Are Indian brands ready for the global market?
K. SUDHIR, Professor and Director, China, India Program, Yale School of Management:
I think Indian brands are already crossing boundaries. Indian companies like Tata are shepherding global brands like Rover. Tatas Taj is already a respected brand in the hospitality sector globally.
Clearly, hospitality industry is one sector where we have already seen Indian branding doing well in the global scenario.
Mahindra launched small tractors in the US. That is another success story.
India has strong cultural heritage. Indian brands have uniqueness in terms of product and design. As Indian consumers evolve, I think Indian brands will evolve too and will increase their reach to the global markets. Will we do it in categories like packaged consumer goods space? Perhaps, No! That will not be the first thing Indian brands will do. Perhaps India will be more successful managing companies and Indians might just start buying global brands and running them efficiently. Like the Tatas have done it with Tata Tea. So brands like Tetley are not Indian brands technically, but they are shepherded by an Indian company. So Indian companies may begin with shepherding such brands and then at some point of time they will create their own brands.
Connotation of India as a country of origin
It's an evolving view. If you go back 20-25 years, people will think of poverty when they thought of India. But in the last 10 years, if you say 'India', people will say "a lot of smart people". However, when it comes to image about brands from a country of origin perspective, one needs to nurture it for years... it doesn't happen overnight. For instance, LG and Samsung. When they launched in the US markets, the country of origin effect for Korean brands wasn't very good. At that time, both LG and Samsung had a lot of small appliances and products in their portfolio. But after a point of time, both decided to not sell anything below $100 dollars because that was diluting their image. Slowly they gained this premium imagery and now the country or origin effect for Korean brands is very positive. So brands need to nurture image over years and decades.