Ludhiana in Punjab comes second to Tripur, Tamilnadu in hosiery industry. India being an emerging economy has the problem of scaling up of business organisations. Most Indian entrepreneurs prefer a 'minimal' risk route by manufacuring goods for other brands rather than going directly into the market with their own brand.
In fact most businessmen do not plan a budget for marketing more than salaries of sales staff and a few rupees for an odd advert in the print media or a tvc. Marketing is treated as an additional post production activity. How could one compete in market without a name and reputation?
We all have heard of Lifebuoy, Lux, Dettol, Dove, Pears etc. But how many have heard of VVF? My humble suggestion to our decades old established business houses would be to go in for branding and secure thier long term position.
Some years ago india did not had the 300 million middle class then it was okay to manufacture for european and US brands. But now when Indian consumers have demonstrated their natural preference for strong brands, it is time for us to have a relook at our branding abd positioning to keep the customer happy. It is not that ludhiana industry has not tried their branding but their experience does not seem to be very happy.
I remember OWM casablanca people tying up with pringle decade ago. You would surely recognise Montecarlo as a wollen brand. Some other business houses from ludhiana also roped in national level advertising agencies but the result has not been great. Why? Firstly Ludhiana businesses suffer from chronic deficit of talented marketing pros. Though the leaders are open to innovation. I remember having sold a 'cartoon contest' feature to leading most cycle manufacturer while working for a english daily. It was a completely new exercise.
Secondly most business leaders control thier businesses very tightly killing any possibilities for a talent to flourish. Let us have look at some of the brand issues from Ludhiana. Monte Carlo has been stretched to cover non wollen items, When montcarlo launched a new premium brand to compete with Pringle of casablanca, the packing carried the mention of from the house of montecarlo. A junior brand should not be used to endorse the premium segement.
'Sportking' does not have much market in the sports segment. If it is a fashion brand then why call it 'Sport' at all? Its selling good? Try position it properly and see the hidden treasures in terms of marketing dollars. 'Duke' has the potential to become the aspirational wear for Indian youth but then is soemone listening to strategise to put it before the world's youthful nation?
I beleive time has come for business leaders to understand the potential of branding. Since most punjabis travel worldwide we all have seen that WAL-Mart is not a fancy looking store but a greatly strategised retaling business. If we continue to depend on producing for others we may loose our chance to add greater value and may also loose the manufacturing race to China, Africa etc. Let us get up and put our name under the arc lights! Ludhiana listening..?
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