India's top local brands

In-country experts weigh in on the success of local Indian brands like Tata, Patanjali and Flipkart.

Jul 23, 2018 04:04:00 AM | Article | Prasad Sangameshwaran

Campaign Asia-Pacific's Asia's Top 1000 Brands survey for 2018 research points to Tata, Patanjali, Flipkart, Amul and Reliance as the most popular local brands in India. We asked in-markets experts for their opinions on why these brands resonate, and what challengers they may face.

What’s behind these brands’ appeal to local people? What are they doing that other local brands - or brands from elsewhere - are not doing? Do you see these brands’ future as under threat from encroaching global or non-local players?

Saumitra Prasad, CMO, Kokuyo Camlin:
These brands have become strong and big because they invested heavily on their consumers, rather than those local brands which have relied only on investing in trade.

Indian brands have the edge over global brands in understanding and delivering consumer needs in India far efficiently than their global counterparts. Also, in the current context, Indians are more proud of the Indian heritage than was the case, a decade ago.

We should see the dominance of these brands in Indian market if they continue investing in their brand and respecting needs of their consumers.

Partha Sinha, MD, McCann Worldgroup India:
It is not a matter of local or global brands. It's about how a global or local brand sees the audience.

Reliance Jio is popular for the singular reason that it democratised data usage. Local brands have a great understanding of local desire that makes them big. Patanjali understood that the idea of yoga could be brought into everyday living. It did an umbrella branding for consumer goods. It is not a question of the origin. Consumers could not care less.

MNC brands have a technology advantage, but if they delay the launch in the Indian market they are not showing respect to local purchasing power is another aspect. Apple treats India as a tier B market. This plays on the consumer's mind and is the threat for the MNC brand.

Or look at the classic case of Flipkart versus Amazon. Most consumers shop for electronics on Flipkart, but for other categories it's Amazon. It's a matter of better deals and the origin does not make difference to the end consumer. If at all, the product benefit will overshadow it. 

Chandramohan Mehra, CMO, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance:
These brands have been able to deliver value on a sustainable basis. Value encompassing trust and quality. They continue to meet the proportionate price-perceived-value equation and have a powerful emotional connect.

Amongst many other things, fundamentally, they are identifying and focusing on real customer value drivers and aligning the entire value chain to deliver on promise, which is compelling and sustainable. Most importantly, some of these older brands remain relevant by deep listening, refining and experienting.

Is their future under threat? Not really. They have not only survived but also done exceedingly well despite an aggressive competition onslaught at multiple times. The threat, always, is more internal than external. As long as the brands sustain trust and deep customer connect, they will remain formidable.

Praful Akali, founder and managing director, Medulla Communications:
A lot of these brands give you a sense that the product comes first. That's a clear advantage that the local brands have over the MNCs. How these products fulfill inherent consumer needs is the secret of their success.

A common thread across these brands is the value they offer to consumers. For a large set of Indian consumers, value for money is extremely important.

The headquarters of Patanjali Ayurved 

In categories like dairy, global players have been unable to make a dent despite trying for decades. Even in categories like cheese, which is not a local food, the global brands have not been able to make a big impact. In the case of brands like Patanjali, it's the local brand that has encroached into the territory where MNCs dominated, if you consider categories like oral care.

In the minds of consumers, it's never global versus local but who gives a product, that meets customer needs.