Jaldi 5 with Ashish Mishra: ‘Great deal of confusion in brand consultancy sector’

31 Jan,2013

By Johnson Napier


Having flagged off its operations in India, brand consultancy firm Interbrand will be aiming at living up to its global reputation of being the only integrated brand services offering that completes the loop of creating, managing and evaluating brands.


Ashish Mishra, Managing Director, Interbrand India responds to queries by MxMIndia on the agency’s strategy for the Indian market and what one can expect from it in the near future.


01. It’s been almost a year since Interbrand had announced its launch in India through acquisition of Water. You waited almost a year to kick off operations in India? Why the delay?

Interbrand as world’s leading brand consultancy is very particular who represents the Brand Interbrand. Yes, like we advise our clients, unless we are sure of being completely aligned to the Brand internally, we do not encourage our representation. With an intent of migrating Water to Interbrand, we undertook the course of imbibing the Interbrand way. Of thinking, doing and behaving. The interesting part was that the unlearning turned out to be a bigger challenge than learning!


a What does the Interbrand team in India look like?

We have attempted to build our team as well as our clientele on the lines of ‘big & few’. So


the lean team has very senior people from diverse backgrounds as­ Business & Brand Strategists, ex marketing heads from some of the top Indian corporates, arguably some of the best design talents in the market, architects, pop culture experts, financial analysts, etc. That’s how the Interbrand India team looks like.


02. Though yours would be a pan-India approach, what would be the initial priority markets that Interbrand would be focusing on in India?

We are geography neutral. Our business priority is around the nature of work. We would like us to do most upstream work in the area of Branding as we establish Interbrand in India. We are known for our strategic rigor and especially for the concept of Brand Value that we have pioneered in the world. We would like to do assignments that bring alive our positioning ­that of creating & managing brand value.


a How have clients taken to your offerings in India? Would you be doling out services across categories in India?

Interbrand has tremendous reputation in every market around the world. We were the first global brand consultancy and we are world’s leading brand consulting firm today as well. We are also uniquely placed as the only integrated brand services offering that completes the loop of creating, managing and evaluating brands. Our entire suite of brand services are on offer in India as well.


03. While Mahindra is a global client, what would be your approach towards local clients who’re looking to go global in approach?

One of the clear agendas we have set for ourselves is to partner the Best Indian Brands and help them become serious contenders for becoming Best Global Brands. Having done Brand Valuation for TATA, Re Branding, Valuation & Engagement for Godrej, we have a rich history already to build on around this agenda.


04. In a market that’s stayed flat in a tough economic year, do you see clients increasingly opting for redesigning/branding exercises going forward?

The tougher the market, the higher the relevance for Branding. Simply because, best brands enable strategic focus, synergy and efficiencies. Very clearly, good branding doesn’t just create long term brand value but immediate business value.


05. How will you leverage intra-group expertise to for Interbrand’s growth in India? And what do you foresee for the brand consultancy sector in India?

We are fortunate to have the benefit of all the Omnicom Group companies in India. DDB Mudra is a tremendous local network and is always a great option for the communication and implementation aspects during the expression part of branding value chain.


It is still a nascent industry with great deal of confusion. Almost all agents and departments consider themselves to be brand custodians, while the true understanding of brand creation and management evades most. Marketing, advertising, marketing services, creative productions…almost everyone talks of brands on a superficial basis. I believe some good demonstrations of brand & business value creation will prove to be educative. We are on a growth path as an economy and globalization imperatives will be a key driver of branding in India. The tone once set would create both an aspiration as well as a competitive compulsion for the rest to emulate.


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