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Pitch CMO Summit 2018: Customers define your brand, not you: Nalli Group Vice Chairperson

19-March-2018
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Pitch CMO Summit 2018: Customers define your brand, not you: Nalli Group Vice Chairperson

Nalli Group of Companies' Vice Chairperson, Lavanya Nalli, addressed a full house of CMOs and marketing professionals on ‘How to build a cult following for your brand’ at the 10th edition of the Pitch CMO Summit, a flagship property of the exchange4media group.

It takes a lot to build an iconic clothing brand like Nalli, which has now been present for over 80 years. Nalli was established in the year 1928 and its success story has a fairy tale ring to it. The brand started by Lavanya’s great-grandfather in Chennai is today a national brand.

But what exactly did it take to build an iconic brand like Nalli? Today, Nalli is a company with Rs. 700 crore revenue. “The sari industry is Rs. 70000-85000 crore and we are at Rs. 700 crore in revenue. We are the only national and international sari brand with 34 stores and we barely spend anything on marketing,” said Lavanya at the conference.

Nalli believes that each customer is at the centre of their world. “Customers want someone to solve their problem, whatever that is. When you say that we are a customer-centric brand, you need to do everything for your customers,” she said.

She also mentioned that customers who are fans become your brand advocates. “Your customer defines your brand, not you. The customer who is a fan and becomes your brand advocate is better than any marketing strategy,” added Lavanya.

In a time where other brands are following different marketing strategies to lure customers, Nalli believes that as a brand, you need to know what you stand for and what are your strengths. “Our core strengths are product innovation and value for money. We are focused on a few things and work on them. What you don't do also needs a clear strategy. We don't have a loyalty programme and we don’t have discounts since 1928,” said Lavanya.

Not only customers, but your brand is also defined by your employees. “For us, our employees are an extension of our family. As a brand, you have to be authentic and have a purpose. It's more than a job, it's a calling. Engaged employees lead to engaged customers and people will follow the brand they believe in,” she said.

Elaborating further on the power of believing in people, Lavanya said, “We have always gone beyond the call of business when it comes to our customers and it's beyond duty when it comes to our employees. Do not compromise on your strengths. Inspire devotion, not just loyalty. What worked for us to get to this stage of the organisation is focusing just on our operations and products. We focus on an unparalleled range at an unbeatable price. Providing a lot of autonomy to store managers and regional heads leads to an empowered workforce."

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