“Leadership thinking needs to change. We need to become servant leaders rather than rockstar CEOs, who feel they know all the answers and are the loudest voices in the meeting room. Essentially, leaders must listen more, co-opt ideas and understand that the best innovations come from outside the industry," said Apurva Chamaria, Chief Revenue Officer, RateGain.

Chamaria was speaking in the fourth episode of HT Brand Studio Live, Season 2. The episode saw top marketing leaders sharing their thoughts on building strong brands.

HT Brand Studio Live is a series that gets the brains behind India’s top brands to decode marketing innovations and more. It is anchored by Rameet Arora, Chief Operating Officer, HT Digital Streams, and co-hosted by HT Brand Studio and DMAasia.

“Marketing also needs to get braver and bolder. We need to hire people from diverse backgrounds, including those from liberal arts, theatre and data science, to get fresh ideas," Chamaria added.

It is important to focus on differentiation to build a sustainable brand.

“As a brand, it is important to focus on differentiation. We are trying to do so by making our consumers look forward to the whole experience of flying just like the good old days. We intend to bring back the magic and glamour of flying," explained Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Commercial Officer, Vistara.

Adding to the need for differentiation in a crowded marketplace, Smita Murarka, Head-Marketing, Amanté, MAS Brands, said, “Our key differentiator has been offering style with functionality to our consumers. Many brands in the category focus only on fashion trends. But it is really frivolous to do so. If consumers are buying into it, then probably they know no better. They need to be educated with authentic content about the brand category."

Strong brands also come with a sense of purpose.

“Having a strong sense of purpose and connecting with your consumer family is the key to building brands that have longevity. Our brand was built with the purpose of providing inclusive luxury, and has been known to reinvent itself from one generation to other," said Konia Khanna, Head of Marketing, Swarovski India.

Agreeing that brands need to keep their core purpose in mind while innovating, Juhie Gorwara, Head Group Marketing and E-commerce, Philips Indian Subcontinent, added, “Our brand’s purpose is to build a healthier and sustainable world with our products. We have this core philosophy in mind, as we create all our products and innovate."

It is also important for a brand to stay relevant, said Sudeep Narayan, Director- PR & Corporate Communications, Volvo Auto India. “Our focus has always been on safety. From introducing seatbelts in cars to investing in technology that is smart and warns humans about road safety challenges, we have always been innovating ourselves," he said.

Technology helps brands to change with the times. “In Garmin’s journey, technology has played a key role in letting the brand stay competitive. We have transformed from an automotive to a lifestyle brand and introduced products like wearable devices that are extremely innovative," Ali Rizvi, National Sales Manager, Garmin India, concluded.

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