Healthy products or wealthy brands
— By Suresh Kanted
It was my little daughter who tempted me to draft this piece. One fine Sunday shopping session, in that well-established shopping complex, she held my hands and moved taking me towards the gadgets division, the move suggesting that she had already decided on her purchase.
“Daddy, please buy me this. I had seen this in TV,” she told in her own infantile language. She was all positivity towards the product, which reflected in the manner she spoke and appeared excited about the product. Her knowledge about the product was zero and the same was the case with the specs or quality. For her, all that mattered is that it was indeed the ‘best product’ because she had seen it on television. Talk of alternatives to the product was anathema to her.
My daughter’s product decision may have been juvenile, considering that she’s a child. But, what would you say if I said that most product decisions in India are made in a similar fashion. That’s why in India, you see products fail and brands win.
The conservative Indian consumer always goes behind brands rather than the product. This is akin to a downright racial statement that ‘all good-looking people have great brains’. I am not going after the big brands and their established image. It is just that chasing an existing brand may also mean that people are ignoring emerging brands that deserve recognition.
What’s more, in the IT channel business, the partners almost always concentrate on speaking about the brands without adequate focus on the product.
I myself can identify plenty of products manufactured from both Indian and foreign soil that can give tough competition for the so-called leading brands. However, because of the distribution model, they are sleeping in the deep corner of our racks. This is why we are often asked to shift our focus from box moving to providing solutions.
Never make a hasty sale, for the customer may never return to your shop to buy another product. It is good to remember that customers today have data on their fingertips and often cross the portals of a reseller with the top-4 options in mind.
Now as a seller, you have two options. Either sell them what they are asking for based on their own research or provide them with a solution. You can serve them better by listening to them to find out their real requirements and if there are products available that are not part of the routine brands.
From a business perspective too, I believe this is a good idea. For, I can share the promotions of only the top brands while neglecting the emerging ones and thus shrinking our margins. Even though the partners did ground work, the field marking spent valuable time with customers, the bigger brands always end up crediting the movie star or the cricketer with all the sales. That’s money spent on a face to sell a product without looking at the features.
I think the time is now ripe for us to make a point of reference for the small brands too. Let every brand get a chance to survive and grow. Instead of depending on the brand, let us start believing in the quality of our products, which alone can push customers towards us and improve our lot.
(The author is the CEO of Sagar Computers, Chennai. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the views of Channel Times or any of the websites managed or operated by Trivone Digital Services)