Every year, leading valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance values the brands of thousands of the world’s biggest companies. A brand’s strength is assessed (based on factors such as marketing investment, familiarity, preference, sustainability and margins) to determine what proportion of a business’s revenue is contributed by the brand. This proportion is projected into perpetuity and discounted to determine the brand’s value. India’s 100 most valuable brands are featured in the Brand Finance India 100.
Strong brand value growth characterises the 2017 Brand Finance India 100. The total value of India’s top brands has increased 15% this year, ahead of the global average of 11%. 68 of India’s 100 most valuable brands have grown in value this year, with 54 of those enjoying double-digit year-to-year percentage growth. There are however some notable exceptions, including India’s most valuable brand, Tata, which fell to US$13.1 billion from last year’s US$13.7 billion.
There has already been intense speculation as to whether brand value has fallen due to Tata’s board room drama. In Brand Finance’s view this is emphatically not the case. Tata’s Brand Strength Index score in fact improved significantly this year and its brand rating was upgraded from A+ to AA+. Corrective action has been taken quickly and the stakeholders at large have not been significantly affected.
Brand Finance’s CEO David Haigh comments, “The brand value drop of 4% is clearly not positive, however it is a lesser decline than between 2015 and 2016, when brand value fell 11%. Tata is present in a number of industries in which operating conditions are very challenging for all participants. In this context the slight decline can be seen as a stabilization in challenging times. As Tata’s new chairman, Natarajan Chandrasekaran, settles in and attempts to streamline the conglomerate’s activities, we expect Tata to return to brand value growth soon.”
IT services brands continue to be one of India’s great success stories, dominating not just the national rankings but the international rankings of their sector too. All of India’s major IT services brands have grown in value this year, including TCS within the overall Tata portfolio. Even as other Indian brands perform strongly, IT services brands are managing to improve their national ranks. Infosys is up from 5th to 4th, HCL from 10th to 9th and Wipro from 12th to 11th.
The biggest improvement in rankings however comes from Indigo Airlines which is up from 95th last year to 62nd now. India’s biggest airline recently announced the addition of 35 new routes and increasing frequency on existing ones.
At the opposite end of the scale, the iconic Taj Hotels brand has fallen 14 places to 93rd with brand value dropping below US$300 million. Like so many other hotel brands it has been hit by the impact of technology, with aggregator sites creating pricing pressure and Airbnb introducing competition.
This year’s fastest falling brand is Micromax. The tech firm has lost 39% of its brand value and nearly fallen out of the top 100, placing 95th. Micromax is struggling to compete following the influx of strong Chinese mobile brands such as Oppo and Vivo into the Indian market in the last couple of years.
ITC is India’s most powerful brand. It is India’s only AAA rated brand, with a Brand Strength Index score of 86. ITC has been expanding its strategic presence, beyond tobacco, for over a decade. In the last four to five years it has become a formidable competitor in the food and beverage, personal care, apparel and stationery sectors, challenging incumbents that have dominated those industries for over a century. This broad spectrum of excellence is making ITC a household name across India and contributing to the brand’s strength.
Mahindra, a stalwart of Indian enterprise has re-entered the top ten this year, after posting healthy growth in its flagship automotive division and strengthening its presence in SAARC countries. Mahindra’s agricultural division and its tractors business are well-established strengths while more recent initiatives such as crop-care solutions, seed distribution and power solutions through Mahindra Powerol are poised to accelerate growth. This year brand value is up 21% to US$3.6 billion.