Branding and Promotion Strategy for Leather Product by gjc19746


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									                                                           WORLD INTELLECTUAL
                                                          PROPERTY ORGANIZATION


Changing Perceptions: National Branding – Implications for Strategy
                        14-16 June 2006
                      Bucharest, Romania

                  - IS BRANDING ENOUGH?”

                          A paper prepared by
                         Dr. Shyam S. Agrawal
                           Resident Director
                  India Trade Promotion Organization

                       - IS BRANDING ENOUGH”

                                 By: Dr. Shyam S. Agrawal

The strategy formulation for the credible and competitive export sector in today’s more integrated
and homogenized world has become far too complicated and competitive. The Globalization,
which has become a buzzword for the present century, has not only transformed the economic,
political, cultural and social fabric of the world but has also smoothened much of the volatility in
world markets by creating tighter links between economies and enforcing rule based ‘Multilateral
Trading System’. Information and money, today, flow more quickly than ever. Goods and services
produced in one part are increasingly available in other parts of the world. International travel has
become more frequent and communication very fast. The economic polarization between
countries with unimaginable wealth on one hand and rampant poverty on the other is clearly

However, the process of Globalization which is expected to contain the element of full reciprocity
and non discrimination is, at times, being grossly affected by narrow national interests,
protectionist minds and geopolitical considerations. The some of the countries visibly are
practicing the policy of “Globalization a la carte” – profiting from globalization while resisting
others” which inter alia means that what is mine is mine and what’s yours is open for negotiations.
The delay in conclusion of Doha Round of Negotiation, resistance from European Union and USA
in reduction of support to agriculture sector and insistence of developing countries for providing
expanded market access for agricultural products, intermittent application of safeguard clauses
particularly in the textiles despite removal of all quotas and such other well known reasons have
raised concern among the nations and the trading community specially in developing countries
about the future of liberalized and rule based trading regime under the auspices of World Trade

Against the backdrop of fears and hopes, the export strategy requires integration of basic
elements of export marketing in to value chain management, competitive advantage, strategic
communication, public- private partnership and above all image building centering around brand
formulation and management so as to address emerging business environment. The branding
strategy can be developed at national, sectoral and enterprise level. THE QUESTION HOWEVER


“Brand is normally defined as a name, sign or a symbol to identify a product or service of a seller
and differentiate them from goods and services of the competitor” The brand is an intangible
asset and exists in the minds of the people. It can in fact be treated as authentication of product
or service and a pledge made to ensure quality and consumer satisfaction. Branding is mostly
used as an image-building tool on the basis of positive values and perceptions of the product,
enterprise and the country and to effectively communicate the same for the development of
exports, investment and tourism. In the overall process of branding, the brand positioning,
management and brand loyalty are most vital.

The branding is the process of building trust that requires the fuller involvement of oftenly ignored
segment in the value chain, the people, including employees, suppliers, distributors, market
professionals, agents and finally the consumers for which an effective internal and external

communication strategy is essential. The brand image cannot be developed unless a sense of
pride is associated with the country/product/ and or enterprise. It is believed that branding can
only be taken as a part of overall process and definitely not as an exclusive solution for export


It would be a grave mistake and wastage of resources if countries feel that they can develop a
credible export sector by designing impressive logos, slogans and mounting an international
advertising campaign without addressing the basic principles of marketing including product,
quality, price, positioning and distribution channels besides reputation of the country and its
people. They are first required to ask the following basic questions to themselves for venturing in
to and resource allocation for brand creation.

        Whether the companies and products of the country have adequate strength for product
        branding and management.
        Whether the company managements are committed to product branding.
        Whether there is strong public-private partnership in place.
        Whether the country has a required image and its people a national pride.
        Whether corporate management is free from political and bureaucratic activism
        Whether quality control and trade dispute settlement mechanism in place.
         Whether economic growth and other parameters amply justifies investment in brand
        Whether consultation mechanism among politicians, civil servants, industry
        representatives, media, educators , professionals, economists etc is in place to assess
        national perception and values.


There is no dearth of information on the success of brand equity associated with the products and
the countries. It is not uncommon where the whole industry is associated with the country such as
when you talk of machinery and technology, the name of Germany automatically comes to the
minds of the people. Similarly, optical glasses and watches from Switzerland, fashion goods from
Italy and feature films from US and INDIA, Darjeeling Tea from India, electronics from Japan are
well known in the world. In the same way, Mercedes, BMW, Toyota, and Honda for passenger
cars, Sony and Panasonic for electronics, Microsoft and IBM for computers are well established
brands. There are enumerous such examples for brand success associated with various products
from pharmaceuticals to consumer goods in the world. The question however is whether these
brands have been developed overnight by investing huge amount of money in advertisement
campaign or over the years by finding place in the minds of people with quality assurance and
after sales service.


As already mentioned, the positive national image is very important for brand strategy. The
developing countries mostly start from the negative image and unwisely spend their brand equity
fund under the naïve impression that they can quickly build their reputation by investing money in
global advertising campaign. It would simply not happen unless the companies get committed for

brand promotion. The developing countries are normally dominated by small and medium
enterprises which neither have interest in creating their own brands nor they have the funds and
required competence for the same. It has generally been observed that these companies have
created adequate production capacity of required quality but feel more comfortable in producing
for established brands of developed counties. The outsourcing therefore has become one of the
accepted sources of revenue for these countries and its companies. This is also true in the
countries like India particularly in the sectors like garments, home textiles and leather goods.

It gives a feeling that branding for the products manufactured by the small and medium
enterprises would require intermediary preferably in the private sector by establishing forward and
backward linkages as has been done by the trading houses in JAPAN. Nevertheless, the
countries focusing on brand equity are experiencing the expanded flow of investment, trade and
tourists however the major beneficiary of such exercise remains to be the large enterprises in the
government and private sector. SME’s might however be driving some benefit due to general
awareness about country’s credibility. There is therefore a case that the governments in
developing countries should concentrate on establishing quality standards and in improving
marketability of products and services. The branding strategy should be followed only for carefully
selected objectives by involving all segments of population to avoid wastage of resources.


In conclusion, it can be asserted that branding is not enough for building a credible exporter as
national exports are required to be built on encouraging investments in technology and quality
control, flow of information and applications of ICT’s to reduce transaction costs, market research
and product promotion. The first requirement for building a credible export sector might be to
concentrate on generating and maintaining competitive advantage as national prosperity is
created and not inherited. The creation of the culture of innovations, application and sharing of
thoughts is essentially required for the success in the global market.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF NATIONAL BRAND cannot be considered a primary requirement for
exports as it is not only a long-term phenomenon but also has a wider ramification and impacts all
sectors of the economy. The change in mindset at all levels, professionalism in management,
building of national pride and involvement of every segment of the society are essential
ingredients for the success of brand equity. It requires integration of vision with country’s history,
geography and culture for positioning country’s products, services, credibility and its people in the
global market place. It cannot be developed overnight or in a closed office room. It requires a
credible and visionary leadership, which has the power to take all segments of population with
him. The export sector can definitely be benefited by creating a brand image for the country but it
can not wait for the same.

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