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There are brand rankings, and there are brand rankings, but unfortunately, many of the ones I’ve interacted with to explore the proper route for submitting a brand name for consideration, have proved to be mercenary. Rupees 5-to-15-to-25-lakhs, and “we’ll put you in our great tome of Great… Distinguished… whatever Brands” has been told to me on the phone on my third or fourth call. But if there’s one brand rankings that I do trust, and implicitly, it’s the WPP and Kantar Millward Brown’s BrandZ™ Most Valuable Indian Brands analysis which, this year, has expanded its ambit to evaluate and rank not 50 but 75 brands in deference to the rapidly evolving Indian marketplace and the feisty new brands standing up to the rest to be seen, heard and included.
This year’s report is out, and the findings come with the kind of insights one expects from it. So here goes.
- It’s been the strongest year yet for India’s Top 50 brands, and their collective value has gone up by as much as 34%, which is bracing indeed, when you consider the large base in total value we are talking about.
- Reasons for this growth: Rising consumer confidence, the country’s return to rapid economic growth, and the consumers becoming increasingly brand-aware (and to my mind, increasingly more sensitive and strongly reactive to brand behaviour).
- India’s five-year brand value growth is stronger than BrandZ Chinese and Global rankings
- Total value of the BrandZ Top 50 Indian brands grew 110% to $146.1 billion since its launch five years ago. This compares to a rise of 76% for the BrandZ Top 50 Chinese brands and 60% for the BrandZ Global Top 50 over the same period.
- HDFC Bank has retained its No. 1 spot for the fifth consecutive year with a rise of 21% to a brand value of $21.7 billion. The bank has built a reputation for its sustainable livelihood initiative by introducing smaller loans worth as little as $175 that can be accessed via its bank branches.
- There are 30 newcomers in the expanded ranking: These include Jio, Flipkart and Paytm, which have all seen growth in brand value, as well as Ola (No.21, $2.7 billion) and travel agency MakeMyTrip (No. 68, $0.8 billion).
- Family dispersion is creating new brand opportunities: With young professionals moving to cities for work, there are openings for brands to offer new services. For example video calls are hugely popular, and have been made feasible for many people through Jio reducing the cost of data. Paytm and the advent of digital banking allow instant money transfers from family members working in the city to their relatives in rural areas. E-commerce brands are riding the boom in gifting, particularly during national festivals.
- India’s most valuable brands are outperforming the market: BrandZ’s Top 50 Portfolio has beaten India’s SENSEX stock market index. The stock portfolio of the India Top 50 increased 39.2% over five years, while the India’s SENSEX rose only 21.4%.
- Automobile and insurance brands lead the growth chart: Four of the Top 10 Risers (brands with the greatest year-on-year value increase in relative terms) are in the automobiles and insurance categories. Auto brands TVS and Maruti Suzuki rose 71% and 56% respectively, with this sector representative of the overall economic growth in India following several consecutive good harvests driving strong rural demand. Insurance brands ICICI Prudential (50%) and Bajaj Allianz (49%) led the way as the sector responds to increasing competition including a government-backed life insurance scheme.
- Financial services (banking and insurance) is the most valuable category: There are eight bank brands in the ranking worth a total of $50.4 billion, followed by insurance, where the five brands included are worth a total of $25.9 billion. Together they make up 35% of the total ranking value.
Trust is an important key driver of brand value, with its impact on corporate performance a key theme in this year’s BrandZ ranking. This is exemplified by HDFC Bank, which continued to build trust by clearly communicating the benefits of its products to consumers and delivering differentiated financial services offerings consistently and repeatedly.
BrandZ™ Top 10 Most Valuable Indian Brands 2018
|Rank 2018||Brand||Category||Brand value 2018 (US$M)||Change|
|3||Tata Consultancy Services||Technology||14,995||New entrant|
|5||State Bank of India||Banks||7,860||-6%|
|7||Kotak Mahindra Bank||Banks||6,669||+47%|
Watch the ranking countdown of BrandZ 75 Most Valuable Indian Brands
Rapidly evolving marketplace and new brands
The new 2018 ranking has grown from 50 to 75 brands to reflect the strength of India’s growing economy and a marketplace in which more local brands are emerging to present consumers with increased choice.
