SKS Microfinance signs marketing guru Jack Trout for image makeover

SKS Microfinance Ltd has signed marketing guru Jack Trout for its rebranding and repositioning work. Trout, president, Trout & Partners Ltd, an international marketing consultancy based in Connecticut, the US, is the originator of positioning and other important concepts in marketing strategy.

Trout is the author/co-author of marketing classics such as ‘Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind’, ‘Marketing Warfare’ and ‘The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing’. His recent book is ‘Repositioning: Marketing In an Era of Competition, Change and Crisis’.

Once the largest micro lender in the country and the first to get listed in a blockbuster IPO three years ago, the firm was at the receiving end of a major regulatory change in its key operational area and home state Andhra Pradesh. The firm saw its value crumble and the exit of its boss Vikram Akula over his disagreement with company’s board as SKS went on a damage control mode.

The firm swung into the black with net profit for the third quarter ended December 31, 2012 after seven consecutive quarters of losses. It has maintained its profitability since then. It remains the second-largest micro lender by gross loan portfolio and fresh disbursals in the first quarter ended June 30, 2013.

“I am delighted to help SKS Microfinance as its recent turnaround post an external event is commendable,” said Trout, adding, “I consider this an interesting assignment as rebranding/repositioning work in the social sector, particularly after a crisis that nearly annihilated a crucial social sector, brings multitudes of challenges.”

MR Rao, managing director and CEO of SKS, said it is imperative that the firm revisits the brand propositions to further increase its brand equity among members and other key stakeholders.

"We are back at the threshold of steady growth post our recent turnaround, and require expert counsel in ending the dichotomies/ambiguities related to branding and positioning,” according to S Dilli Raj, CFO of SKS.

Recently, Vikram Akula, founder of SKS Microfinance who quit the firm in late 2011 over differences with the firm’s board, evinced interest to get back at the helm of the company.  He has already got the support of the SKS Trust, the single-largest shareholder of the firm. (See: Vikram Akula seeks to return to SKS Microfinance).

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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