Branding services agency Alia creates 'kundalis' for major brands

MUMBAI: We're familiar with advertising agencies and media agencies. But what's a branding services agency and how different is it from an ad agency? Wondering what the demarcation line between the two is?

Here's what... A branding services agency sets the road map for a brand on how to position itself in the market by offering branding strategies, branding manifestations along with implementation and regulation. It does not encroach upon the ad agency's space of visualizing an ad and rolling out the final product. One such player in the market, which provides strategic branding, is the Alia Group - the brain child of Sanjeev Malhotra.



Operating in a unique space, that of before, after and beyond advertising, the Alia Group works towards achieving simplicity in brand expression. Recently the group launched two new divisions namely Arc-CGL and Maximus. Arc-CGL has been formed in association with Mumbai's leading architectural firm - Ratan J Batliboi. This division aims to create the space of 'place branding' in India and has bagged the contract of beautifying and branding Mumbai's Marine Drive.



Maximus on the other hand, is a specialist provider of retail solutions that enhance brand presence at the 'point of choice'. The agency offers solutions for experimental marketing.



A six and a half year old agency, Alia has worked with over 70 brands across 20 categories. Some of its clients are Hindustan Levers Limited (HLL), Amul, Timex, Marico, Dabur, Tata, Larsen & Tubro, Reebok, ITC, Reliance and many more. Some of the brands that Alia handles are Pepsodent, Pillsbury, Tata Indicom, Surf, Lakme, Lux, Aviance, Ayush, Clinic Plus, Liril, Close Up, Dove, Pears, Sunfeast and others.

Alia Group presidentSanjeev Malhotra

Speaking about the agency's four C's for brand communication audit, Malhotra says, "Compelling communication comes from a coherent idea, which is spread cohesively across mediums and is also consistent across time. We have married the three disciplines of branding strategies, manifestations and implementation to give the client a choice under one umbrella and a single window with seamless delivery."

Stressing on the fact that strategic brand foundation is most important Malhotra says that finding the right Brand Expression, Brand Style and Brand Essence is the key to the success of any brand. Brand Style is the vocabulary one uses for a brand, which comprises seven elements namely - mnemonics, icons, name, logo, sonic, brand line and structure. "The space of controlling brand communication begins with the brand's identity, goes on to packaging and finally the communication," says Malhotra. One of the best examples of Brand Style was that of Star Plus' Kaun Banega Crorepati with its distinct music, Bachchan's persona coupled with his baritone voice and the 'Lock Kar Diya Jaye' line to name a few.

One of the biggest challenge that Alia faces is that of working with ad agencies as the former faces resistance from the latter as their creativity is immediately limited and restricted. However, with the long clientele list, Alia has proved that clients are becoming more open to branding solutions before taking the plunge in the market.

Malhotra who touted the agency as being responsible for creating a 'kundali' for a brand says that what has made the agency to reach where it is today is its passion and belief in getting in-depth communication with objectivity and honesty.

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