Harsh Pamnani is a marketer with over 12 years of experience with start-ups as well as large organizations.
He is also a business author. His book Booming Brands covering inspiring journeys of 11 ‘Made in India’ brands is published by CNBC. His articles on marketing strategies and brand building have appeared in leading business publication such as Forbes, The Economic Times, Business World, Advertising Age, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Firstpost, Retail and InformationWeek.
For his contribution to various social initiatives, Harsh has been appreciated by various non-profit organizations including New York Cares, Cents Ability & Komen Breast Cancer Foundation at New York, USA, and TiE in India. Harsh is also the curator of iPamnani, a non-commercial initiative with the mission to inspire people through fascinating stories and path-breaking ideas of leaders.
Harsh has obtained his B.E. (Computer Engineering) from IET-DAVV, Indore and MBA from XLRI, Jamshedpur. To know amore about Harsh, please visit – www.harshpamnani.com
This is Harsh’s story.
“I was born in a middle class family and grew up in small towns in Madhya Pradesh state in India. Since childhood, I have been curious to understand why a few businesses grow while many struggle. I have seen a few schools, coaching classes, FMCG brands, shops, companies, etc. becoming market leaders while many have shrunk and disappeared.
After finishing my engineering, I got the opportunity to work with two multinational organizations both in India and the USA. I was living the dream life of a middle class boy. Though things were going well at my end, beyond my work, my curiosity to understand how small ideas are converted in to big businesses was increasing day by day. While working in big multinationals, I always tried to understand how these organizations were created, but my access was limited mostly to middle level managers. They were more involved in the growth phase of these organizations and didn’t have answers to most of my questions related to history and journey of these organizations. To satisfy my curiosity, I read a few biographies, but these biographies were written on business leaders who created businesses long back. Many of these books covered inspiring rags to riches journeys of entrepreneurs, but didn’t cover much on how they created powerful brands.
A few marketing books were great reads, but they were filled with international and old age examples. I felt the way brands are created in the new age and especially in countries like India is different than the way brands were created earlier in international markets. Earlier, consumers had a lot more time and fewer choices, and mass media was a powerful marketing channel. Today, the number of marketing channels has increased and consumers don’t have time to listen to marketing messages. The pace of change is speeding up and new technologies and business models are invading mature industries. New competitors and dozens of new products are getting introduced every day. Consumers are demanding more personalization and so on. Moreover, India is a complex market with diverse – cultures, languages, buying power, etc. I was curious to understand how admirable brands are getting created in today’s tough situations and complex markets like India.
To satisfy my curiosity, I became member of TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs), a global non-profit organization focused on fostering entrepreneurship and started attending TiE’s sessions by entrepreneurs. In those days, TiE in Mumbai was one of the most active organizations in Indian entrepreneurship ecosystem and its leadership team then was very inspiring and dedicated. I started supporting the TiE team as a volunteer and after seeing my dedication and passion, the TiE leadership offered me a 2 years opportunity to make an impact in entrepreneurial ecosystem in Mumbai. As I was more interested in ‘earning perspectives’ over ‘earning money’, I made an unconventional career choice and moved from my glamourous job in one of the top consulting firms to TiE, a non-profit organization. During my 2 years tenure at TiE, I got the opportunity to closely interact with numerous entrepreneurs ranging from the idea stage to running multi-billion dollar organizations. I listened to their successes, failures and challenges, and created my own set of learnings.
During my interactions with entrepreneurs at various stages, I realized that brand creation is not just about marketing campaigns, it is also based on many other factors such as vision, culture, capability, product, packaging, etc. I realized that for creating brands, the problems that established businesses faced many years ago, emerging businesses are facing now. Whereas, for sustaining their brands, established businesses are curious to know innovative strategies of fast growing start-ups.
Later on, to give some structure to my learning, I went for MBA. During MBA, I realized that majority of case studies taught were of international brands. I met many professors and students who expressed that there is enough material available on growth stories of international brands, but not much has been written about growth stories of Indian brands. Noticing this void, I felt, I could connect my learnings at TiE and business school and come up with some referable material that could be leveraged by many people, interested in learning from the journeys of today’s rising brands. I started writing articles on brand building and marketing strategies in various business publications.
After writing over 50 articles, I decided to write a book on brand building in Indian context. There are many excellent books and case studies written on the topics of marketing, brand creation management and entrepreneurs’ journeys. The purpose of my book was not to supplement or substitute any of the existing material. It was my passionate initiative in personal capacity to bring forward the journeys of ‘Made in India’ brands.
I chose new age booming brands in various niches, defined the structure of stories covering ‘Why’, ‘How’ and ‘What’ of selected brands’ journeys and pitched to the leaders behind these brands. By God’s grace, many leaders liked my idea and agreed to give me their time. I connected the dots from my theoretical learnings, practical perspectives and brand creation journeys of selected new age ‘Made in India’ brands and came up with my book – “Booming Brands” published by CNBC. Fortunately, many renowned business leaders, investors and academicians liked my book’s manuscript and gave me their valuable testimonials. Post release, the has received excellent response from academicians, business and government leaders.
In today’s changing, competitive and crowded marketplace, building an admirable brand is one of the toughest and most important tasks for entrepreneurs and marketers. But even in the midst of multiple challenges, a few entrepreneurs have been able to create admirable brands from scratch. Though these brands are getting noticed at the global stage, their journeys are mostly unnoticed. I am optimistic that by continuing my initiative, I would be able to get the journeys of many Indian brands noticed at the global stage.”