Three Routes to Global Relevance for Indian Brands

18 Aug,2022



By Ashoke Agarrwal


Ashoke AgarrwalIt is time for Indian brands to bid for relevance on the global stage. An extensive and high-growth domestic market can provide the ballast. Here are three ideas that can do the rest:



Leveraging India’s Soft Power: As of today, only the practice of yoga has leveraged this power. Though only as a generic brand. Is there enough juice left in the concept of yoga for an Indian consumer brand to parlay it into global prominence? Can the power of yoga go beyond the category of yoga studios and yoga mats? For example, can a fashion and personal accessories brand out of India based on the core material and design principles of yoga become a global player? Ayurveda is beginning to emerge on the world stage. While selling it as a branch of medicine worldwide is fraught with high resistance and many pitfalls, I think it has potential as a personal and health care platform. However, to go beyond appealing to a niche audience among the Indian diaspora and diehard Indophiles, a personal and health care brand based on Ayurveda will need to adapt and invest in scientific research and testing with a vengeance. L’Oreal and its sister brand Garnier won global leadership by combining the natural ingredients story with the pharmaceutical activation concept and by putting high-intensity marketing behind it. Companies like ITC and brands like Haldriram have successfully taken packaged food based on Indian cuisine to the global market. However, their success again has mainly been confined to the Indian diaspora. I believe there is excellent global scope for an Indian cuisine-based fast-food chain. The key here would be to crack the technology to deliver Indian cuisine at scale across geographies. Indian ethnic wear is the other area of potential.



Take The Leap Into Web 4.0:A lot of hype and capital has gone into the concept of Web 3.0 built around technologies like blockchains, cryptocurrencies, NFTs and metaverses. Most products and services based on the above ideas cater to the millennial mindset. However, marketers worldwide are beginning to realise that the mentality of the next generation of young – Gen Z – is very different and, in many cases, the antithesis of the Millennial mindset. Gen Z looks beyond self-fulfilment to ‘self-expansion’ – an experiencing of multiple identities by immersing oneself into the reality of various situations, communities and ways of being. In a way, the typical Gen Z will be a neo-hippie, unlike the Millennial who is a neo-yuppie. Tomorrow’s winners in the technology services and the content arena will be those that understand this mindset and cater to it. The core Indian ethos of subsuming the individual into a spiritual and community identity will appeal to this neo-hippie outlook. Combine this with India’s technology edge, and India could lead a Web 4.0 revolution to global leadership.


The ‘High-Quality Low-Cost’ Quadrant: The earlier Make in India initiative and current Production-Linked-Initiative (PLI) stimulate the B2B manufacturing sector and, to some extent, the consumer electronics sector, mainly smartphones. I believe there is excellent scope for India to attract global FMCG brands to make their products in India for the worldwide market. To attract top brands to India will need the removal of bottlenecks in the availability of quality ingredients and some reimagining of duty structures and tax incentives. The advantages of developing a ‘high-quality, low-cost’ ecosystem in India for global FMCG brands are many:

» A boost to the agriculture sector

» Mass employment prospects

» Balance of trade improvement

» Better quality products for the Indian consumer stimulate the Indian consumption economy, leading to a virtuous cycle.


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