VGSOM IIT Kharagpur hosts Mr. Anand & Mr. Pankaj of Tata Steel

 | October 06,2012 04:29 pm IST

Killing the commodity, shaping the market this is how Tata steel goes about its branding strategy in common parlance. The journey undertaken for turning around steel as a commodity, known to be sold in Mandis, to a well known brand was an uphill one.

Mr Anand, current Chief of Marketing, Long Products at Tata Steel has seen associated with Tata Steel for 19 years. An alumnus of XLRI Jamshedpur, Mr Anand has held various esteemed positions under the banner of marketing.

The session agenda involved taking the students through the Tata Steel brand journey in a B2B environment. Mr Anand started by explaining the B2B scenario in case of steel as a commodity, introducing the differences between commodities and brands in yesteryears and how the scenario was changing quickly in todays world with examples like coffee , salt , mineral water , petrol etc. There is a stark difference between how the retail store was seen 10 years ago and how it is shaping up today. Mr Anand also introduced the different perceptions encountered in the branding journey to elucidate the importance of different perspectives w.r.t consumer, industry and the channel used.

He stressed on the importance of brand development and explained how for a commodity like steel, the supply chain was more important than the value chain. He marked the key steps in any branding journey and laid special emphasis on understanding customers requirements and implementing the same through innovation, differentiation, communication, persistence of the brand value and ensuring the fulfilment of brand promise. While adding to the history of steel as a commodity he mentioned how it was necessary to de-commoditize the steel to shape the markets and create demand. The task involved creating unique brand identity and establishing a channel popular enough to provide greater retail market penetration and while improving simultaneously on the consumers buying experience.

Continuing with the process of a commodity - brand transformation, Mr Anand mentioned about numerous standards that Tata steel established in the industry. Innovative UV-light print on the Galvano coil to provide source authenticity for the customer, certification of service centres by standardization of operations, integrating IT across the supply chain to enable reliable information flow to mention a few. Mr Anand also discussed the impact of this branding exercise with an overview of products in FY-12 and discussed various awards and recognitions won by major Tata Steel brands.

Students of Vinod Gupta School of Management also had the pleasure of interacting with Mr Pankaj Ojha , an alumnus of Indian School Of Business (ISB) , Hyderabad and the current Senior Manager , Tata Steel. He threw light on the rather recent phenomenon, the Inbound marketing 'and explained how Tata steel has embarked on the journey to adopt the same describing the in-house steps taken to achieve the desired results. He mentioned how the corporate world in quickly adapting to inculcate inbound marketing in the daily marketing activities.

All in all, an enriching session, learning about steel branding and how pivotal can a brand prove to a companys and more so to a products image.