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India’s Top Brands Grow 21% In Value In One Year

As customer affluence grows, India’s top brands increase in brand value. According to the latest BrandZ rankings, the financial sector is leading with 26 per cent, followed by the automobile sector’s growth of 23 per cent. The growth, as the report suggests, is driven by brands’ rapid response to rising consumer optimism, by constantly evolving to meet people’s needs as their financial circumstances, preferences and expectations change. HDFC Bank retains its top position, while Jio enters the ranking at 11th position

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HDFC Bank tops the rankings in BrandZ’s Top 50 Most Valuable Indian Brands 2017 for the fourth time with its almost doubled brand value since the ranking started in 2014 from $9.4 billion to $18 billion. Closely following it are Airtel, State Bank of India, Asian Paints, and ICICI Bank, in the next four positions. As per BrandZ’s report, HDFC’s lead comes on the back of its strong purpose — improving lives by bringing in world class financial services to all sections of India — which the brand demonstrated well through increased access to banking in rural areas.

The BrandZ ranking and report by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown highlight the success that many Indian companies have had in 2017 with their brands.

Overall, in the last one year, India’s most valuable brands recorded a 21 per cent surge in value to $109.3 billion. It’s a significant rise compared to the 8 per cent value increase in BrandZ’s 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2017.

Rise In Consumer Affluence & National Pride

BrandZ data indicates a positive long-term growth curve for the top 50 brands in India; the total brand value of the ranking today is up 57 per cent from $69.6 billion in 2014.

Reliance’s Jio, which was launched in 2016, is one of the seven newcomers on the list that took the number 11 spot after disrupting the telecommunications sector in the country with free data promotions. The other newcomers are newly listed retailer D-Mart (no. 24), appliance brand Whirlpool (no. 45), insurance brand Bajaj Allianz (no. 49), Canara Bank (no.50) and entertainment brands Sun Direct (no. 27) and Dish TV (no. 47).

The top riser on the list is insurance brand ICICI Prudential (no. 35; 89 per cent), which benefited from the ‘halo effect’ of other brands’ successful responses to rising consumer affluence and an increase in sales of assets such as cars that need insurance protection.

The latest ranking by BrandZ also highlights the resurgence of national pride in India that led to a desire for products and brands that best reflect Indian heritage, sensibilities and tastes. This trend benefited local brands and put pressure on multinationals to follow suit. Colgate (no. 28) launched a toothpaste with ayurvedic properties to meet this demand.

David Roth, CEO EMEA & Asia, The Store WPP, says, “Indian consumers seek authenticity and value for money, and the meaning of those things is being constantly redefined. As consumers become wealthier, they look beyond price to factors such as extra features, innovation and a personalised experience. As reflected in this year’s ranking, the most agile Indian brands have recognised the complexity in the market, and achieved just the right balance between aspirational and affordable.”

Customer Engagement

BrandZ study shows that connecting with Indian consumers while having a smart price on products was one of the growth drivers for brands in the ranking. In automobiles, which grew 23 per cent in value, Royal Enfield, Maruti Suzuki and TVS are among the top 10 overall fastest risers. Royal Enfield’s (no. 40) engagement with biker groups on social media, and marketing a range of accessories helped. Maruti Suzuki (no. 7) extended the brand beyond its traditional appeal to the value segment of the market, and introduced new showrooms called NEXA to reach premium customers.

The FMCG category, while significantly affected by demonetisation, still managed to grow 6 per cent in total value. Nestle’s Maggi is the overall second-fastest riser in the ranking; the brand took the nostalgia path, which helped it to bounce back after the 2015 ban, although it is still not close to its peak brand value of $1.1 billion in 2014. Saffola (no.36), meanwhile, introduced oats in new localised flavours and expanded its range of oils into a new super premium sub-segment.

The financial services category rose 26 per cent and Punjab National Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank were among the fastest risers. Punjab National Bank (no.39) owes its growth to being highly customer-focused and agile, while Kotak Mahindra Bank’s (no.6) rise in value can be attributed to innovation in areas such as digital banking. That said, BrandZ’s data shows that both brands still have significant catching up to do to reach the top of the chart.

Vishikh Talwar, Managing Director, Kantar Millward Brown, South Asia, says, “There are now ‘multiple Indias’. Consumers continue to love the brands they have for generations, while equally embracing the brands of the future. Brands must be completely in rhythm with the pulse of the market. Those that can accurately interpret Indian sensibilities, while ensuring smart pricing, are likely to be most successful. This is easier for local brands, but people will relate just as positively to a global brand if it uses insight to understand and meet their needs, and communicate in a way that builds trust.”