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Why are brokers not packers?

Shivaji Dasgupta, Managing Director, Inexgro Brand Advisory, writes why many businesses are still built on linear operational capabilities that can be outsourced and not experiential synergies driven by trust and emotions

While undergoing yet another house move, a silly but valid realisation dawned most suddenly. The real estate broker and the logistics packers are the two most important conduits in the transition but they seldom unite as a solitary branded service. Too many businesses are still being built on linear operational capabilities that are highly outsourceable and not experiential synergies driven by trust and emotions.

Whether you are buying or renting, the broker is usually a key ally as he creates possibilities and acts as a trusted liaison for closure, including the legal processes. The next most important fellow in the puzzle is the packer who ensures that the valuables you cherish are transferred caringly to the new home, with minimum fuss and damage. From a traditional manufacturer’s perspective, the skillsets are largely unconnected ranging from service efficiency to logistics management. However, from an experiential customer-centric viewpoint, they are part of a linear continuum that is seamlessly aligned and exceptionally meaningful. The larger operational point being that packing skills can be easily acquired by a broker and a relationship of trust extendable effortlessly across the house-shifting experience.

In spite of living in an era of ‘Chinisation’ where entry barriers have virtually dissolved, far too many businesses and thus brands are still being built on perceived delivery capabilities and not customer experiences. To be noted of course is the difference between brand synergies, connected to experience, and business feasibility, connected to operating realities and priorities. For long, I have surmised that the Indigo brand can extend effortlessly to smart low-cost hotels, as the same customer requires both in easy synergy and the same is true for car rentals as well. Hotels are anyway operating in the management contract model and this can be an asset light venture without pressuring the balance sheets significantly. We are certainly in the age of Integrated Solution Providers and outstation travel can benefit from a single and consistent window sourcing.

But this debate is more fundamental and begins with the fundamental definition of businesses which is still linked to the traditional definition of industries, whether product or service. Which can be chocolate energy bars, co-working spaces, interior designing, food delivery, online pharmacies and so much more. Only rarely does a truly experiential business model like Dunnzo truly emerges where the focus is on connecting physical stuff and people, whatever be the item, and this is being replicated by which will deliver all kinds of perishables across centres, whether home food or produce or restaurant items. These businesses are operating from a customer-centric expectation mapping and merging them with business processes to create user-inspired business models that overcome conventional boundaries.

This synergy starts with the value proposition of each entity, which must be firmly established but its delivery outreach can be more varied than imaginable. So if WeWork was in the business of providing a unified platform to professionals, then it had the locus standi to become the next Linkedin as well, and indeed vice versa. Instead of making energy bars for children, the entrepreneur must consider being in the Juvenile Supplementary Energy Business, which can extend to exercise gear, video tutorials and foods of course. A company can choose to be in the WFH business offering a gamut of furniture, gym equipment, water and air purifiers and a lot more. Equally the entrepreneur in online schooling can offer an imaginable array of outcomes including laptops and stationery. Healthcare businesses are still in the predictable industry trap and it is surprising why nobody wishes to be in the Continuing Cardiac Care business, offering sustainable solutions for all affected by a heart intervention. Which can well include pharmacy services, wellness regimes, dietary products and trekking expeditions for good measure.

If you think hard enough, the possibilities are infinitely endless and my confidence in such experiential business models comes from multiple factors. Firstly, we live in a potent culture of quality outsourcing and it is possible easily to unify a series of unconnected actors under a profitable umbrella. For the business owner, the risks are limited as such models are surely asset light. Secondly, it is now proven that customers are operating increasingly as experiential entities thanks to greater exposure and education. Thirdly, there have been successful use cases like the marketplace aggregators such as Amazon where quality, convenience and cost are the cross-category unifiers. In fact, such online platforms have busted the popular-premium hierarchies of brick and mortar retail with the entire price spectrum being consumed in a solitary experiential space.

On brokers and packers, I envision an Integrated Home Transition brand, unifying services and logistics through compelling brand propositions. Across categories, the customer is living the age of experience while entrepreneurs are still stuck in silo-based industry models.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)

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