Cerebral Shangrila

Friday, June 10, 2005

Brands that are "So Indian"

I have never found out the root of this fallacy. But for a long time (until during my college life) , I thought that these brands were Indian. I had grown up with them , lived with them and they were so inherently part of my life that I presumed they were Indian.

1. Hindustan Lever Ltd : Their brands are there everywhere . For as long as we knew we had used Hamam ( Earlier a TOMCO product later HLL bought it) , Rin,Surf,Bru ( Plus add a lot more...) .Btw, Unilever set up its first Indian subsidiary in 1931 and HLL was formed by merger of 3 subsidiaries in 1956.

2. Bata : Shoes meant Bata . Period. The fact that Bata started in Czechslovakia almost a century ago was news to me :-)

3. HMV : My world of Rafi,Kishore,Mukesh,Lata,Asha centered on my huge collection of HMV Cassettes. In fact , I thought HMV stood for " Hindustan Music Video" until I discovered the EMI Connection and " His Master's Voice" . Though the Indian subsidiary was later bought over by RPG group (in 1985) , the golden age of Hindi film music (50's to 70's ) was courtesy it beng EMI,UK subsidiary.

4. Colgate : I have been a staunch loyalist and should qualify for some air miles awards or something :-) Colgate India was incorporated in 1937 .

All these firms were early entrants to India , localized themselves very well , respected the indian consumer and gave them what they wanted and contributed to the society. So its no surprise that they consistently figure in the Annual top 10 Indian brands .

So, is there a lesson here for all those foreign firms wanting to enter India ?


  • All the brands you mentioned are household names in India.!

    I didn't know about a few of them until I came to the United states.

    Thanks for the Stats on the years.!
    Unilever came in 1931.!! Amazing indeed.!

    Hamam - Household name..! very well respected even these days. Doctor's recommend Hamam.!!
    How about Lifebuoy soap! HLL I think.!. And also SURF Washing Powder.!

    By Blogger Narayanan Venkitu, at 3:10 PM  

  • yea, very true. I too had thot that all these were "True Indian" brands until a few years back.

    BTW, Chk out my site for a few facts on F1.

    By Blogger PVS, at 3:14 PM  

  • I didn't know Hindustan Lever wasn't Indian until now!!

    By Blogger Dinesh, at 6:31 PM  

  • I agree with dinesh, I didn't know that HLL was not Indian until now.

    And Bata & Colgate I think, 70% of Indians probably think that it is Indian. I looked them up only when I came to Singapore in 2000 and was stunned to see 'Indian' companies with so much exposure in Singapore markets. :-p

    By Blogger Aye Kay, at 6:58 PM  

  • Many of HLL's products are so localised that they had ceased to be looked upon as foreign stuff...the Sunlight washing powder was too theirs I suppose..but as cogito said, brands are there everywhere..BTW, U had just been tagged Cogito. Visit my blog and do the needfull..thanx in advance.

    By Blogger Krish, at 8:50 PM  

  • hey arun....you have been book tagged

    check my site


    By Blogger kaatss, at 5:22 AM  

  • Due to spread of information thru net, atleast the young generation are aware of the new foreign companies entering the market.

    If the new entrants are to convince even the layman, about their Desi look, it will take years for them...... It is not an easy task nowadays, due to various levels of politics

    By Blogger Ram C, at 12:44 AM  

  • venkitu, Yeah Lifebuoy is from HLL too -- Tandrusthi Ka Saboon !

    PVS, Checked out your F1 post. Thanks for the info.

    Dinesh,AK -- Yeah it was a similar "awakening" for me too !

    Krish , Kaats -- Thanks for the tagging. Have done the honours ..

    Ram.c -- yeah there is lot more info availability at the urban level. However, these brands have created a great brand equity at the rural areas too thanks to their localization and deep network.

    By Blogger Cogito, at 10:28 AM  

  • came here thru the blogmela - very interesting post - I had done a paper once for my PG degree on how foreign brands need to think locally - those which do not adapt to local beliefs and values get thrown out of the market - Kelloggs is a good example.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:21 PM  

  • Charu, Thanks for dropping by. Yeah, Kelloggs is a clear failure to localize.

    By Blogger Cogito, at 1:22 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home