Did you know that India comes second in the list of countries with the most number of brands? The relevance of branding to Indians can be gauged from the fact that even small-time advertisers today eat, drink and sleep brands. But the flip side is that Indian brands don't quite stack up in terms of value with their counterparts abroad.
The Top Ten valuable brands for 2004, for instance, consisted of eight American brands (Coca-Cola, Microsoft, IBM, GE, Intel, Disney, McDonald's and Marlboro) one Finnish brand (Nokia) and a Japanese brand (Toyota). India figured no where on the list.
While local brands are not short of potential, analysts say, Indian brands have much catching up to do before they can figure on the global list of most valuable brands.
Traditionally, advertising agencies have been custodians of brands. They still are. But increasingly the branding space is seeing the entry of specialists. One such company is the Aliagroup.
The company's flagship branding division DMA was in the news lately for winning the best retail packaging trophy for HLL's Ayush at the Design Excellence Awards 2004. These awards have been instituted by the ABP Group's Businessworld magazine.
Couple of other high-profile projects executed by DMA in the recent past include the rejuvenation of Dabur (Celebrate Life) and the creation of the mascot Sunny for ITC's Sunfeast Biscuits.
Apart from DMA, the company has three other divisions - Maximus (retail branding), ARC (place branding) and CBO (e-branding). An allied firm, Alia functions as the "backoffice" providing digital and technical support to the company's various departments, while Geodsx, is a joint venture with JDK (Jager Di Paola Kemp Design) in the US.
Maximus, informs Sanjeev Malhotra, director, Aliagroup, has just signed on a retail client, while ARC along with Mumbai-based architectural firm Ratan J Batliboi has bagged the beautification and branding assignment of Marine Drive in the city.
The project was acquired about a month ago and will take two years to complete, he says. "Well, there are so many stakeholders involved," he says. Branding is not the issue. It is implementation that will take time."
The 109-member-strong company is currently based in Mumbai. The company is looking to expand operations in Delhi and Bangalore. Its global associates include JDK in the US and FutureBrand and Design Motive in the UK.
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