Founder, CEO & Chief Brand Strategist | Brands of Desire

Co-Founder | Brand India Summit

Board Member & VP of Branding | World Communication Forum Association, Davos |

Founder | Branding Institute

Co-Founder & Director | Credi Health

Secretary | IIM Calcutta Alumni Association – New Delhi Chapter

Introduction

Saurabh Uboweja is a brand strategist, writer, columnist, public speaker, startup coach and entrepreneur from India. He is the Founder, CEO and Chief Brand Strategist of Brands of Desire, a brand consultancy he setup in New Delhi, India in 2008. He is a co-founder and Director of CrediHealth, India’s number 1 medical assistance company. He is one of the eight founding members of the World Communication Forum Association, registered in Davos (Switzerland). Saurabh is also the founder of Brand India Summit, an annual event that aims at positioning and celebrating India as a nation brand.

Work

Considered as one of the India’s leading brand strategists, he has worked with many top clients in Asia, Europe and USA. His area of expertise is brand strategy with special focus on solving complex brand architectures, creating new brand value and strengthening brand image using a structured approach to branding. Saurabh has worked with some of the most recognized Indian and global brands including Tata Power, Walmart, Nokia, Medtronic, ICICI Bank, Amity University, Koenig Solutions, HIRA Group and Liberty Shoes. He enjoys his work most while working with family run business houses in India in tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India.

Saurabh is a well recognized international expert on branding and is frequently published and featured for his views on branding in leading print, television, radio and web media such as Business Standard, Mint, The Economic Times, Financial Express, Hindu Business Line, Business Insider, afaqs, Ad Age, World Trademark Review, Hindustan Times, Fever 104FM, ET NOW and ZEE NEWS.

Early Years and Education

Born in Talwara, a small town in Hoshiarpur District in the Indian State of Punjab in 1982, he lived in Panipat (Haryana), Nairobi (Kenya), Alwar (Rajasthan) and New Delhi. After completing his BTech from National Institute of Technology Bhopal in 2004 and Post Graduate Diploma from IIM Calcutta (Kolkata) in 2006, he joined Citigroup as a key member of the South Asia private banking in Mumbai and later in New Delhi. He founded Brands of Desire in 2008.

Brands of Desire

Saurabh founded Brands of Desire in 2008, which over the years has emerged as one of India’s largest and most recognized brand consultancies with offices in New Delhi (India), Mumbai (India) and Munich (Germany). He continues to be the Chief Executive of the international award winning branding firm since inception, which has worked with over 200 branding and rebranding projects across Asia, Middle East, Europe and USA. He also serves the company as the Chief Brand Strategist for their client projects.

In June 2016, Saurabh launched Branding Institute as the research and education division of Brands of Desire, making Brands of Desire India’s first and only brand consultancy covering all aspects of branding including research, education, consulting and implementation. Branding Institute (BI) is an international research and knowledge sharing platform focused on the subject of branding, marketing, communication and design. BI has already signed up with 25 international branding experts who between them have over 500 years of cumulative experience. BI aims to empower 1 million learners around the world by 2020.

World Communication Forum

In April 2016, Saurabh Uboweja was announced as a member of the new World Communication Forum Committee – the Program Board in charge of the preparations for the next, 8th edition of the annual World Communication Forum in Davos will take place on 9-10 March, 2017, in Switzerland at the Davos Congress Centre. The high-level expertise of the 36 Committee members includes public affairs, country reputation, intra-governmental and global corporate communication, social and digital media insight, crisis management, cross-cultural interaction, branding, design, integrated marketing, and more. They represent the national communication industries and professional communities of 24 countries on 4 continents.

In March 2016, Saurabh was appointed as the Global Vice President of Brand Strategy for the World Communication Forum Association. He was also re-elected to the Executive Board for 2016. Saurabh was appointed as a member of the Jury for the Communication 4 Future (C4F) Awards Davos in 2016. He served as the editor of the inaugural edition of World Communication Review (2015), an annual publication that covers the panel discussions and speeches at the annual World Communication Forum and articles of expertise and insight by leading global communicators.

In November 2014, he was invited to join the first Executive Committee of World Communication Forum Association (WCFA) in Davos, Switzerland. As one of the eight members around the world, he represents India while contributing to the global agenda of the WCFA, that is giving shape to its mission of communication sans boundaries, geographical or ideological.

Awards & Recognition

In October 2016, Saurabh received the “Promising Business Communicator Award” under the Elite Awards category at the ABCI (Association of Business Communicators of India) 56th Annual Awards 2016.

