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The start-up that gives other new businesses legal and creative identities

Topics Branding | Startups | legal services

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What’s in a name? Ask the founder of a budding start-up and the answer would be everything. It is the company name, brand and image that makes or breaks it. A host of small start-ups, small and medium business (SMB) players have burnt their hands over copyright issues because they did not check if the name they coined of their firm was taken or not. 

Even massive FMCG and consumer durable giants have faced similar issues. Many small enterprises that have been caught in the naming mess finally had to either wrap up the business or sell themselves to the bigger rival with the same name at dirt cheap prices. 

But that is like the worst-case scenario. Asher Ali and his team at WinnerBrands ensure that things never reach that point for a start-up. His firm has the delicate task of handholding a firm while it is being set up.

“The recent news about the legal battles of behemoths such as Amul and Unilever regarding brand names and their copycats has brought stark focus on the legal implications of choosing the right name, as well as safeguarding it. Currently entrepreneurs and SMEs name their brands themselves or take the help of creative agencies that approach it as a purely creative exercise, quite often being ignorant of the strategic considerations like name registration,” Ali said. 

At WinnerBrandsm they strongly believe that thinking of a brand name is much more than a creative exercise. It is first and foremost a legal exercise which comes with its own set of constraints and challenges. Ali and his team know how important the need for proper trademarking of brands is.

“Registration is a critical but easily missed aspect of brand naming. The regulatory environment is becoming more challenging and its implications on naming are critical. What is required is a name that is future-proof, resonates with the consumer and the category, and is also available as a domain name. Currently entrepreneurs and MSMEs name their brands themselves or take the help of creative agencies who approach it as a purely creative exercise, quite often being ignorant of the strategic considerations like name registration,” Ali said.

Co-founded in 2017 by Ali and Preetham Parvatam, WinnerBrands.in is a full-stack brand building company giving all services for a business to rightly launch a brand in an extremely competitive environment and manage the brand improving the relationship with its end consumers ensuring business success. 

The company has an asset-light model and curates category- and domain-specific designers, creative or communication experts, along with expert agencies who bring in diverse experience to offer quality branding services, which is otherwise an expensive affair. 

WinnerBrands has launched more than 250 brands in a short span of 12 months, out of which 100 plus brands are operational in the market and thriving. Working as an online platform, WinnerBrands established the first naming agency model in the country helping businesses navigate the complexities of merging creative and strategic objectives of find the right brand name for businesses. 

Asides, brand naming, WinnerBrands offers all critical brand services like brand logo, packaging designs, collaterals, website, app designs, social media, content, copywriting, stationery and more, along with other strategic services like positioning content or social media strategy to establish a brand giving multifold returns.

“We started with a thought that every business needs the power of branding, but the brand building services are negatively biased towards smaller and medium set ups. Though on the face of it, there are many options available- agencies, freelancers, marketplaces- each one of them comes with their own set of limitations- of affordability, accessibility and predictability,” Ali said.

With the surge of gig economy and the rising aspiration to start on one’s own business --combined with great tech adoption in this country-- the company felt that the time is right to establish a guided, open-source and curated model.

WinnerBrands have developed a proprietary process and frameworks for every branding practice, whether it is a naming exercise to getting a website out for the brand. Leveraging the advantage of its open source model, they only work with domain or category experts, unlike other agencies who do not show that amount of transparency often affecting the quality and budgets.

At present, the firm is largely covering new ventures, existing SMEs, family business groups, start-ups and even bigger brands that are looking at getting better managed services for taking their brand out to the market or select the right specialist behind the task at hand.

“Our primary aim is to be a reliable partner, regardless of their shape and size, for those serious abiyt shaping their brand from Day-1. We generally see SMEs/start-ups taking up branding as an afterthought. WinnerBrands aims to help businesses access multiple branding plans helping them gain affordability and accessibility at the same time. This approach helps us being a single stop platform for finding anything critical for the marketing goals of a business/brand,” Parvatam said.

WinnerBrands' business operations are largely online, using basic technology tools for communication and delivery of services. For certain enterprise customers, the firm holds personal meetings and makes presentations at various interventions, from business development to delivery. 

As far as profitability goes, the company at present is a bootstrapped venture making steady revenue from all its paid customers and services. “Businesses are able to evaluate the value for money and adopt multiple pricing plans to accommodate their quality expectations and budgets,” added Parvatam.

Box: The process of naming a firm

1. Customer reaches out the company’s brand managers, explain its business

2. Based on the inputs, Winnerbrands offers branding solutions and give the customer multiple plans to choose from

3. A project manager ensures any specific service or getting the entire branding completed is handled with its proprietary process of right talent selection, project planning and quality checks to bring out the right brand milestones.

4. Go-to-market support like legal compliance, procurement support helping the entrepreneurs reduce the typical time delays involved due to managing multiple vendors/service providers.

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