Point of Purchase - - CONTENTS - N Jay­alak­shmi

From cre­at­ing holis­tic re­tail level so­lu­tions to of­fer­ing a good so­cial net­work plat­form for shop­per con­nect, BrandVak is all poised to be­com­ing a one-point re­tail mar­ket­ing so­lu­tions com­pany.

Ev­ery­thing we wanted to do but couldn’t do,” might sound like the ti­tle of a best-sell­ing self-help book but that is ex­actly how the core team at BrandVak would sum up while de­scrib­ing their of­fer­ings and so­lu­tions. The “ev­ery­thing” here of course can be trans­lated to mean ev­ery­thing that a brand needs to make its re­tail pres­ence stronger, whether it is in terms of vis­i­bil­ity, com­mu­ni­ca­tion or shop­per ex­pe­ri­ence. In fact, these three key words -- vis­i­bil­ity, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and ex­pe­ri­ence – are what the speech bars in the com­pany’s logo stands for -- a good in­di­ca­tion of what BrandVak sees as the need of the hour. In­deed, hav­ing had re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence for more than 10 years, Bi­jitesh Mal­lik, CEO, BrandVak In­cor­po­ra­tion, teamed up with Anil D.S, who is the Di­rec­tor of BrandVak, and the two of them de­cided that the time was ripe to pool to­gether their skill sets and ex­pe­ri­ences and start some­thing more fo­cused on re­tail and shop­per mar­ket­ing, thus hop­ing to im­ple­ment ideas which they were un­able to dur­ing their stint at var­i­ous re­tail so­lu­tions com­pa­nies. Thus was born BrandVak. Says Bi­jitesh, “We felt that there was a need for a fo­cused or­ga­ni­za­tion to cre­ate the bridge be­tween the shop­per and the store. That’s how we con­cep­tu­alised BrandVak -- as a re­tail mar­ket­ing and shop­per mar­ket­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion.” He adds fur­ther while ex­plain­ing the thin line di­vid­ing re­tail mar­ket­ing and shop­per mar­ket­ing, “The two are very dif­fer­ent. Re­tail mar­ket­ing is some­thing very new and as for shop­per mar­ket­ing,, though peo­ple have been talk­ing a lot about it for a long time, ev­ery­body de­codes shop­per mar­ket­ing in the way it suits them. Shop­per mar­ket­ing in re­al­ity is about a broader per­spec­tive of how you look at brand strate­gies in a man­ner that is more shop­per fo­cused. So we felt that there was a need for an or­ga­ni­za­tion that looks at shop­pers and not con­sumers. Con­sumers is for Above The Line agen­cies to look at, but we felt that there was a need to look at how a con­sume be­haves inside a shop­ping en­vi­ron­ment and that’s when he or she be­comes a shop­per. So that’s where we come in; where the ATL fin­ishes its work, our work be­gins.” So what BrandVak es­sen­tially does is trans­late the over­all brand essence and project it onto re­tail for its clients. This starts from some­thing as cru­cial as pack­ag­ing and goes all the way to shop­per un­der­stand­ing. For ex­am­ple, for the brand Cor­ni­tos, a Gur­gaon based brand that sells Desi style Na­chos, BranVak, by chang­ing the look and feel of the prod­uct pack­ag­ing, made a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence to the brand at re­tail and helped it stand out among the clut­ter of in­ter­na­tional brands in the stores. This in­volved un­der­stand­ing of shelf space and size at re­tail and shop­per ab­sorp­tion of brand po­si­tion­ing among other things. BrandVak has also worked with com­pa­nies such as 3M and Hike, a height en­hanc­ing shoes brand based out of Hong Kong and a few other brands, cre­at­ing re­tail vis­i­bil­ity so­lu­tions for them. Talk­ing about the de­liv­er­ables that the com­pany brings to the ta­ble, says Bi­jitesh, “We cre­ate the essence of the brand at re­tail. We say we “we’ll make your brand speak at re­tail”. On the other side, we are also work­ing with re­tail­ers, es­pe­cially the smaller play­ers who are com­ing into the mar­ket, and we work on cre­at­ing the brand iden­tity for them be­cause re­tail brand iden­tity is very dif­fer­ent from cor­po­rate brand iden­tity and also prod­uct iden­tity. Re­tail brand is the brand at the door and the other brands are the brands on the floor.” In­deed, for a com­pany oper­at­ing in what is still un­der­stood to be a niche seg­ment, the main chal­lenge for BrandVak is to ex­plain the ac­tual mean­ing of re­tail iden­tity to clients. Be­sides, there is also the chal­lenge of lack of enough col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the re­tailer and the brand. Says Bi­jitesh, “We al­ways stress on brand-re­tailer col­lab­o­ra­tion and that is still not hap­pen­ing in a mean­ing­ful man­ner in In­dia. For ex­am­ple, cat­e­gory man­age­ment is some­thing that is re­tailer spe­cific and in­ter­na­tion­ally it is the re­tailer who takes a call on this. But in In­dia, while some of the big re­tail groups do it, the ma­jor­ity of them leave it to the brand, so the lat­ter has to take the leap and cre­ate the over­all cat­e­gory for the re­tailer so that both the re­tailer space and the brand vis­i­bil­ity are en­hanced.” As for the com­pany’s USP Bi­jitesh would de­fine it as, ‘Re­tail Mar­ket­ing’ be­cause “that has not been de­coded very strongly yet and we un­der­stand the over­all dy­nam­ics of how the brand needs to speak at re­tail”. Sharath Bhat, Se­nior Ad­vi­sor, Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, BrandVak adds to it thus, “We are ac­count­able to mak­ing the brand vis­i­ble and en­gage at re­tail and we are very fo­cused on re­sults.” Go­ing fur­ther, the com­pany is plan­ning to fo­cus heav­ily on so­cial net­work mar­ket­ing. Be­sides, the long term vi­sion is to cre­ate a re­tail mar­ket­ing agency with a pan In­dia re­call. As Bi­jitesh says, “So when clients think about re­tail mar­ket­ing and shop­per mar­ket­ing the first name that comes to their mind should be BrandVak.”

Bi­jitesh Mal­lik, CEO, BrandVak In­cor­po­ra­tion & Anil D.S, Di­rec­tor BrandVak

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