In January 2016, Saurabh received the coveted Public Relations Council of India (PRCI) Chanakya Award for National Achievers 2016 under the category – Most Promising Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

In September 2015, Saurabh was awarded with ‘Excellence in Brand Management’ for their rebranding project of Koenig Solutions at the 5th Asian Customer Engagement Forum and Awards.

In March 2015, while representing India and moderating an international panel on communication and customer experience, Saurabh became the first Indian and only the third person in the world to receive the ‘Idea of the Future Award’ 2015 at the World Communication Forum in Davos.

In April 2014, Saurabh’s company Brands of Desire became India’s first and only brand consultancy to win an award for two of their brand transformation projects at Transform Europe in London.

Speaking Engagements, Interviews, Panels and Workshops

Saurabh has spoken at many conferences and conducted branding workshops around the world. Some recent speaking engagements include:

Fever 104FM New Delhi, 2016: Exclusive interview on Corporate Mantra on my personal and professional journey.

CII Lucknow, 2016: Branding workshop on “Aligning your business to your brand”.

Entrepreneur India New Delhi, 2016: Key speaker at the annual event.

Entrepreneurs’ Organization Kanpur, 2016: Keynote speaker on “ROI on branding” for Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Uttar Pradesh Chapter.

World Communication Forum Davos, 2016: Moderator and Panel Leader for the session on – Digital Evolution to Robot Revolution: Humanity, Communications, and Ethics. Panelists included Scott C. Fahlman, Annalisa De Luca, Vidhu Shekhar and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

International Masterclass on Branding Mumbai, 2015 at FICCI Massmerize 2015 (the Retail & FMCG conference): Moderated a branding workshop on customer experience design by International Brand Strategy Consultant Melvin Brand Flu from the Netherlands.

Asian Consumer Engagement Forum Mumbai, 2015: Speaker on the topic of CSR branding

World Communication Forum Davos, 2015: Moderator and Panel Leader – Communication versus Customer Experience

World Communication Forum Davos 2014: Speaker, New Media and Pharmaceutical Branding

ECLECTICA Indore 2014: Keynote speaker on “ROI on branding” for a group of 100 entrepreneurs in Indore

World Brand Congress 2013: Speaker on the branding panel

Healthcare Brand Summit 2013: Speaker on healthcare branding panel

Visiting Faculty and Guest Lectures in Leading Business Schools

Saurabh is passionate about teaching the subject of branding and serves as a visiting faculty and guest lecturer in leading business schools. Some of his recent assignments include:

Indian Institute of Management, Bodh Gaya India (2016)

Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune India (2015, 2014)

Indian Institute of Management, Rohtak India (2015)

Indian Institute of Management, Raipur India (2014)

Mannheim Business School, Manheim Germany (2014)

Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi India (2013)

Publications

Saurabh is a well-known columnist and commentator on the subject of branding, and has been featured regularly on print, television and web.

ET Now, Leaders of Tomorrow 2016 (Episode 7)

Importance of online presence for brands for the annual TV series by ET Now.

ETRetail.com – Re-Tales (Blogs by Retail Gurus)

Saurabh is a guest author for India’s leading online retail publication, an initiative of The Economic Times. His articles include the following:

  • The Rise of Indian Luxury Brands
  • Fast Fashion Forward. Is India ready & who will be affected?
  • Why the company’s brand is more important than the entrepreneur’s?
  • The case for mobile only strategy for digital commerce
  • E-commerce majors on a buying spree; Welcome to the age of plug-in startups
  • What will drive Indian air travel: Low Cost, Air Miles or Customer Experience
  • Who will win the great Indian Mobile Race?
  • Why Domino’s kids menu Joybox may not be a joyride

The Economic Times

Saurabh has contributed to branding stories for both the print and web edition of India’s largest business daily, The Economic Times. He has also been featured on the web edition for his contribution to the branding industry in India.

  • Building brands through customer service
  • Brand for the Buck: How Saurabh Uboweja’s Brands of Desire helps companies build brand value
    How to build a brand using social media
  • Uber lessons for startups

Advertising Age

Saurabh is a commentator and columnist for Advertising Age India. In 2015, he wrote a series of 6 articles for Ad Age India on the differences between branding and advertising that include:

  • Use advertising as a step in building the brand, not the brand
  • Branding adds value to a product, advertising builds reach
  • Brand-led advertising is more potent than just quirky stuff
  • Why most Indian brands are consistently inconsistent
  • Branding eliminates chaos. Advertising hides it
  • Use advertising to build brand equity, not sell

Financial Express

Saurabh has contributed 4 articles on branding for SMEs as a columnist

Besides this, he has contributed several times for stories on branding, advertising, marketing and design for media publications such as Business Standard, Business Insider, aFaqs, Exchange4Media, Pitch Magazine and AdGully.

Online Profiles

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