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Indian brands should aim for the global stage | Opinion – analysis


When you look at global brands that dominate world markets today, what strikes you is that India is yet to have homegrown brands that have made a significant mark on the global stage.

Iconic brands like Apple, Samsung, Google, Microsoft, while gaining significant franchise across the world, also create enormous value for their country of origin. Brands can be one of the key sinews of a nation’s economic strength. Beyond and beneath the gloss of great advertising, global ideas, spiffy packaging, stunning design, breakthrough media multipliers, digital and social stunts and content, and even successful products and service stories, brands are a country’s sustained source for constant and continuing wealth generation.

At a time when the India story is being rigorously crafted, Indian brands can become key and conscious contributors to the creation of larger national value. A look at Hyundai, Rolls Royce, Sony or Samsung echoes the veracity of this assertion. These brands have managed to create virtually impregnable ecosystems and unique trademarks which lie at the heart of their countries’ economic robustness.

India must have world-class Indian brands which anchor competitive and inclusive value chains that capture and retain larger value within the country. Add to this the value capture and retention that the creation of intellectual capital in the country makes possible, and the quantum and depth of value creation increases.

Thankfully, today there are a few committed Indian brands which have made a mark on the domestic as well as the international scene, and are supporting the country. The likes of Aashirvaad Atta from ITC, Hero from Hero Motocorp, Airtel from Bharti, Mahindra, HDFC Bank are examples of outstanding Indian brands doing exceedingly well in terms of revenue, competitiveness, and self-identity.

It is important that the most responsible, successful and well identified winning brands drive synergies to make their competitive value chains sustainable and inclusive. By nurturing and strengthening these value chains, owners add a unique source of competitive strength to their brands. These value chains contribute to farmer empowerment and enrich the rural ecosystem. For instance, ITC’s paper value chain is predicated on its large-scale afforestation programme which provides sustainable livelihoods to marginal and tribal households along with a commercially viable land use option. These renewable plantations contribute a positive environment footprint and enable ITC to offer the greenest paper and paperboards product.

There are clearly two definite expectations from a nationally committed brand.

One, it has to be instrumentally manifest in an ethos which helps in developing national assets. Companies which sustain these brands should do so with investments, which not only contribute to their competitiveness, but also help in building assets and intellectual capital to serve the nation. A good example is the Hero group which has its unique and advanced Center of Innovation and Technology (CIT) at Jaipur and is its global hub of research and development. The CIT has more than 700 engineers from across the world that are engaged in developing the new range of mobility solutions for customers across the globe.

The second expectation from a nationally committed brand is its environmental responsibility, which shines through its efforts in building a sustainable future for all stakeholders.

Prathap Suthan is chief creative officer and managing partner, Bang in the Middle

The views expressed are personal

Hindustan Times