The company has worked with international and regional brands. It has centres of excellence and adopts a scientific approach in brand consulting. Raghu B Viswanath, Managing Director of Vertebrand, spoke to M. Soundariya Preetha during his recent visit to Coimbatore on the branding process.

“A brand is a band of functional benefits with added emotional values that consumers buy into consistently.” This is how Mr. Viswanath defines a brand. In simple terms it means, a brand understands its consumers, knows the environment and changes with consumer trends.

Heading a brand consulting company that has worked with over 100 brands in the last 10 years, Mr. Viswanath says that branding is a way of doing business. It is beyond advertising and creating logos and more than giving customers just a good product. “To us branding is a science and not an art. The art factor comes in expressing the brand,” he says.

In the last two or three years, with increase in competition and people realising there is a recessionary trend in other countries, they have started going in for branding. Vertebrand is working with 15 brands in the South now. Companies should start looking at branding even before starting operations. Today people are focussed, with experiences such as the dotcom burst, and many realise the need for brand, he says.

Unconsciously too consumers support brands in the country. A lot of Indian companies, especially the small and medium-scale ones, thought giving a good product at a good price will attract customers. But, a brand means something to someone. Markets have had initial success stories. But, some of these brands are lost now.

He says this can be because the companies had good product innovations and advertised it too. But, probably there was not sustained long-term impact. “They have to rejuvenate the brand.” The company focussed on Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad markets till 2005 and then expanded to have a national presence.

Every area where business has an interface with customers there needs to be a process and it is the process that kills or makes the brand, he says. Vertebrand has branded commodities and industrial goods and services too. Branding is essential for those into business to business too. Many Indian companies tend to replicate. But, each brand stands for something and branding is unique to all sectors. It talks about the entire process, and can decide the way a company hires too. There is a huge potential for regional brands, he says.

G. Pandrang Row, partner and member of the Management Committee of the company, adds that a brand will have to be long-term.

It should be able to deliver on the consumer needs.Vertebrand gives brand plans, brand identity and designs the physical identity of the brands, he says.