Interview

The making of an iconic Indian brand

What does it take to build an iconic brand? How can Indian companies become one?

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Published 4 years ago on Apr 14, 2017 14 minutes Read
Photographs by Soumik Kar, RA Chandroo and Vishal Koul

Editor, N Mahalakshmi: Thank you panellists for joining me here today. We chose this topic ‘Creating Indian Icons’ because India is at a stage where consumer aspirations are rising and there are a whole bunch of global companies right from Jockey to Apple, which are tapping into the potential of India. Usually, iconic companies are built on a singular theme, for example, Coke around happiness, Apple around simplicity, Ferrari around racing and passion. Each one of you represents companies that are iconic in the Indian context. Mr Hiranandani is creating communities, SBI stands for trust and reach, Mahindra stands for being tough and rugged, Amul stands for the Taste of India and Cafe Coffee Day for affordable 3rd place. We will start with Mahindra vehicles. Mr Goenka, can you give us some insights on what has gone into building an iconic brand like yours?
Pawan Goenka: One cannot set out to create an iconic brand. It happens because of the result of many actions over the years. Even if you are among the top 20 brands, it is not necessary that you are an iconic brand. So, there is a difference between a big brand versus an iconic brand and for that iconic brand I do believe there is a fulcrum that is required; what does the brand stand on? What is the primary deliverable of the brand? Now, if you talk about the Mahindra group, I think the group’s fulcrum perhaps, at that time, was trust. Customers knew that even if the product didn’t perform, the company will stand behind it and will not leave the customer high and dry. 

Niranjan Hiranandani, MD, Hiranandani groupBut as we moved forward and introspected to see what is it that the modern customer was looking for, especially, millennials, we found that we need to have a different connect with them, than perhaps what we had with the previous generation. After a lot of research, which we got done by an agency in New York, we realised that we had something in Mahindra that we had not tapped. And that was the whole philosophy of ‘Rise’ which we then attached to our name. 

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