Marketing India

Yesterday I attended a panel discussion called "Brand India - Where Next?," as part of the four-day India@60 event. Hosted by The Confederation of Indian...

Yesterday I attended a panel discussion called "Brand India - Where Next?," as part of the four-day India@60 event. Hosted by The Confederation of Indian Industry, The NewsMarket, and Mirabilis, panelists included joint secretary and tourism minister for the Indian government, Amitabh Kant, CEO of WPP Group, Sir Martin Sorrell, and Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin.

The panel spent the bulk of their remarks breaking down the (mostly) good and the bad of modern India. Good - Definitely the booming economy, growing at a rate that's second to China. Indian demography skews young, a group that has only known the liberalized economy that was put into effect in 1991. And since those economic reforms and the introduction of satellite television, the Indian middle class have become citizens of a world that they are now watching in real-time. Vir Sanghvi, advisory editorial director of the Hindustan Times, called the whole concept of India as a brand a "middle class phenomenon."

Bad - the infrastructure. India is a collection of 27 states with 1.1 billion people, but connecting them is difficult. Sorrell described it as "chaos."

Overall, India is at a high point that only promises to go higher. Sarin stated plainly that if you don't already have an operation there, get one.

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