These #3 Market Leaders Elucidate Ways of Building a Unique Product It is of immense benefit for entrepreneurs to recognize who they serve, define the market they operate in, promote and share the brand pledge

By Baishali Mukherjee

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For entrepreneurs, the most important asset is their brands. The common misconception lays in the belief that one's products, services, customers, people, company culture etc. are his/her company's most valuable asset. Yes, it is right and these surely are invaluable assets, but the brand is the cement that holds all these amazing things together.

Why is your Brand so Valuable?

Your brand is priceless because it specifically recognizes your products or "you' (i.e. your personal trademark). It makes a mark on your customers' mindset thereby setting you apart in the marketplace.

According to Arijit Dutta, Managing Director of Priya Entertainments Pvt Ltd and owner of the iconic PRIYA Cinema and Bioscope brands, "though you communicate your brand through an array of mediums including the product, logo, website, trademark, etc. these don't define your brand. "Your brand is created through your customers' perception about you, and they feel about you and your product or services. In most cases, you are not the only company in the market selling what you do," he explained.

Legendary ad agency founder David Ogilvy defined a brand as "the intangible sum of a product's attributes- its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it's advertised.'

It is important for customers to differentiate your brand from a plethora of replicas. This can be understood better by taking a deeper gaze at any industry. For instance, if you're a shoe designer and you launch a shoe store, you will enter a $48 billion dollar footwear industry and seek to carve out a piece of the $20 billion dollar pie of annual footwear revenue. But this means you'll need to effectively compete (set yourself apart) against an est. 29,360 pre-existing shoe stores if you were to take a national approach. (Source: StatisticBrain)

Impacting the Collective Consumer Mindset

The question is how to effectively set yourself apart from the shared consumer mindset. The answer is by the means of development and evolution of your own brand. Branding seems hard to pin down for many fledgling businesses and they are often not sure where to start.

Hari Balasubramanian has a bold piece of advice for the startups in this regard. "Start asking questions to your customers and prospective customers from the word go; try and find out what they think when they come to know about your brand name, or when they visit your store. Ask this question often and regularly. We all know that observations can and in all likelihood will change," he asserted.

An entrepreneur for over 25 years, Balasubramanian is the founder of Ontrack Systems Limited, an ICT company headquartered in Kolkata, India employing 250 professionals in six countries.

Find your Metaphorical Voice

What is your "I do not know what"? - That one indescribable, yet distinctive quality that makes your company inimitable? Many times it is hard to elucidate, and entrepreneurs end up imitating what they find good in other brands.

However, as Balasubramanian suggests, "Don't be a cover band i.e. you cannot hum someone else's song perpetually. In fact, simulation is important for initial growth and development. However, we must not depend on imitation as a short-cut to success. To put in long-term, meaningful value, we must – in due course – discover our own mettle," he explains.

Create a Brand Statement

It is of immense benefit for entrepreneurs to recognize who they serve (i.e. identify their target market), define the market they operate in, promote and share the brand pledge and give the audience or readers a rationale to trust their products. Ingenuity and modernization also make a product vibrant and help in building the brand image. Creating a niche market also draws attention to in this exercise while inimitable characteristics craft the brand name.

Shahnaz Husain, Founder, Chairperson & Managing Director of the Shahnaz Husain Group of Companies says, "People are much more aware of products available in the global market; hence your product should be of high quality, in keeping with international standards."

"We became known for an integrated system and Clinical Treatments and Ranges of Products, as well as specialized treatments and therapeutic products for specific skin and hair problems. We have also become known for product innovation and have many firsts to our credit," she puts in.

In fact, there is no doubt that herbal beauty care in India is fashioned after the Shahnaz Husain products and treatments.

Baishali Mukherjee

Former Freelancer

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