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BRAND INDIA: Cultural Rankings

Trust and Daring form  powerful brand tension


Together, attributes produce engaging brands


by Anna Blender

Senior Vice President

Lauren Hayden and Wendy Wang

Senior Brand Analysts

BAV Group


BAV Consulting created a research tool—Cultural Rankings—to capture a snapshot of the mindset of the consumers and their markets across categories. The Culture Rankings measure six BAV attributes: Trust, Socially Responsible, Value, Pricing Power, Quality, and Innovation. The importance of the attributes varies in relevance depending on the context—the time and region being studied. The results yield insights into otherwise inexplicable cultural factors underlying the success and failure of brands.


Applying Cultural Rankings to India today reveals a new and useful insight. Brands seen as trustworthy are the ones consumers are likely to prefer. Consumers expect their brands to deliver on promises backed by a strong track record of dependability and reliability. In addition to Trust, a fascinating component driving brand strength is Daring. Daring is nearly 70 percent correlated to Brand Esteem and Relevance, important determinants of brand preference.


While these two brand characteristics—Trust and Daring— might seem contradictory, they create a powerful brand tension that pairs excitement with dependability, and makes brands truly engaging. These important drivers of brands in India are also reflected how the outside world views India, as an exciting and fast-moving market leaning into its powerful heritage.


In the 2017 Best Countries study, developed by BAV in partnership with US News and Wharton business school, India is rated No. 5 globally in Heritage, which relates to history and culture, and it ranks in the Top 3 in Movers, which indicates that people outside of India recognize the country as dynamic and influential.


Business decision makers view India as innovative and entrepreneurial, demonstrating the impact of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a New India. Brands in India are building on this momentum of change and newness. In fact, the most trusted Indian brands today are over 10 percent more Daring than 10 years ago.


The tension between Trust and Daring creates an attention-grabbing, yet dependable, brand personality that propels interest and engagement. Brands exhibiting this personality are especially compelling for a new generation of Indian consumers looking for progress and new opportunities. And these brands might also help energize the image of Brand India to the outside world—both to the public and business leaders.