Chennai-based TAKE Solutions (TAKE) has made a name for itself in not one but two markets, namely life sciences and supply chain markets. And what made this possible was a strategic decision to split the two core businesses into two brands to meet the widely differing business requirements. “Of course, we have made mistakes and had to change our strategies, but broadly, we have microsites for the two brands and populate them with case studies. The sales approach in itself is different,” says HR Srinivasan, vice-chairman and managing director, TAKE Solutions.
For instance, the life sciences team at the company comprises IT professionals who provide technology solutions to the pharmaceutical research companies alongside doctors and pharmaceutical professionals with over 10 years of experience offering thought leadership at customer touchpoints.
In supply chain management, the company used to offer a gamut of solutions. “We realised we were not able to increase our pricing because we were very broad based. So in 2011, we narrowed our offering to three areas – mobility, engineering and collaboration. We rebranded ourselves accordingly,” says Srinivasan.
In his words, the mantra for branding is simple, know your market and let that market know you. So while TAKE may not be a well-known brand to the general public, its customers rate it in the top bracket in the markets it serves.
“ We tend to undervalue our brand and overlook its significance. At TAKE, we made this mistake. ”
The late bloomer
“We tend to undervalue our brand and overlook its significance. At TAKE, we made this mistake,” admits Srinivasan, as he reminisces the early days of starting the company. In its first five years since inception, the core team focused more on delivery and sales – a common mistake most organisations make, points out Srinivasan. “In the initial years, we did not focus on building the brand. But since we changed our approach five years ago, our revenues started galloping. Sales and brand building are two aspects of running a business,” he stresses. At present, the company focuses on both internal and external communication to further its brand. It engages with customers at its annual event, Converge, where thought leaders speak on subjects that are relevant to pharmaceuticals. “We have conducted three editions of this event and now our customers – current and potential – look forward to the next,” adds Srinivasan. TAKE also takes up stall space to interact with customers at the Drug Information Association events. To connect with opinion makers, the company started promoting golf in India and supports Indian golfers on European tours – which is its main market. In addition to its external branding efforts, TAKE lays an emphasis on interacting with its employees and spreading the word on its brand, internally, as this leads to brand reiteration.
Style with substance
In the initial phase, TAKE had created its logo and other communication material on the fly. The first one was symbolic of two palms facing each other and in the colour purple. When the company’s growth became commendable, the colour was changed to ‘Ferrari’ red to denote its competitive spirit. In 2008, it changed its logo for the third time. “The new logo, a Delta open at the top in grey and red is aspirational and a talking point with our new customers,” shares Srinivasan.
“If I were to start a new venture today, I would start brand building from day one. It is important to identify the audience and have a greater definition of focus. For TAKE, we were clear that we are a company whose offering is niche so our branding has also been oriented towards class,” emphasises Srinivasan.
The company takes brand protection seriously and has three to four levels of brand architecture including trademarks, patents, detailed guidelines on how to use it, when to escalate any misuse and more. The aim is to create top of the mind recall for TAKE in the lifesciences market. The company has a revenue of Rs. 800 crore today, but in Srinivasan’s own words, it remains ‘small’. For TAKE, size is less important than its position on the leader board and it will do all that it takes to maintain the leading edge in the markets it serves.
COMPANY: TAKE Solutions
FOUNDER: HR Srinivasan
In the 12 years since inception, one of the biggest learnings for TAKE Solutions has been the importance of branding, which needs as much attention as sales and delivery. By positioning itself right, the company has established itself as a lead player in two segments – life sciences and supply chain management. HR Srinivasan takes us through the branding journey that made this possible.