Inspired by Indian brands … Tata and Airtel, Mahindra and Idea, faster and more human

October 1, 2016

Tata, Airtel, Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank and LIC are India’s most valuable brands according to the latest Best Indian Brands Report 2016.

Whilst multi-faceted Tata still leads the way, HDFC has risen from 6th place in 2014, to rank 4th with a 15% rise in brand value. Reliance Industries and Airtel have swapped the number 2 and 3 spots with a 3% and 8% growth in revenue respectively. The fastest rising brand is Maruti Suzuki with a 16% increase in brand value, driven by moves into new segments and moving up the value chain. The brand value of HDFC Bank also grew by 15%, primarily supported by its focus on new solutions and digital channels. Other big risers were Mahindra (14%), Idea (12%), Infosys (12%) and Dabur (12%.)

Given the legacy of conglomerate-thinking, diversified businesses and financial services account for the two most significant sector in this year’s league table. While diversified businesses make up 37% of the total brand value of the table, financial services forms 27% of the value. Telecom, auto and tech are the other significant contributors to the value, accounting for 9%, 7.5% and 7% respectively.

At the launch event in Mumbai, the reports authors Interbrand said “Indian brands must accelerate their growth to compete globally. These businesses grew from industries to conglomerates. The conglomerates are now trying to grow global by transcending domains, reinventing around purpose, waking up to strategic issues like sustainability. This shift is marked by industry-driven brands transforming to fast moving consumer-centric brands, customer-centric innovations and digital pervasiveness. Historically, diversified and finance sectors have dominated the Indian market. Technology, telecom and auto are the emerging growth sectors. More importantly, healthcare, e-commerce, fashion, luxury and sports are the next big opportunities.”

“Indian businesses and brands will need to be the global frontrunners in designing lives and creating better experiences, at the speed of life. This needs the Indian brands to reinterpret themselves in the context of a global role and purpose. Simply because today its all about people – B2H (business to human) as against B2B or B2C. And people today are more interested in what we make happen rather than what we make. Thus aligning themselves to a purpose creates an inspiring brand-led culture on the inside, which in turn anchors the multiple micro-experiences for the customer on the outside. This is really the way Indian brands can lead and grow their businesses global.”


Another report, by BrandZ (WPP Kantar Millward Brown), calculates that the total value of India’s most valuable brands has risen by 30% over the last three years, with the Top 50 brands now worth $90.5 billion. According to this report, and their alternative valuation methodology, HDFC bank is number one for a third consecutive year with a brand value of $14.4 billion following a 15% growth over the past year. (Quite how they calculate this, given Interbrand’s analysis of the bank, is puzzling!)

Brand valuation is a dubious game, based on judgement and remote estimations. Of course, its the business strategy and business value that matter more, brand being one of the important value drivers in delivering growth and profitability. Whilst Interbrand’s reports always give useful insight and commentary on changing markets, and the opportunities for brands, most rigorous is actually the report by Brand Finance (see below). However the real challenge is to understand the changing nature of India’s global and local markets, to build a business and brand strategy to seize the best opportunities for growth, to engage the best customers most effectively, and turn great ideas into profitable results.




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