"The rapid growth of the last decade saw Indian businesses expanding at an impressive speed, resulting in Asia’s third-largest economy—despite the cooling off of its once red-hot status. "
This year we launched our first assessment of India’s most valuable brands, with Interbrand Mumbai leading the charge to “provide context and recognize Indian brands on the global stage,” while also assessing whether India’s top brands are fulfilling their true potential on that stage. The answer, we found in applying our brand valuation methodology to India’s powerhouse brands, is that they’re on their way, but nowhere near the global powerhouses they deserve to be.
In his overview of the Best Indian Brands 2013, Interbrand Mumbai managing director Ashish Mishra notes that, “With the growth era of a few decades, the recent slowdown notwithstanding, an encouraging number of Indian businesses have become global businesses. But none have become a global brand as of yet.”
The rapid growth of the last decade saw Indian businesses expanding at an impressive speed, resulting in Asia’s third-largest economy—despite the cooling off of its once red-hot status. Still, there are signs of a moderate economic recovery, with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) projecting India’s GDP growth in 2014-15 at 5.1 percent. The country’s corporate giants would do well to use this period to focus on their most valuable assets—their brands.
As Mishra observes, “recent years have ushered in a period of assessment and organization for many. With the maturing of both the market as well as the demographic youthfulness, and the opportunities of newer models enabled by digital and the accountability of social media, the economy is in the process of a catharsis in many ways. Brands are slowly emerging as a strategic tool to navigate this catharsis.”
It comes as no surprise, then, that a good number of our first class of India’s 30 most valuable brands are deploying strategic branding as a tool to grow their businesses, including organizing portfolios and developing more meaningful digital and social engagement.
The opportunity for Indian brands to realize their global ambitions is tremendous. As Mishra notes, “When the shape of national demography changes within a decade from ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’ to ‘Middle of a Diamond,’ millions of youthful aspirations bloom and society’s attitude and behavior changes. And along with those changes comes the opportunity for brands to anticipate new needs and transform desire, involve stakeholders with a living and flexing expression, and evolve with the changing world. That’s the secret for creating world-changing brands.”
Just like the nation itself, India’s leading brands reflect the country’s signature qualities such as collaboration, community, intelligence, innovation, and heart. To become truly world-changing brands, they must also develop resonant products, people, and behavior, and focus on internal and external brand building in order to better connect with customers at home and around the world.
"Indian businesses and brands are built around the demand drivers of the local market, hence they often end up emphasizing value,” says Mishra. “So when global opportunities get leveraged by Indian brands, the VFM (Value For Money) platform becomes the default choice. Nation brand connotations make the connection even stronger. However, for Indian brands to be global contenders, the higher Role of Brand demand drivers of developed markets need to be understood and leveraged in order to evolve the portfolio. This would drive more Brand Value for Indian brands."
"The VFM platform works well for emerging markets and therefore such markets become central targets for the Indian brands. This keeps them away from the top GDP markets that are necessary for becoming a true global brand,” Mishra adds. “It all boils down to self-belief. Indian brands need to become more confident. It is time to stop engaging in side acts—it is time to take center stage."