Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Diamond Jubilee to Cherish


As Independent India turns a scintillating sixty, it’s younger like never before…
There’sABHIMANYU GHOSH CEO, Planman Media a new watchword in global circles, as mystifying as it is alluring, as contemporary as it is unpretentious, as powerful as it is uniquely endowed, making its presence felt across the realms of business, the knowledge economy, sport, culture, art and entertainment with consummate ease in recent times. It’s long since decided to break free from the shackles of stereotypical inertia that bound it, and today showcases a blend of spirit, expertise, dynamism and potential rivalled with the best in the world. More significantly, it represents the planet’s most rapidly developing free enterprise democratic nation and depicts tales of a land where individuals venture to dream and make a difference. You got it… Brand India!

So, as we stand on the threshold of our country’s 60th Independence Day, I believe it’s apt to revisit the very definition of this glorious brand as it dazzles in the context of the presentday international socioeconomic milieu. The quest, while in equal measure fascinating and intricate, unravels a few elements that strike home on first thought: Brand India, unlike the vast majority of its counterparts, is still a smorgasbord of multiplicity – distinctly varying territories, languages, castes, religions and demographic realities lie enmeshed seamlessly – and astonishingly, a fact that has, and in all likelihood will, continue to remain unchanged no matter how further we progress from the laudable sustenance of 8% growth rate over the last few years, the burgeoning of our foreign exchange reserves or the heights of the stock market we currently revel in! Ask the Kelloggs and LGs of the world for their initial taste of the Indian consumer, and you’ll find soon enough how marketers have had to customise, improvise and then some more, in order to succeed in this assorted (pun unintended!) ambience. And that brings me to my next inference: the highly advanced brand that India has transformed into since the days of yore. Outsourcing is ‘in’, and though it might be hailed as the Mecca of ITITeS, the trinity of R&D, export and manufacturing – particularly in the pharmaceutical and auto-component sectors – is gaining ground as a formidable industry driver in its own right. A far cry from the age when the country was tagged solely with the moniker of agrarian living.

Let’s now draw an interesting parallel between what we’re witnessing as we speak and the direct connect with an aspect of Brand India that’s caught the fancy of companies and audiences alike. I’ve said it before, but the saga of Indian Retail is one that unfailingly crops to the surface time and again, and the frequency with which mall and multiplex culture is proliferating not just in urban India, but across the periphery of smaller townships and satellite cities only goes to prove that Brand India today comprises of an engaging sub-domain of economic prosperity that one could ill-afford to ignore. Places like Gurgaon, Morbi, Thane, Tiruchirapalli, Noida, Navi Mumbai today exude an identity and appeal that is all their own, having evolved into centres of industrial excellence. Finally, and most fundamentally, I feel the soul of our nation today exemplifies one that has mastered the art of adaptation and change, a land in a state of perennial, positive flux whose populace is not just looking within for opportunity and growth, but in search of newer horizons to conquer. I’ll cite a business analogy increasingly manifesting itself of late: with companies like Bharat Forge, Ranbaxy, Dr. Reddy’s, Tata Steel, Mahindra & Mahindra to name a few, acquiring companies overseas and India Inc. on course for a veritable shopping spree with morethan 300 takeovers since the turn of the millennium, it’s not just FDI inflow that India is drawing attention for, but the outflow as well that’s not escaping notice (Assocham anticipates India’s outward investment to surpass FDI inward this year!)

So there… the essence of Brand India, in all its splendour. The obstacles on the path of superpowerdom remain though: poverty, health, education and infrastructure are issues pleading redress. And while we revel in the glory of a monumental August this fortnight, let’s pledge to strive toward a fair, free and equitable India for all. Jai Hind!

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2008

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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