India’s top brands

India’s top brands

A cooperative, a state-owned insurance firm that was, until a few years ago, a monopoly, and a multinational mobile phone maker are the top three brands in India, according to a new study released on Friday.

Amul, a brand owned by the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), and Nokia are the top Indian brands, according to Asia’s Top 1,000 Brands, a survey by media, advertising and marketing magazine ‘Media’, brand consultancy Asian Integrated Media Ltd and market research company Synovate.

However, there are no brands of Indian-origin in the top 100, although several brands that are available in India figure in the list. “It is because most Indian brands are not available across regions within the country and outside," said Harish Bijoor, a marketing consultant.

Amul’s strategy of using “umbrella branding" has paid off, according to R.S. Sodhi, chief general manager, GCMMF. “Our strength comes from consistency, trust and relevance of our products." Sodhi claimed that

Amul’s advertising and marketing spend has never exceeded 1% of its revenues. Most other food companies spend 6-7% of revenues on advertising and marketing, he added.

“They (GCMMF) are not big spenders compared to Britannia or Nestle. Despite a limited budget, Amul’s creatives—in the form of billboards or the Taste of India campaign—have always managed to evoke a larger-than-life brand feel, consistency and spirit of Indian culture in a contemporary way," said Shashi Sinha, executive director, FCB Ulka, GCMMF’s advertising agency.

GCMMF, which ended 2006-07 with Rs4,200 crore in revenues, launched more than two-dozen products in the past two years.

Nokia has more than a 70% share of the mobile-phone market in India, a country with around 188 million mobile telephony subscribers. “Nokia has revolutionized the way we keep in touch," said Subhash

Kamath, CEO, Bates Group, the company’s agency in India.

“Amul and LIC are heritage brands. It’s their benign equity that makes them so enduring," said Bijoor. “If you look at any list pertaining to brands, the bulk of the toppers are the lowest common denominator brands—the ones that have moved from shelves and touched lives of millions of people," he added.

The nine markets covered by the survey are: China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, India and Indonesia. Synovate interviewed people in the 15-64 years age group; sample sized varied from 500 in all markets to 750 in India and China.