evening, we explored the former capital of India gazed at the beauty of the TAJ in awe.

Day 2: Sunday – TAJ, definitely worth every superlative description out there

Being the early birds that we are, we visited Taj at 6AM and it was truly a feast for the eyes. After gazing endlessly upon the monument of love in a peaceful environment devoid of any noisy tourists, we started our journey to Fatehpur Sikri and reached there by 11 AM, visited all the historic monuments and by 3 PM we were back on the road.

Within a span of 48 hours, we covered a distance of 500 KMS and reached our campus safe and sound by 7 PM.

With this adventurous trip behind us, we realised that this was first official Bike Squad of Great Lakes. The three of us mutually agreed to carry forward this tradition of road trip whenever the opportunity presents itself and keep on adding more members to The Squad in the future.

 

Author: Ashwin AN

PGPM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon