As a business leader, what, according to you, are the main tenets of successful leadership practices?
Leadership has to be exemplary. A leader has to have a vision, define a strategy and has to be able to execute it well.
Without a vision, there would be lack of clarity and the leader would not be able to guide his people in the right direction. A well-planned strategy helps ensuring the organisation’s ability to achieve this vision.
Good leadership automatically becomes visible through the results of the business. I also believe that good leadership automatically brings out the best in your employees and makes them more determined.
What are the key challenges you feel a leader may face while building a brand?
The toughest challenge is to keep up with the brand promise and to ensure that the ground experience fulfils this promise. At the end of the day, the word ‘experience’ plays a key role as a consumer will never forget a good experience nor will he forgive a bad one. In the healthcare industry, this becomes even more vital as you are dealing with a patient’s health. It is important that one should be happy with the treatment and the patient’s speedy recovery.
How central are people or employees to a brand?
They are very important to any brand, especially in the service industry. I strongly believe that internal satisfaction leads to customer satisfaction. If your employees are not happy about the work they do, which may be because of a variety of reasons, then it will certainly reflect in their interaction with the customers. Thus, the first step to keep your customers happy begins by ensuring that your employees are happy. This is central to building a good brand image.
What is the first thing that strikes a consumer’s mind when he thinks of Dr. Batra’s Homoeopathy? How does your brand communication convey this?
The first thing that strikes when they think of our brand is trust. It is a fundamental value in healthcare. And 67 per cent of our patients only come through the word of mouth. Our brand communication reinforces these points.
Such numbers give us immense joy as they show that we are reaching out to our consumers in a positive way and our methods and treatments are well received.
This is also a great way of judging customer satisfaction. Our new patients are referred to us by our existing ones, which would not have been possible if they were dissatisfied with their overall experience.
What’s the annual turnover of the brand and where do you see things five years down the line? Please throw some light on the market share too.
Our annual turnover last year was $25.5 million. We are expecting to grow to $167 million in the next five years. There are no specific figures in terms of market share as the homoeopathy market is unorganised. However, from a research study, our market share has came out to be approximately 40 per cent.
Managing a hospital network is not easy. How do you keep yourself focussed?
I do not have any problem in focussing on any work and do not find it taxing as I enjoy my work thoroughly. I never feel it’s a job that I need to get done. If you enjoy what you do, then, even the toughest of jobs would seem quite simple and non-taxing. I am never stressed at work as I take out time to relax and meditate and sing. I also indulge in photography and occasional reading. Spending time with my grandchildren back home is one of the most de-stressing activities for me.
Although we have the talent and wherewithal, Indians have not managed to create an iconic brand like Coca Cola or Apple from the scratch. Where do you think we lose out?
We haven’t invested enough in creating iconic brands. Brands require a lot of effort, money and innovation to deliver the brand promise. Our vision as Indians is often short-term and we miss out on the larger picture of building a brand over a period of time. We lose out because we look at short-term profits.
Whether infrastructure and technology can be improved upon in our country, is an argument that one often hears. One must realise that once we have more iconic brands in the country, investments will follow automatically.
This will help boost the infrastructure and technology that people often complain about. We certainly have the talent to build major brands and there is no doubt about it.
It is about focussing on the basics and having a lot of perseverance to ensure that we consistently succeed and can envision the big picture.