The spat between Tata Sons and its former chairman Cyrus P. Mistry seems to have pushed Tata out of the top 100 brands in the world ranked by Brand Finance, a consulting firm.
According to Brand Finance’s 2017 report, the Tata group has slipped out of the top 100 for the first time since 2007, the first year for which this data is available. In 2017, it is ranked 103 compared with 82 in the previous year.
Tata, however, continues to be the most valuable brand in India ahead of Airtel, LIC, Infosys and State Bank of India, which all find a place in the global top 500. Reliance Industries, Indian Oil, HCL Technologies and Larsen & Toubro are also part of the global 500. Google was the top brand globally, followed by Apple and amazon.com.
To be sure, the Tata brand had slipped in ranking well before the feud between Tata Sons and Cyrus Mistry. In 2016, it had slipped to rank 89 from 68 the previous year. Its brand value has also been coming down for the past couple of years.
While the report on Brand Finance’s website didn’t disclose the brand value of Tata in 2017, last year the brand was valued at $13.7 billion. That was a decline from $15.4 billion in 2015.
For comparison’s sake, the top global brand in 2016 (Apple) had a brand value of $145.9 billion. The Tata brand had a peak value of $18.1 billion in 2013. It was also part of the global top 50 for at least two years—2011 and 2012.
Brand Finance calculated brand value by estimating the likely future sales that are attributable to a brand and calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for the use of the brand, i.e. what the owner would have to pay for the use of the brand—assuming it were not already owned.
The boardroom battle at Tata Sons was sparked off by a 24 October putsch of Cyrus Mistry who was removed as chairman. The feud has reached the courts with the Cyrus Mistry family filing a case at the National Company Law Tribunal, alleging mismanagement of Tata Sons and oppression of minority shareholders.
Tata Sons has used the importance of the Tata brand (which is licensed to Tata group companies) and signalled that it could pull these rights to rein in shareholders and directors in its bid to oust Mistry on various operating company boards.
Group executives acknowledge that one of the first tasks for N. Chandrasekaran, the chairman designate of Tata Sons is to restore the brand image.
In a 16 December interview with Mint, Harish Bhat, the new brand custodian of the Tata group said, “I would say this controversy perhaps has to some extent impacted the way some stakeholders look at the brand, and we will need to build on the brand and nurture it in the future, bearing that in mind.”