Branding India


Par 100 posts (V.I.P)
Here's a great piece of work by my friends Mugdha Mishra, Shilpa Subhramaniam and Akshat Modi(Got selected by the Indian Brand Congress..Enjoy:)
Our vision for Brand India
“We see a continental country, a democratic success, a talent pool blessed with the language of the world- English, an IT powerhouse and a united diversity called The Indian Experience. An emotional connect which will appeal to every individual at the mention of India is what we envisage.”

India- A Prologue on the Past and the Present

“The destination of today is India”. This statement has been relevant since time immemorial that it has been etched in the memoirs of world history. The land of the Golden Throne and the Kohinoor diamond was the coveted colony of the foreign invaders that it was branded “the jewel in the crown of the British Empire”. Every brush with history in the story of India, either direct or indirect affects the brand image of India. India is an ancient country with a modern outlook and it is this confluence of the past and the prevailing which gives India the sharpest edge in the rapier called “Incredible India”. Brand can exist in every realm. However, it is important for us to understand the uniqueness of a product so as to construe it
as a brand. Just like any other engineered product, a nation too depends on its performance and its subsequent image in the minds of its people. Nation branding is a gamut of exercises that unifies yet keeps the individual identity of the nation‟s assets intact. As a response to the ever rising fever of globalization, a nation builds on its distinctive characteristics to create and manage a reputation of its own. Countries such as United States, China, Japan, South Korea and France have long since adopted their respective measures for branding themselves. In India, the first form of branding exercise came due to the efforts of the tourism department
which was highly successful in initiating a unique proposition to the tourism sector as a result of which it became a highly successful strategy which made people look upon India as a vibrant nation and removed the misconception of the west which attributed India only to snakes, sadhus, sahebs and sarees. Today, we have a very difficult task in front of us because the frames of reference has only magnified, thanks to globalisation! The concept of the east, south Asia and the SAARC has been long lost in the era where a UK citizen strikes a conversation with an Indian working for a US company‟s call centre, having manufacturing facilities in China, about a product which was designed by a team of Japanese experts. The comparison based on the frames of reference can be tackled easily because, the differences which sets us apart from the rest of the world like a youthful population, abundant workforce, increasing number of graduates and the optimism of the country as a whole. We have the sets ready, we have a master plan, building a strong brand requires hard work and dedication but the outcomes are terrific.

India has traversed a long way from being a „Land of Snakes charmers‟, rope tricks and hermits to a land of business magnates, culture kaleidoscope and global prominence. India has now reached a stage where it can compete with the major superpowers of the world and has got everything that is required for the making of a nation that can excel beyond perceived expectations, not only as a geographical entity but also as an economical and socio-political power. India has been in its developing stage since independence and it is still being regarded as a developing nation. There are nations who got independence after India and have managed to receive the developed nation tag (South Korea& Singapore). Perhaps the reason
why India is not titled as a completely developed nation is because it has not yet tapped all the potential opportunities that could possibly render it its desired stature. PEOPLE POWER: To start with, India is the second most populated country in the world which can act as an asset as well as a liability to the country. We cannot judge a resource on the basis of its availability but on the basis of its usefulness. When it comes to India it is observed that due to the shortage of skilled and intellectual workforce Indian industries are not able to bank upon the advantage of having 50% of its population below the age of 25.

Population of India over the years
According to the “demographic dividend theory” propounded by demographer David Bloom, a national economy will be affected in positive ways if the country comprises of a disproportionate young working-age population. Opportunistically speaking, India has a competitive advantage over the western countries
which are suffering from ageing population.

THE NUMBER GAME: Financially, the Indian economy is growing at a rate of 7.7%, even in today‟s time when the world is going through global turmoil. This gives it an advantage over other countries to have more investment power in the various sectors of the economy. For example, It can use these resources to build training programs for building a strong workforce which can contribute towards the development of the country. GDP Growth rate of India over the years

BUSINESS: The heavy industries sector in India is proof enough for India‟s self-sustenance in natural resources. The CAGR for 2009-2011 is 22.7%. The double digit growth rate in the industrial sector starting from 2004 has attracted FDI but not to the extent what China has been able to do so. As per the FICCI study “the country need an action plan which would help in attracting FDI of $12 billion per year in the manufacturing sector alone, for the next 5 years. Technological transfer and absorption are the major benefits of FDI”.

KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT: India is making huge investments in the country‟s education system to tap the world market needs of skilled, semiskilled workers. Among the Asian countries, India is well known for setting up technical education standards and with the establishment of new IIT‟s and IIM‟s it has a potential of becoming an education hub.

GLOBAL FACES: India also has an opportunity to market itself through the global faces that India has produced. Just to name a few Amitabh Bachchan, Amartyasen, Sachin Tendulkar, APJ Abdul Kalam, S H Raza and A R Rahman are the ones who have excelled and have set benchmarks in their respective fields.

INDIAN ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY: Indian Bollywood industry can be termed as “Glamorous Black-hole” gravitating entertainment innovations for creative collaborations, giving birth to nascent genre attracting fresh interests and converting figments of imaginations into surrealism. Indian film industry is the biggest entertainment industry in the world in terms of revenue and is projected to grow at 18% over the next 5 years with a remarkable increase in the Foreign Direct investments. India can bank upon this opportunity through the film fraternity idols representing India at a global platform.

