Ashwini Gangal

HDFC Bank tops Millward Brown's list of India's most valuable brands

Commissioned by WPP, the study puts HDFC Bank's brand value at $9.4bn.

Millward Brown, research agency from the WPP stable, has released a study titled BrandZ. It is a detailed compilation of the 'Top 50 Most Valuable Indian Brands'. The research team gave the media a peek into the results at a roundtable conference held in Mumbai yesterday; Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP Group, David Roth, CEO, The Store, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and Asia, WPP, and Prasun Basu, managing director, South Asia, Millward Brown, addressed the media.

HDFC Bank tops Millward Brown's list of India's most valuable brands
HDFC Bank tops Millward Brown's list of India's most valuable brands
HDFC Bank tops Millward Brown's list of India's most valuable brands
As per the study, HDFC Bank is India's most valuable brand, with a value of $9.4bn. The No.2 brand is Airtel, while India's largest commercial bank, State Bank of India, is ranked No.3.

All 50 brands that have been ranked belong to 13 different categories. Of these 50 brands, 17 are multi-national corporations (MNCs), 26 are private Indian brands and seven are state-owned brands. The combined brand value of all the brands ranked by the team is almost $70bn.

The top five brands in the list account for 45 per cent of the total value of all the brands featured, indicating that just like in other fast growing economies, in India too, it's a handful of mega players that dominate the scene.

Interestingly, service brands such as those from the banking, telecom and insurance segments have fared well in this ranking; seven of the top 10 brands, and 30 per cent of the top 50 brands, belong to this sector.

As far as financial services go, the 12 banks and insurers that made it to the list hold 37 per cent of the total brand value.

Private sector players and MNCs, together, contribute around 85 per cent of total brand value.

The research team observes that consumer technology is a category that's "waiting to happen". Currently no home-grown consumer technology brands are in the top 50, but this category, they insist, is "on the verge of emergence."

Another observation the team makes is the importance of "indianising" products and services. Brands that support this point, according to team, include Maggi (No.18), Colgate (No.28) and Horlicks (No.20). In fact, most consumers perceive these brands as indigenous.

The study combined financial data sourced from Bloomberg and Kantar Worldpanel with consumer opinions gathered for over 500 brands in 37 categories. The methodology included in-depth consumer interviews.

The eligibility criteria required the brands to be publicly traded in India, to have reported positive earnings, and to have operations in a consumer facing category (not B2B). Moreover, in the case of banks, the criteria stated that at least 25 percent of the company's revenue must come from the retail business.

Millward Brown's Basu says in a press note on the study, "The stronger the relationship a brand can build with consumers in its category, and the more it can leverage that to build scale, the more sustainable and profitable it becomes. All of the 'Top 50' brands are reputable, successful engines of growth for the future of India. Any global manufacturer that takes the effort to understand the diversity of the Indian consumer's needs, tastes and aspirations, and which can build a proposition that is both meaningful and appropriately differentiated, will succeed in building a strong brand."

WPP's Roth adds, "With the second highest number of social networking users in the world, and the third highest number of users of mobile devices, developing an e-commerce strategy that focuses on social and mobile platforms is essential for brands in this region."

For the record, this study is part of the agency's suite of BrandZ rankings which also includes the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands, the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands, and the BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Latin American Brands.

A brief presentation on the study: