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