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A winning strategy

FCB Ulka's Ambi Parameswaran reviews Anisha Motwani's Storm the Norm

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Published 4 years ago on Jan 16, 2016 Read

Why do some brands succeed and some fail? What do brands that succeed, against odds, have in them? The book Storm the Norm captures the success stories of twenty Indian brands which have managed to build a strong position in the marketplace. The author has to be complimented to have taken the trouble to get the twenty brand owners concerned to speak about their success story, often revealing interesting nuggets and truths that could be of value to students and executives.

The brands have been classified into three buckets: Entrepreneur; Challenger and Legacy. Entrepreneur brands such as PVR and MakeMyTrip took the risk of entering a market where none existed and built traction. Possibly they had international examples to improve upon. The Legacy brands such as Times of India, Raymond and Saffola managed to stay relevant and build their own mountains, by systematically taking on competition through innovative marketing moves.

It is the Challenger group that made for the most interesting reading and was the one that held my attention. These are brands that took on the might of large established players and still managed to build traction. The stories behind XUV 500, Sensodyne and  Kurkure are indeed revealing. The Afterword by Ranjan Malik puts a template to the process of how a company can ‘Storm the Norm’. In a sense it is a way of approaching the market by expanding the consumer’s interest to pay for a new value proposition. The template needs further study and analysis.

Having written two book of cases on Brand Building Advertising [FCB Ulka Brand Building Advertising – Cases & Concepts I & II], I am well aware of the reluctance of Indian companies to share information and back stories behind their success. It is indeed great that Anisha has managed to rope in 20 companies from diverse sectors to share their stories.

The issue I have with the book is what many reviewers have with my case books: why are you not writing about brand failures? Honestly speaking, there is a lot to be learnt from brand failures. But companies, unlike in the US, are very uncomfortable to speak about their failures. So while as a country we are celebrating the ‘Start-up’ fever, we also need to develop the maturity to appreciate the ‘Shut down’ lessons.

I can easily see the book becoming a full-fledged course in business schools to examine how a company can create a winning brand strategy by ‘Storming the Norm’ or ‘Zigging when everyone is Zagging’!

Ambi Parameswaran is the author of seven books. The latest ‘For God’s Sake’ was published in 2014 by Penguin Random House