The fourth annual 'BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Indian Brands' rankings study by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown has just been released. According to the report, India's most valuable brands have increased their brand value by 21 per cent to $109.3 billion in the last year. This compares with a 2 per cent decline in 2016, and is well ahead of the 8 per cent value increase of the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2017.
HDFC bank stands firmly at No.1 for the fourth consecutive year with a brand value of $18 billion following a 24 per cent growth over the last one year.
Key highlights mentioned in the study:
The automobile category, which also includes tyres, lubricants and motor fuels, grew 23 per cent in value. Brands responded to the changing market with new models that combined smart pricing and functionality with style and power. Royal Enfield, Maruti Suzuki and TVS were among the top 10 overall fastest risers. Royal Enfield (no.40, 59 per cent) engaged with biker groups on social media, and marketed a range of accessories. Maruti Suzuki (no.7, 56 per cent) extended the brand beyond its traditional appeal to the value segment of the market, while introducing new showrooms called NEXA to reach premium customers.
The India Top 50 have faced successive disruptions in the last year, some global, some created by fast-growing competitors and others strategically imposed by the government - including demonetization.
The FMCG category, which includes alcohol, food and dairy, personal care and soft drinks, was significantly affected by these challenges but still managed to grow 6 per cent in total value. Some brands achieved impressive value increases by accurately understanding and responding to Indian sensibilities. Noodle brand Maggi (no.32; 66 per cent), the overall second-fastest riser, aligned itself with the trend for nostalgia. This helped it bounce back after a difficult couple of years; its rapid regrowth demonstrating how a strong brand can help a company weather a crisis and recover faster, although it is still some way below its peak brand value of $1.1bn in 2014. Health food brand Saffola (no.36; 24 per cent), meanwhile, introduced oats in new localised flavours and expanded its range of oils into a new super premium sub-segment.
The financial services category increased its value by 26 per cent. The fastest rising banks were Punjab National Bank (no.39; 43 per cent), which is highly customer-focused and more agile than some of its competitors, and Kotak Mahindra Bank (no.6; 36 per cent), which has innovated in areas including digital banking. Both of these brands still have significant catching up to do, however, if they are to reach the top of the leader board.
Other trends highlighted in this year's BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Indian Brands include:
. There were seven newcomers to the ranking. Telecom provider Jio ranks at no.11 only months after its launch, having disrupted its category with free-data promotions. The others are newly listed retailer D-Mart (no.24), appliance brand Whirlpool (no.45), insurance brand Bajaj Allianz (no.49), Canara Bank (no.50) and entertainment brands Sun Direct (no.27) and Dish TV (no.47)
. The long-term growth curve of the Top 50 is positive, with the total brand value of the ranking up 57 per cent since the study was first carried out in 2014, when it amounted to $69.6bn
. India experienced a resurgence in national pride, while also embracing globalization. This manifested in a desire for products and brands that best reflect Indian heritage, sensibilities and tastes, which benefited local brands and put pressure on multinationals to follow suit. Colgate (no 28; 2 per cent) launched a toothpaste with Ayurvedic properties to meet this demand
. The top riser is insurance brand ICICI Prudential (no.35; 89 per cent). It benefited from the 'halo effect' of other brands' successful responses to rising consumer affluence, which led to an increase in sales of assets such as cars that need insurance protection
David Roth, CEO EMEA and Asia, The Store WPP, says in a press release, "Indian consumers seek authenticity and value for money, and the meaning of those things is being constantly redefined. As consumers become wealthier, they look beyond price to factors like extra features, innovation and a personalised experience. As reflected in this year's ranking the most agile Indian brands have recognised the complexity in the market, and achieved just the right balance between aspirational and affordable."
Vishikh Talwar, managing director, Kantar Millward Brown, South Asia, says in a press release, "There are now 'multiple Indias'. Consumers continue to love the brands they've loved for generations, while equally embracing the brands of the future. Brands must be completely in rhythm with the pulse of the market. Those that can accurately interpret Indian sensibilities, while ensuring smart pricing, are likely to be most successful. This is easier for local brands, but people will relate just as positively to a global brand if it uses insight to understand and meet their needs, and communicate in a way that builds trust."
For the first time, this year's BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Indian Brands 2017 study incorporates new research from Y&R's BAV Group into what it takes to build powerful nation brands. According to the 2017 Best Countries report, India stands out for its history, cultural influence, distinction and reputation for entrepreneurship; especially among the world's business decision-makers. Because there is a strong relationship between how people perceive a country and how they view the brands associated with it, India's reputation has a significant impact on the global power of its brands.
Click here to view the report: