Emerging Entrepreneurs

This branding start-up helps SMEs leave their mark on the market

K Giriprakash | Updated on November 26, 2018

Preetham Parvatam and Asher Ali (right), Co-founders, WinnerBrands   -  SOMASHEKAR G R N

WinnerBrands brings together experts to provide category-specific services

Not many small- and medium-size companies can afford the luxury of hiring the services of an advertising agency for their branding needs.

The needs of these enterprises are different, they have smaller budgets earmarked for branding and advertising and cannot afford to enter into long-term engagement with the agencies. ...and agencies tend to ignore such clients as their RoI does not justify taking up these assignments.

Preetham Parvatam, a marketing professional who previously worked with Oracle, Adobe and HCL, realised that such a gap existed when one of his friends, a second-generation entrepreneur, shared his experience about trying to find an advertising agency for his company, which was planning to relaunch its product range.

“Larger agencies were unaffordable, unresponsive and at times even unapproachable. On the other hand, the freelancer community simply didn’t have the reliability and professionalism I was looking for,” his friend told Preetham.

Realising that this was a larger problem, both of them decided to carry out a survey of some 100 entrepreneurs across various industries, regions and business needs that brought greater clarity to the problem at hand. “There is a large set of entrepreneurs who want to build a brand, participate in the new economy and appeal to changing consumer tastes but can’t find right branding and marketing solutions. The market today is heterogeneous and quite do-it-yourself (DIY), leading to almost a sort of a choice paralysis, a case of endless options, but a sense of not having any direction or guidance towards the best solution,” says Preetham.

He also found out that the market has not kept pace with the changing profile of the entrepreneur who works in the MSME ecosystem. “There is a rising brand-savviness and appreciation amongst the second-generation family-owned businesses and young start-ups, but no branding services organisation that caters to their needs,” he points out.



That’s when Preetham and his friend Asher Ali, who earlier worked with Apple and Commonfloor, decided to come together to understand the industry better. What they found out was that there was a systemic issue that requires a unique model and that is where WinnerBrands makes it mark. Through a discussion with over 100 entrepreneurs and creative designers or professionals, the founders realised that they need a personalised, affordable, differentiated and efficient branding solution.

This insight led them to launch “WinnerBrands”, a customised and pocket-friendly business model, which used the guided marketplace model for branding services. Their mission statement reads something like this: a branding partner who is easier to talk to, understand the client’s unique needs (some of which are even driven by family-considerations, and even Vaastu / numerology), at the same time, offer services without compromising on quality and can stand the scrutiny of consumers whose aspirations and benchmarks are increasingly becoming global.

In-house team

The founders also put in place systems to take care of the needs of their customers by having dedicated in-house brand managers, focus on transparent costing and process and a tech-led freelancer marketplace.

Preetham says that by providing a dedicated brand manager, the company ensures that quality doesn’t come at the cost of agility. With a price transparent package-based approach, it brings much-needed reliability to the entire process and is a refreshing change from how creative services have traditionally served through differential and opaque pricing. Thirdly, by meticulously curating and managing an online community of freelancers with a good pedigree and relevant experience, WinnerBrands provides a differentiated design solution to its every client. “By driving the entire process — from selling to fulfilment — online, WinnerBrands opens up the world of quality design and creative services to clients regardless of their geographic location and by taking a ‘guided’ approach it drives predictability and professionalism,” he says.

According to Asher, the model has found good traction with a list of over 100 clients across 30 cities and 35 sectors with over a 50 per cent repeat rate. “This is just the beginning. In the long-term, the view is to expand to all facets of brand building - design, creative and digital,” says Asher.

Value-added services

Preetham says the company now offers value-added services. “We have tied up with legal, packaging and other domain experts/firms for consultancy on getting the company registered to secure their copyright for branding assets to help with their complete brand-launch saving time and efforts, invariably savings opportunity costs for these businesses.”

With the launch of WinnerBrands, Asher points out that several freelancers have found a professional platform to carry out with business. “We have helped freelancers and professionals on sabbatical or maternity leave to organise their work skills for the benefit of SMEs and start-ups. We have a stringent selection of these partners with proprietary algorithms in evaluating their performance, to utilising the client feedback. Our designers come from prestigious design schools nationally and globally.”

For Preetham and Asher, a simple conversation between friends to find answers to their branding issues turned out to be an opportunity of a lifetime.

Published on November 26, 2018

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