Think Small- Brand Equity

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

They are everywhere ? in the industrial belts of Okhla and Badarpur around Delhi, the twisting lanes and bylanes of Bhiwandi and Aurangabad in Maharashtra; the teeming outskirts of Kanpur; the agricultural flats surrounding Ludhiana; in the shadows of Lucknow?s many masjids and maqbaras, and along the palm-fringed backwaters of Kerala. They are the innumerable small and medium-sized Indian enterprises that are busy advertising and building brands at one level or another ? without any help from India?s big multinational ad agencies.

Small entrepreneurs who peddle their wares, aided by local ad agencies and ?publicity shops?. With vision, perseverance and luck, some will grow to become big regional brands; a few could even emerge as large national players. The way the BPLs, Thums Ups, Frootis, NIITs, Onidas, Videocons, Parachutes and Fevicols did through the 80s and 90s.

Therein lies the irony: the large Indian agencies that built many of these Indian brands seem fairly oblivious to the new breed, particularly those in tier II and tier III towns. ?By and large, the MNC agencies have clearly missed out on this, even though new advertisers are low hanging fruit,? agrees Pratap Bose, CEO, O&M. As a result, the big agencies may just be losing significant revenue to India?s ?unorganised ad market? ? the one comprising two-man-and-a-peon design and publicity shops, hole-in-the-wall DTP operators and even small printing presses and advertising contractors. As Sam Balsara, CMD, Madison Communications, puts it: ?There is no shortage of ?advertising agencies? in these towns. I heard that there exists a Kerala Federation of Advertising Agencies, which, if I remember right, has 300 to 400 members. Several ?advertising agencies? exist in the New Bombay area alone.?

Numbers are hard to come by, but going by guesstimates, anywhere between 25%-35% of the Rs 15,000-crore Indian ad industry is in the hands of this ?unorganised? sector. And as media fragments, proliferates and gets localised, there is a feeling that more small/first-time advertisers will come into the fold. ?Yellow Pages as a concept never took off in India and so small advertisers never felt the power of advertising.

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Source: Economic Times (India) (link opens in a new window)