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India 2015: OVERVIEW | Welcome

by David Roth

The Indian respect for the past makes progress slower, but more sustainable

Brand success requires fresh insights into a distinctive market 
This second annual BrandZTM Top 50 Most Valuable Indian Brands report has set a record. It increased an impressive 33 percent in value, a rate that exceeds the growth of the Global Top 100 for every year since the launch of the Global BrandZTM rankings a decade ago.

India’s strong economy – 7.5 percent GDP growth expected this year – helped drive brand value appreciation, of course. But if brand value depended on economic push alone all brands would benefit, and roughly equally. But that’s not the case.

Most categories in the BrandZTM India Top 50 improved significantly in brand value, but some did not. And seven brands that actually increased over 20 percent in brand value dropped down in the ranking. They grew fast, but not fast enough.

This growth imperative, and the many other important insights and take aways in this report, lead me to the following three key conclusions, which I believe are critical for all brands that intend to successfully compete in India.

I start with this basic point: No matter what market you’re doing business in, and regardless of how fast it’s growing, success relative to the competition comes down to brand. Successful brands in the India Top 50 understand Indian consumers and their rapidly expanding needs and desires. 

These brands have segmented their product portfolios, adding premium and other offerings, and they’ve used media, particularly mobile, in innovative ways. And I’m not speaking only of brands with Indian ownership. In fact, 30 percent of brands in the BrandZTM India Top 50 are owned by multinationals. These corporations, which are publicly traded in India, have so thoroughly understood the Indian consumer the brands are considered Indian in the consumer’s mind.

Second, Indians today feel empowered. This empowerment is related to optimism inspired in part by the current Indian political leadership and its visionary promises. But it’s deeper. Indians feel proud and confident in the future. According to The Futures Company Global MONITOR, 78 percent of Indians say it’s important to demonstrate pride in India.

This empowerment permeates the society and is the energy that brands need to link with to succeed. That requires brands to not simply tap into the energy, but to connect with it in constructive ways that help Indians build a more prosperous and equitable India.

Third, the prospect of building brands in the fast growing Indian market is exciting, but it’s also challenging because India is different in many ways from other country markets. It will not do to only apply lessons learned from other country markets. If you rely solely on the winning strategies and tactics from your last battle, you’ll likely lose.

Rather, it’s important to understand India in depth, as a young modern state, not yet 70 years old, built on the culture and traditions of a 5,000-year- old civilization. India is a place where consumers feel pulled in two directions – to the past and to the future – often at the same time. To succeed in India, brands need to “get” this phenomenon in all its nuances.

This report is a primer in understanding the opportunities and challenges for brand building in India. It examines the BrandZTM India Top 50 ranking results, explores the many opportunities that brands face in India, and analyzes the cultural distinctions and contradictions that need to be understood in order to build sustainable brand value in a market that’s this complicated and growing with such speed.


Brand experts from 14 WPP companies in India contributed to this report with insights and thought leadership essays that provide deeper strategic understanding and tactical advice for implementation.

Our experts are specialists in advertising; insight; branding and identity; direct, digital, promotion
and relationship marketing; media investment management and data investment management; and public relations and public affairs. We are especially focused on new global markets and new media, the application of Big Data and the coordination all our resources for the benefit of our clients, something we call “horizontality.” Collectively we bring global knowledge based on our WPP presence in 112 countries.

By linking all this talent, creativity, and wisdom we amplify global trends and insights that help our clients in useful and unique ways. We invite you to access our unrivaled BrandTM resource library. It’s titles include: the BrandZTM Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2015, the BrandZTM Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands 2015; the BrandZTM Top 50 Most Valuable Indonesian Brands 2015; and the BrandZTM Top 50 Most Valuable Latin American Brands 2014. To download these and other BrandZTM reports, please visit www.brandz.com. For the interactive BrandZTM mobile apps go to www.brandz.com/mobile.

The backbone of all this intelligence remains the WPP proprietary BrandZTM database, the world’s largest, customer-focused source of brand equity knowledge and insight, and the BrandZTM brand valuation methodology of Millward Brown, a WPP company. Our BrandZTM database now has more that 4.5 billion individual data points. It’s a manifestation of Big Data and, yes, it is in the cloud!

It’s our consumer focus that makes all this data not just big, but powerful. First we analyze relevant corporate financial data and strip away everything that doesn’t pertain to the branded business. Then we take a critical step that makes BrandZTM unique and definitive among brand valuation methodologies – we add unparalleled consumer research. The BrandZTM database includes in- depth quantitative consumer research with more than 3 million consumers across 50 markets to assess consumer attitudes about, and relationships with, over 100,000 brands in 400 categories.

At WPP, we’re passionate about using our creativity to establish and build strong, differentiated brands that deliver lasting shareholder value. To learn more about how to apply our experience and expertise to benefit your brand, please contact any of the WPP companies

that contributed expertise to this report. Turn to the resource section at the end of this report for summaries of each company and the contact details of key executives. Or feel free to contact me directly.


David Roth

CEO The Store WPP, EMEA 


Twitter: davidrothlondon 

Blog: www.davidroth.com