From THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, December 01, 2001


Brand owners, retailers in role reversal

Sankar Radhakrishnan

CHENNAI, Nov. 30

STEPPING into someone elses shoes can be a challenging experience, especially if the person whose shoes you are stepping into is on the other side of the fence, or at least appears to be so.

This is what the 20-odd participants at a seminar on retail management, organised in the city, by the Indian Society of Advertisers discovered.

The theme of the particular session was Marketing strategies in retailing and the speakers Mr K. Dasaratharaman, CEO, Music World Entertainment Ltd, and Mr B. Nandakumar, President, Marketing & Sales, CavinKare Pvt Ltd, chose to turn their presentation into a rather interesting exercise.

So, the participants were divided into two groups one representing the brand owners and the other the retailers. The catch, however, was that most of the marketers in the audience were asked to turn retailers, while most of the retailers and a few marketers became the brand owners. The two groups were then asked to come up with a list of what they, as brand marketers and retailers, expected from the other group.

The results of this brainstorming exercise were interesting and insightful, to say the least. What was more heartening was the fact that most of the issues that were thrown up during the exercise, also figured in the speakers list of possible flash points between retailers and brand owners.

The one point that came through is just how different the retailers and marketers perspectives on the same issue are. The thought that Mr Nandakumar and Mr Dasratharaman left the gathering with was that successful brand and retail visions go beyond mere sales and profit and focus on adding value to the customer. Earlier in the day, Mr Raghu Pillai, President, Retail Sector, RPG Enterprises, spoke on the latest issues in retailing while Mr K. Kadhiravan, Vice-President (Marketing), Sara Lee TTK Ltd, made a presentation on the retailing scenario in the country. In the post-lunch session, Prof P.K. Sinha, of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, spoke on how a shop is also a social environment. In his presentation, Prof Sinha highlighted the fact that people behaviour changes, often dramatically, when they enter a store. Mr Oscar Braganza, President, FoodWorld Supermarkets Ltd, also made a presentation on Supply chain management.

Scheduled for Saturday, the second day of the seminar, will have several presentations on merchandising and category management, retail branding, and retail communication.

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