How Indian Brands Can Look Towards Going Global
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Being a fast growing economy in the world, India somehow manages to show negligible presence in the list of top global brands. Even as Indian brands indulge in international expansion, achieving a global status seems to be at the far end of their motives as opposed to making a quick buck and exploiting marketing opportunities as an ‘international brand’.
Catering to the second most populous nation in the world, which also holds the distinction of being the most diverse in terms of different cultures, religions, languages and more, poses enough challenges for the domestic players in the market. Adding to that, if an Indian business wishes to become a global brand, incorporating world culture and international norms and quality standards along with the domestic needs, it may seem like a monumental task.
There is a growing suspicion in the west about the quality of goods and services provided by developing nations and emerging markets. While the human resource in India, in terms of labour as well as skilled professionals, especially in fields of science, is valued highly abroad, the world does not seem to hold the products and services in India with the same respect and trust.
Innovation is another area where Indian brands take a beating. While we abound in generic products producing companies, not many are ready to invest time, money and labour into conducting indigenous research & development because it needs substantial investments and gestational period. This is evident from how low India lies on the global list of new patent earning countries.
All this can be combated and Indian brands can truly make name for themselves globally by simply focussing on improving their goods, operations and organizational ability.
A good way of opening the way for more opportunities in the international market is by partnering with reputable brands in host countries. Joint ventures and strategic alliances can help in making a name for the Indian brand in the global world on account of their linking up with a well known brand.
Starbucks allied with TATA in order to open up its stores in India and many Bollywood production houses have collaborated with the likes of big international companies, Fox and Disney, to help with distribution in the global market.
This helps in the smooth functioning of operations in the international and global market, legal formalities, and instils a sense of global presence for the local brand. It can be the ideal first step in moving towards globalization for any Indian brand. It can also help Indian organizations leverage the already strong established distribution networks of the host organization.
Discipline is the pride of the Western industry. Work culture in the east is not akin to these standards and often, developing nations get a bad name for an easy-going (or lax) attitude. Market and regulatory institutions also have a role to play here.
If we want to establish brands that can provide quality of global standards, our quality and hygiene standards need to be raised both within the organizations and without on the national level.
If drugs produced by Indian companies fail to pass quality checks in Europe the US, we cannot expect them to become global brands; they can at best continue to capture market share in other developing countries in Asia and Africa.
To be a force to be reckoned with in the global world, local companies need to build a brand which can be associated with discipline, business ethics, sincerity of service and top notch professionalism. It is important to enhance quality, output and productivity up to the standards of international levels to not only become globally competitive but an all round global brand.
Think Globally, Act Locally
Any firm which wants to be involved in the global trade needs to follow the concept of ‘Think Globally, Act Locally.’ While maintaining international standards, a company also has to focus on the needs and demands of various global communities and ethnicities.
One can follow the example of the major MNCs which function in India, the way they focus on local needs, exploiting Indian tastes and preferences while maintaining the business standards and core product value of their home country.
A special consideration has to be made when working with inter-cultural groups and there is a need to understand the work environment of different nations and their exceptions to certain rules. You also have to be careful in understanding the local sentiments and cultural preferences.
Invest on R&D
You can go as far by producing generic products. Organizations which desire to make a splash globally need to have long term vision and thinking. This includes investing in Research & Development to produce indigenous products that can earn patents.
However, due to longer gestational period and need to invest significant time and money, many Indian companies shy away from going all out in this domain. This needs to change if we have to produce globally competitive brands. This is one area where Bonita has laid special emphasis.
We are working aggressively towards producing patent-earning products that can distinguish our brand at the international level. We do not see investment on R&D as a liability, we see it as a strategic investment that will bring long-term dividends.
Banking on Indian reputation
In the global map, India raises many talking points as a culturally rich and diverse nation with a unique history. It has a reputation in many fields, from spirituality and Yoga, to ayurvedic and herbal medicine, flora and mineral resources, as well as a strong hold of human intelligence resources.
This vast reputation can be exploited by brands in order to establish a foothold in the international market. Focusing on India as a pioneer of healthy alternatives in medicine, the land of Darjeeling tea, promoter of Yoga and classical Indian dance and music, even Bollywood, and home to highly capable IT professionals, can help in creating a unique global footprint.