For the first time, the ranking also incorporates brands from key and growing sectors such as technology (IT services), technology (online); durables and home appliances, tobacco, and entertainment (TV stations). Privately owned brands, where financial information is publicly available, and unicorn brands based on their most recent valuations are also now included.*
As a result of these changes, there are seven new entries in the top 15. Insurance brand LIC comes in at No. 2 ($19.8 billion) thanks to the key role played by its pension plan business whilst Tata Consultancy Services ranked No. 3 ($15.0 billion), having leveraged digital technologies to drive growth and business transformation. Other new high-ranking brands include e-commerce retailer Flipkart (No. 11, $4.1 billion), e-comm payment wallet Paytm (No. 12, $4.1 billion) and Zee TV (No. 15, $3.8 billion).
David Roth, CEO EMEA and Asia, The Store WPP, says, “A booming economy and an increasingly digital world are re-shaping India’s brand landscape and creating new opportunities. Brands that get it right, regardless of whether they are established players or newcomers are reaping the rewards. However, there is no room for complacency in this fast-paced environment where so many ambitious companies are ready to rise to the occasion.”
Consumers seek out trusted brands – old and new
Highly trusted brands in the 2018 ranking have a value that is 86% higher than those low in trust, and the opportunities for brands to compete on this parameter have risen as greater access to online information and social media have led to increased consumer knowledge.
As such, a strong brand heritage is no longer essential for developing brand trust. New brands that proactively build and reinforce trust as an integral objective (rather than relying on it being a by-product of their main offering) can do well. For example, Flipkart gets 117 for trust in the BrandZ ranking (against a base line of 100), having transformed e-commerce so that it is perceived as a reliable channel, while the recent investment from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway into payment brand Paytm adds credibility to the relatively youthful brand, making it one of India’s most valuable startup brands.
Premiumization driven by fiscal stability, increased online access
The “premiumization” phenomenon has gained importance for Indian brands, given increased competition and the need to differentiate themselves. Higher quality premium brands have increased in appeal. As consumers in both urban and rural areas become increasingly well-informed, they are also now willing and have more money to spend on brands that demonstrate and deliver relevance.
As brands focus on purposeful innovation, the BrandZ premium index has reflected this change, with a rise from 111 to 117 over the past five years. With a 97% year-on-year increase in brand value, Tata jewelry brand Tanishq led the ranking’s Top Risers on the strength of strong demand for gold and diamonds and the brand’s ability to command a premium price.
Vishikh Talwar, Managing Director at Kantar Millward Brown, South Asia, says, “The premiumization trend is equally a reflection of the continuous progression of the Indian society over the last few decades. In this journey, consumers with an unprecedented array of options will choose the brand they instinctively trust. Trust is not the sole prerogative of heritage brands; young brands can be equally trustworthy if they have a clear purpose and deliver consumer experiences that reinforce this.”
Background and methodology
The valuation behind the BrandZ™ Top 75 Most Valuable Indian Brands was conducted by Kantar Millward Brown, which specialises in brand equity research and brand valuation. The methodology mirrors that used to calculate the annual BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking, which is now in its 13th year.
Commissioned by WPP, the ranking combines rigorously analysed financial data from Bloomberg and Kantar Worldpanel with the opinions of over 160,000 Indian consumers since 2007, gathered for over 3,438 brands in more than 77 categories. The BrandZ Top 75 Most Valuable Indian Brands is the most definitive and robust ranking of the country’s brands available, and all brands ranked meet the five eligibility criteria:
- The corporate parent is listed on a stock exchange in India. (No change from prior years.)
- The brand originated in India and its corporate parent is listed on a recognized stock exchange outside of India. (New, in prior years, the corporate parent needed to be listed on an Indian stock exchange.)
- The brand is privately owned, but its complete financial statements are publicly available. (New, in prior years only publicly traded companies were eligible.)
- Indian unicorns have their most recent valuation publicly available. (New, in prior years unicorns were not ranked.)
- All banking activities—both B2C and B2B—are now considered. (New, in prior years banks had to earn at least 25% of revenue from B2C activities
The suite of BrandZ country rankings and reports now covers 17 markets, including China, Indonesia, Latin America, Brazil and Saudi Arabia as well as Spain, the UK, France, Germany, the U.S. and Italy.