Monday, August 22, 2011

Googly: Branding on Indian Turf

Below is an extract from my interview coverage with MBARendezvous on "Googly: Branding on Indian Turf"!

“Mind it, Customers are not moron, they will react to your faulty deliveries on commitments so ensure that smart execution is done “

Mr Ramanujam Sridhar is a communication consultant, author, columnist, teacher, trainer, cricket enthusiast and a passionate social activist.

A postgraduate in Management from IIM Bangalore and an MA in Economics from Loyola College, Chennai, Sridhar had spent over six years in the banking industry, and in his own words “counted other people’s money and wrote other people’s Fixed Deposit receipts” before entering the fascinating and often frustrating world of advertising.

After completing over 25 years in the business and holding high-profile positions such as CEO of Pratibha Advertising( now Quadrant), Executive Director, RK Swamy BBDO and Executive Vice President, Mudra Communications, Sridhar founded Brand-comm, in 1998. Brand-Comm is a niche communications company headquartered in Bangalore with seven offices pan-India. Its range of services include brand consulting, advertising and public relations. Several well known brands such as the Future Group, MetLife and Dalmia cements are clients of Brand-Comm.

He is a former President of the Advertising Club, Bangalore and a former president of the IIMB Alumni association. IIM Bangalore has recently awarded Sridhar as a distinguished alumnus of the institute. He was honoured by the Madras Advertising Club for his service to the advertising profession in South India. He is on the board of Custommerce an organization committed to improving the quality of service in the country.

Sridhar is a visiting professor in several leading management schools in the country including IIM, Bangalore. As a guest lecturer at Cornell University, USA he spoke on “Branding in India.” He is on the management committee of a few prestigious management institutions in Bangalore. He also counsels students at ISB, Hyderabad on career options.

Often referred to as the “Third Umpire’ because of a fortnightly column that he writes under this pseudonym in Hindu Business line Sridhar has his own blog which addresses issues in branding and cricket as well.

He has authored three books - “One land one billion minds’, a best seller in India and its sequel “Googly Branding on Indian turf’. He recently launched his third book in Tamil ‘En Vazhi Thani Vazhi’ and is now writing a text book on advertising and brand management.

He has custom-designed programs on branding and communication for major corporations across the country. Oracle, Tata Teleservices, Hindu. Lowe and 3M are a few of them.

A professionally trained counselor, Sridhar helps and guides many distressed individuals at Vishwas a well-known voluntary organization in Bangalore. He is a trustee of Vishranti, an organization committed to helping senior citizens. He is involved with ‘Prerana’ an organization which helps deserving children to go to college. A part of the proceeds of the royalty of the book “Googly” will go to this cause.

Sridhar has recently founded a charitable trust in the name of his late mother to help the education of poor students.

On behalf of our readers we interviewed him to understand his Googly on Brand communication Following are the excerpts of the talk :

When we learn or being taught on how to create Brand or nourish Brand , we tend to forget to learn challenges as how to execute expectations of customers.

Customers adore brands but have certain expectations on perceived values & both tangible and intangible values . we need to understand these values . More so how to ensure that customer gets all values to his / her delight !

Who says that failures won’t come , they will come in at regular intervals. We need to learn from failures. Brand communicates only positivity so ensure that every single failure is converted to pluses and new success story can be written for Brand

Customers are not loyal to any Brand. They will move away the moment deliveries are coming as perceived or promised so execution is the key to hold on customers.

Ageing of Brand is positive sign in Indian context as that vindicates survival of the fittest but newer Brands will continue to challenge leader brands. Since 57% of Indians are in age group with average age of 24 years , we are sitting on golden pot. Never give up, innovate, design, strategize and communicate through multiple mediums of Media vehicles.

Advertising in general perceived as an exaggeration of values of Brand. This can’t be audited or controlled as main function of advertising is to communicate on USPs of Brand and arouse aspirations of customers, rest is up to individual customer to spend judiciously or go out of pocket, this is sheer common sense and nothing connected with image of Brand.

Brand is positively and should be bigger than Brand Ambassador and vice-versa will always be trouble-some for Brand. Brand ambassadors should be chosen or appointed in such a way that Brand must become more stronger in customer’s perceived values.

No more “Googly” folks, you can yourself understand Sridhar’s latest “ Doosra “ on Brand communication and reach him at

Ramanujam Sridhar, CEO, brand – comm.
Read my blog @


Diamond Head said...

Here is a recent interaction verbatim between me and an Indian Grocer stateside-

Me: I would like to return this sack of daal since it has bugs - I just got it from you (he recognizes me as a long time customer) and it is fair that I swap it?

Him: no I don't control what comes in

Me: so what are you saying - you can't take this back?

- that is infuriating

Him: to maat aao (don't bother shopping here)

I think while this may be an odd case in many - it underscores a basic tenet of many an Indian owned business which is that the seller is always king.

True competition drives the equation in the buyers favor and perhaps it is changing the Indian landscape for the better - I did encounter a few improvements couple years back on a trip to Blore. Local tourist bus booking was a breeze with my Tkt being texted to my phone which was honored by the bus driver.

Ramanujam Sridhar said...

Yes the service is improving in pockets.
But we have miles to go before we sleep!