October 10, 2020

Odisha Channel Bureau
Bhubaneswar: Leading advertising and PR agency of eastern India, Sanket Communications organised a webinar on “MSME: Overcoming the Challenges of Branding” on a digital platform through Zoom app on Saturday.

The webinar was addressed by Ravindra Nath, Former Chairman & Managing Director, National Small Industries Corporation Ltd. (NSIC) as Chief Guest of the evening.

The other panelists were Sarat Kumar Sahoo, MD, Ruchi Foodline, Avinash Tripathi, Professor Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar and Sambit Mohanty, National Creative Director-South, McCann Worldwide India. Srikant Rath, CEO, Sanket Communications was the moderator of the webinar.

Besides Subhashish Tripathy, Managing Director, Sanket Communications, Prakash Sahu, Director, Sanket Communications, and over 400 MSME entrepreneurs, representatives of various industrial associations like Orissa Small Scale Industries Association and District Small Scale Industries Association (Cuttack), media, educationists and interested students from various universities participated in the webinar.

The evening began with a welcome speech by Subhashish Tripathy. Reflecting on Sanket’s more than 30 years association with various brands and organisations in Odisha and other parts of India, he said “Sanket wants to use its rich expertise in the industry to help and handhold the MSMEs in Odisha. This is a beginning of a series of webinars in that direction”.

Srikant Rath, moderator of the session started the panel discussion. Citing the objective of organising this webinar he added that MSME entrepreneurs and their business can now see hope at the unfolding opportunity and take wings towards new success and growth. “However, in an ever increasing crowded marketplace with cluttered competition, branding plays a pivotal role to make the product unique. A brand inspires trust and it is the single most dominant and unifying statement that embodies a company’s culture & values along with its products and services,” he observed.

Ravindra Nath highlighted how the world has opened up today as a market for MSME entrepreneurs, wherever they are; and how branding is a key input for differentiation and customer relevance in business. He also cited interesting facts about branding as a proven success recipe in case of brands like Lijjat Papad, Nirma and Infosys which had humble beginnings and were able to expand their business by giving priority to branding as much as they gave to the quality of their product or service.

Sarat Kumar Sahoo spoke about how he built “RUCHI” a name as a brand that helped his sales, marketing & growth. He also reflected upon the challenges he faced in promoting his brand and how he overcame them. Dr. Sahoo shared his experience of how branding helped him pitch his products against the competition in a much better way and the comparison between RUCHI with similar players in the category.

Sahoo also highlighted how 4Ps. i.e. Product, Price, Place and Promotion play a pivotal role to create and sustain a brand in the market. He strongly emphasized that MSME entrepreneurs should consider branding as a long term investment.

Avinash Tripathi spoke about difference between Commodity & Brand and how brand creates a long-term value while commodity has a short-term benefit only. He also shared insightful knowledge on what is a brand and how to nurture a brand with same care and dedication the way you nurture your own child. He also spoke about a brand’s touch-points and how a strong branding helped to sustain a product in the market. Adding to this he said investment in brand is investment in business.

Sambit Mohanty spoke about the role of creativity in branding for better consumer perception and the basic creative elements which are hallmark of a good brand. He cited various examples to showcase how investment in branding saw small businesses grow successfully.

Coming to the question & answer session the moderator asked Ravindra Nath what apart from cost are challenges of branding before an MSME and what are the possible solutions and is there an innovative way out for the cost issue involving branding? Answering to this Nath said, “Sustenance of a brand is very crucial. It is aptly said, what is seen is sold. The MSME sector needs a proper handholding to grow in the market. They have to be guided to survive in the market.”

Answering to the questions asked by the moderator on what made him coin his brand name as “Ruchi”, he replied that, ‘Ruchi’ has been derived from a Sanskrit word and in every Indian language it has some meaning. The name itself implies the taste or choice. This showcases an important aspect of branding, that a name should be easy to pronounce, simple and memorable as it will have a better recall value with the customers.

Answering to the question, “Is branding an expensive proposition for an MSME, if yes, how to plan and at what stage”, Tripathi replied that it’s all about mindset. A qualitative product gives a brand identity. So, it is very important to nurture a brand since its inception till it reaches to the last step of the ladder.

Answering to the question as to how important is it to follow the right brand guidelines, Sambit Mohanty said, to maintain uniformity, following the right guidelines is a must as it ensures uniformity in brand tonality.

Concluding the session, Smarajit Mohanty, President, OSSIA thanked Sanket Communications for organising such an insightful webinar and thanked the esteemed guests for their valuable insights. Speaking about the theme of the webinar, he said, this webinar will certainly guide MSME entrepreneurs with a roadmap to overcome the challenges of branding. The knowledge gained in the webinar will certainly help them to tackle the issue of branding more competently in the future.

The webinar was an effort by Sanket Communications in sharing their learning, experience and knowledge, in the field of advertising and branding, for the benefit of the MSME entrepreneurs of Odisha.

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