TOUR DIARY: Till date India has been modestly successful in its tourism domain. The Government‟s increased interest and contribution to this sector has propelled its growth over the past few years. Besides the geographical tourism, medical tourism is one of the upcoming fields. A study by McKinsey and CII says “at its current pace of growth, healthcare and tourism alone can bring over US$1.7 billion additional revenues by 2012. Medical tourism is now US$ 299 million industry, as about 1,00,000 patients come each year.”

COLLECTVISM: inculcates a sense of cooperation and agreeableness in our outlooks. These traits facilitate the individuals to gel as a social unit like “cogs in a wheel”. Not only the system of the country is trying to uplift the Indian brand value but also the elements of the system are forming groups to contribute for the same. This organised teaming of the elements provides a structure, increasing the efficiency of the system to achieve the motive of creating high brand value.

CAPITALISTS OF INDIA: India is a country full of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME‟s), but a few Entrepreneurs have reached heights and have showed their potentials of growth and sustainability even in the times of global competition and economic downfall. The global presence of Indian companies reiterates the opportunities at hand for every kind of sector. Having established a upper hand in the IT/ITES sector, the time has come for India to prove its potential in the manufacturing sector because, this is one sector which lays a strong
foundation for the economy. The target would be to increase the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the GDP.

MEDIA & BEYOND: India can also portray itself as a brand in the world market through its abilities of conducting successful events. Generally, people had a negative perception about India‟s ability to host some of the most prestigious global events like Commonwealth Games and F1 but, not anymore. The 2011 F1 season showcased to the world that India is going to be the hot-spot for such grandiose. The number of social media users in the country have been rapidly increasing and through the increasing facilities provided by the government and private players, such as increasing the penetration of broadband connections (currently at 11.87 million). It gives India an opportunity to portray itself as a brand through social media being used by individuals and corporates.

There are various perspectives in the direction of nation branding which can be debated and enacted upon. Driving back home, a nation like India stands on a foundation of vast bureaucracies, plethora of leaders and not-so-simple State machinery, branding becomes even more herculean a task and needs substantial grounds to make it effective. We can comprehend the Intellectual Property (IP) of India in the light of:

DIVERSITY: Being the largest democracy in the world India can boast of multiple culture origins and bank upon this diversity to build its brand. The rich potpourri of ethnicities, geographical wonders and multi-linguistic population can bring India to surface in a different light than it is now. The state of Gujarat has epitomized a newly emerging India and presents a picture of a possible nation with indigenous entrepreneurial ventures and civil mindedness. Bangalore City on the other hand speaks of an India that is a tech-wrapped software leader
that has already struck a chord in the global IT market. India‟s diversity is prominent in other nations as well with increasing migration of Non – Resident Indians. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, celebrated in India on January 9 every year
marks the contribution of the NRI community in the development of India. Sponsored by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs; this event creates opportunities for networking with overseas Indian communities and positioning Brand India internationally.

POLITICS: India owns a political heritage that it has acquired over the last six decades that can leverage its brand name, which transcends above constituencies and is entirely democratic. The upcoming politically interested and involved youth (read Rahul Gandhi, Sachin Pilot, and the like) represents a political capital for India that can provide democratic dividends. However, for a strong political face of Brand India, all the political parties should have the same foothold on the major national issues. But disappointingly, Indian politicians lack in integrity of thoughts where collaboration is required, the same can be influenced with reduction in democratic hurdles in this arena.

TOURISM: Foreign tourist arrivals are expected to grow to 10 million by 2012 and the domestic growth is expected to be 10-15 % as projected by the Ministry of Tourism. Allowing 100% FDI in the Hotels-Tourism through automatic route has increased investment opportunities estimated at $8-10 billion in the near future. Heavy infrastructural developments and growing popularity of non-metro airports have pushed India‟s international competitiveness. It is estimated that over the next three years Indian airports will be handling around 90-100 million passengers. Alongside „Incredible India‟, the complementary campaign called “Atithi Devo Bhava” is a parallel attempt to create a sense of tourism pride in India. Its direct contribution is 1.29% of the total GDP.

Yet, the shady sides of current tourism condition cannot be ignored. Molestations and attacks on tourists are a cause of concern. This needs to be addressed in the light of „Atithi Devo Bhava‟ – the underlying principle in India about guest culture. Providing an up grip to new avenues in tourism like Medical Tourism and Destination Marketing would contribute in branding India.

CORRUPTION: As evidenced by the world ranking of 87/178, India is infamous as a highly corrupted nation. Branding India as an emerging market would not be very easy considering this statistic.

HIGHER EDUCATION: India has gradually emerged as a learning hub in South Asia. With greater proficiency in technical education and more number of technical professionals India can be a Brand in education worldwide. India presents greater opportunities for outsourcing to countries like US which lack workforce supply. Like, Mercedes Benz India has been outsourcing services and components to India since the year 1998. On an average, they have grown the sourcing volume by about 10 per cent per year. India does not lag in innovation either. General Electric (GE) has an R&D laboratory, the largest of its kind outside USA, in Bangalore. Microsoft also has such facilities in India. However, the utilization of R&D for India‟s own companies has been unfortunate due to inadequacy of funds for research work. This states that if R&D infrastructure is built progressively, the intelligentsia of India can become a Brand in enhancing the innovation power of corporations worldwide.

India, with a current growth rate of 7.5 % promises greater economic development in the coming years. The dream of India 2020 is not unrealistic any longer. According to, the ranking of India re-emphasizes the fact that Indian economic development is on an upswing.