William Bissell and Mukesh Bansal spill the beans on building iconic brands in India

In a conversation with Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO of YourStory, Bissell and Bansal emphasised the necessity of planting a brand firmly in the mind.

Palak Agarwal

Sowmya Ramasubramanian

William Bissell and Mukesh Bansal spill the beans on building iconic brands in India

Thursday November 30, 2023,

3 min Read

At the end of Day 1 of TechSparks 2023 Delhi edition, William Nanda Bissell, Chairman and Managing Director of Fabindia; and Mukesh Bansal, Co-founder and CEO of Cult.fit, spoke about the secret behind building iconic brands in India. 

In a conversation with Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO of YourStory, Bissell and Bansal emphasised the necessity of planting a brand firmly in the mind.

“Our minds have become a cluttered space because everyday someone shows you something. Recently, someone showed me a terrific app and I said this is so great and I thought of downloading later but couldn't remember the name of the app. And the problem is because we have too many things hitting our minds all the time. So, the question is how do you carve out a space in a consumer’s mind for yourself?” said Bissell. 

How to build an iconic brand?

For building a brand, its positioning is very important, said Bissell, recalling an episode when he asked people outside India of what they thought about the country. “I would hear just three words--Taj Mahal, Gandhi ji, and non-violence. It was interesting that there was a very strong flavour attached to the country. And what I realised is you differentiate yourself..that’s how you form an identity.”

When a brand becomes synonymous with a category, that’s the ultimate thing, Bissell highlighted, sharing an example of Myntra becoming synonymous with ecommerce similar to Xerox for a photocopy. 

Bansal said that he likes to compare brands with people and highlighted the importance of consistency and authenticity in building trust. He emphasised the need for brands to find their true identity and stand for it. 

“To create a successful brand, firms must consistently live up to their value proposition and go slow in their approach. This approach helps build trust and maintain a consistent presence in the market,” Bansal said. 

The product industry in India is predominantly unorganised and unbranded, he said. Despite the potential for growth and expansion, only 20% of the Indian retail market is organised, according to Myntra's founder and former CEO.

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The key of brand building

Talking about the future of brands to flourish, Bansal noted that the next two decades hold great promise for the D2C sector, and it is anticipated to witness the emergence of numerous homegrown brands spanning various categories.

In a brand-building exercise, one would not even know who the creator is but will understand what the brand stands for and its value proposition. 

Brand differentiation should be based on genuine, deep, and authentic code, according to him. 

“Initially, it's crucial to understand the customer's value proposition and willingness to pay extra. The brand should be a contract promising functionality or status to make the customer feel good about themselves,” Bansal said.

To achieve product market fit, brands must find enough validation and loyalty, and their promise should be about achieving product market fit for the desired functionality or status, he noted.

Highlighting about entrepreneurship and brand, Bissell said that today, entrepreneurs get everything right except the product, but “ultimately the moment of truth is the product.” 

If you have a great product, you need a great name and then a great story. The mind is very attuned to hear stories. Story is the key, he concluded. 


Edited by Megha Reddy