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ICICI with $14.9 bn is lone Indian in Brandz top 100 list

MUMBAI: India‘s largest private bank, ICICI, appeared for a second consecutive year in the BrandZ Top 100 ranking, at No. 53, with a brand value of $14.9 billion.


Also, with a rise of 27 per cent in brand value to $8.2 billion, Infosys was one of the most valuable technology brands in the world and is expected to soon rank among the Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands across all sectors.


The sixth edition of BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study had a special section dedicated to brand India. In this section, the study commissioned by WPP and conducted by Millward Brown Optimor described the factors fuelling the growth.
 
Although, along with all the praises to brand India, the study warns that Indian inclination to look to the past or to the West for inspiration might restrain the growth of "Brand India".


The study claims, however, that the Indian brands will surge ahead, powered by a combination of positive fundamentals - economic vitality, a diverse and enterprising population and a cohesive, stable, muddled democracy.


According to the study, the appearance of Indian banking and technology brands in the BrandZ ranking reflects both the prominence of these sectors in fast-growing markets and an expansion in brand literacy particular to India.


Brands that many Indians until recently saw only in the suitcases of relatives returning from North America or Europe are now encountered every day in local shop windows.
 
Indians appreciate the opportunity to own brands as living circumstances in India steadily improve. Perhaps drawn by the novelty of the brand explosion, Indian consumers even enjoy advertising, the study remarks.


In a multiplier effect, the more Indian consumers are exposed to brands, the more they desire them. The expanding middle class of educated young people, often employed in technology, contribute to the purchasing power.


The economic progress, particularly leadership in information technology, has altered India‘s image of itself as well as the world‘s postcard view of India as simply colorful and exotic.


Elaborating this aspect the report said the international reach of ICICI, Infosys and large Indian conglomerates, such as Tata, which operates in more than 80 countries and gains annual revenue of almost $68 billion from businesses including steel, chemicals, hospitality and communications, has done their bit to change India‘s image.


The acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover made Tata a player in the luxury end of the international car business.


"Energy, confidence, creativity and purpose characterise "Brand India" today and point to its potential", the study asserts.
 
 
Choice brings challenges


The study says that "sometimes, Indian brands are seen as too available and insufficiently inspirational". This factor leads to stiff competition from international brands.


The report claims Indian conglomerate brand Godrej exemplifies this trend. Despite being well respected across many product categories, the brand faces international competition from LG, Samsung and Whirlpool, in its appliance business.


In cars, Maruti (the Indian brand of Suzuki) faces increased competition from international contenders including Honda, Toyota and BMW.


Some of the Unilever and P&G brands, long established in India and seen as local, now are emphasising their global credentials, the WPP report claims.


Advertising for Dove, for example, features not only Indians, but also women from across the globe. Consumers view brands like L‘Oréal or Garnier as international and delivering the quality that implies, the study asserts.


Large Indian conglomerates, such as Bharti, Godrej, Reliance and Tata, occupy an influential and secure place in the minds of consumers. Trusted, even revered, these conglomerate brands regularly introduce consumers to new product categories.


Although a conglomerate may itself be new to a category, its brand guarantees competence and compensates for any lack of experience, the report clarifies.


Major brands evoke trust


Indians rely on these conglomerate brands for relatively risk-free introductions to new products and experiences, the study states.


Citing the example of Godrej Nature‘s Basket, it said that consumers immediately accepted the new retail format, because it came with a reassuring brand.


Talking about Tata and ITC, the report says a conglomerate brand becomes especially important in high-risk, high-investment ventures.


Tata moved into real estate - from high-rises in Bangalore to housing developments in Delhi, while ITC began diversifying its portfolio during the past decade because of the health issues and regulatory challenges faced in its core business, cigarettes.


ITC now markets food, hotels, personal care and cosmetics and other fashion-focused products and services.


In a country known for conventional mom-and-pop stores, the conglomerates are introducing modern retailing, the study quips.


For example, Reliance, India‘s largest private-sector enterprise, operates in many retail channels, including food, apparel, footwear, home improvement and consumer electronics.


Brand India: Colorful, confident and creative


Discussing about India‘s international agreements, the study mentioned Tata‘s joint venture arrangement with Tesco, the global hypermarket chain based in the UK and Bharti‘s JV with Walmart.


Culture and values


The success of Indian brands stems from India‘s cultural peculiarities, the study asserts.


Elaborating these particularities in an interesting way, the report says, in making some of life‘s major decisions - whom to marry or whom to vote for - Indians are especially aware of the "power behind the throne."


In marriages, that notion means knowing the background of the in-law family. In voting, it means understanding the influencers in the political parties. This understanding in part drives the growth of brands like ICICI and Infosys, the report says.


ICICI (formerly Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India) projects trustworthiness and comfort in its banking business. In insurance, ICICI emphasises the joy of life in a category often associated with the possibility of death.


The brand ICICI projects warmth. Its use of the color red in branding evokes the red band that an Indian bride wears in her hair to signify lifelong bonding, the study quips.


The Infosys culture is egalitarian in its approach to the workforce. Infosys is known for its generous employee stock-sharing programme, and it is closely associated with government programmes to improve the national welfare, the report remarks.


Wipro, a competitor, has a similar story, with a major presence in education and social welfare. Both Infosys and Wipro are values-driven, knowledge-based companies. Both companies are entrepreneurially led.


Indian brands derive strength from these deep-rooted values as they build commercial success while at the same time attempting to transform a nation of 1.1 billion people, the study concludes.
 

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