Rutu Mody Kamdar is the Founder and Managing Director of Jigsaw Brand Consultants, which is a branding consultancy focused on helping companies grow their business through their brands.
Rutu holds a PhD in Branding and Consumer Behavior, and has consulted several companies in India across multiple sectors. She teaches, writes and speaks on branding across various forums in India and abroad.
She believes that true business transformation goes hand in hand with integrated brand transformation. Her unique approach to branding urges companies to look inside out, by taking a more holistic integrated view on branding. Her areas of expertise include consumer research, integrated brand strategy, brand communication and internal brand training.
Do you believe that Brands can bring in social changes using the power of Creative Communication?
Yes. Brands are a reflection of society. Brands have a responsibility to shape society through powerful communication. We’ve seen that with brands like Amul, Unilever, Tata, P&G, ITC and many others, where they have used their brand platforms to bring in a positive change in the society. A brand’s role is to shape the society, to influence people and to direct change.
Tell us about the journey of Jigsaw and its goodness in the world of branding?
Jigsaw was an initiative to bring together the various pieces that go into building and growing brands. In the process of building brands, there are several moving pieces that need to fit in seamlessly together. Starting with consumer insights, leading into building an effective brand and marketing strategy and flowing it seamlessly into the execution across all the brand touch-points is what is required. The synergy between all of these is extremely important. We’ve built Jigsaw as an open collective where cross-pollination of ideas between research, branding, design occurs seamlessly and naturally.
Do you think Clients in Sub-Continent are spending enough to gather insights on the consumers and formulate strategy accordingly?
Consumer research is still at a nascent stage in India. Most companies believe that consumer research is data-driven giving them answers into the frequency of the occurrence of a phenomenon. They don’t focus enough on why the phenomenon occurs in the first place. To put it simply, not enough is invested into the ‘why’ of consumer behavior.
In order to formulate an effective brand strategy, it is extremely important to understand the context of the consumer you are talking to and understand their world and life space to see how the product fits into their lives. These nuggets of insight are important in building an effective brand position establishing a space in the context of the consumer’s life.
Can the existing pattern of agency-client structure be good enough to serve the modern day branding needs?
Not really. I believe agencies need to go above and beyond what they are currently doing. Agencies rarely deep dive into business and establish a strong link between business and brand/marketing/communication strategy. Currently, the wave around digital is making all agencies build strong digital arms. Digital is a medium, it is not a practice. While digital is important, it needs to be looked at in the same context as all other mediums.
Brand Owners often run into trouble with digital world like the case of Gillette, Surf Excel and Red Label… What are your views on how to overcome the digital onslaught?
I feel brands need to be transparent and true to what they believe in. Digital media offers a platform for conversation-open communication and sharing of views. A brand needs to be open to this while also maintaining its core values and purpose.
Your most satisfying piece of work?
Over the years we’ve worked on several brands big and small, helping them establish a space for themselves in the consumer’s life. We recently worked with an entrepreneurship education brand for kids who was struggling with establishing relevance among the current generation of parents and children.
A simplistic turnaround strategy for them helped catapult the brand into a much bigger league. Similarly, our work with Rustomjee on ‘Childhoods Available’ has been deeply satisfying. We’ve seen the brand grow and evolve over the last 12 years and the singularity of the vision and the deep embedding of the brand ethos in everything we’ve done for the group has been deeply satisfying.