India First For Indian Brands
Indian brands should prioritize building brand awareness at home, before looking to expand internationally, thereby increasing their probability of success. Which known foreign brand has successfully gone global -with more than a symbolic international presence- without first being able to rely on its domestic market?
A whole number of brands should be able to prosper, capitalizing on the boom of the middle class in India and a more mature perception of luxury from the market, before venturing abroad.
India has a domestic market and demand that is worth millions. A larger proportion of disposable income in India is spent in luxury goods thanks to the rising number of wealthy people, a growing middle class, and affluent young consumers. It is this market that everyone else is trying to reach.
Luxury products don’t necessarily make luxury brands. Brands that will reach luxury status are even fewer and are those that will understand the challenge of finding a balance between being timeless thanks to a strong brand concept and heritage, being relevant thanks to a precise brand positioning, and being innovative going forward.
On their journey to luxury, Indian brands can rely on a wider sophisticated audience. Only a few years ago, any foreign brand coming into India from France, Italy or Spain carried connotations of luxury. There is now a wider understanding, among the entire value chain of the industry, from designers to consumers, of what key characteristics qualify companies for the luxury category: heritage, quality, artisan knowhow, and selective distribution.
In this context, a new breed of businesses is emerging with young and talented designers at their helm. They understand that managing a brand effectively and developing it towards luxury status is part of a painstakingly long process. It requires a consistent integrated strategy, innovative techniques, strong marketing (with the more obvious for clients being coherent merchandizing and product mix, differentiated advertising, impeccable service, etc.), rigorous management control, and constant auditing.
There is a major opportunity in the making and extraordinary potential for companies that master the required branding techniques and processes to capture the ever-growing market of consumers.
With the right financial support and professional guidance, brands will be able to capitalize on a more savvy value chain and on the increasing prosperity in India as well as on the potential offered by international markets.
Written by – Francois Arpels
(Founder, IndEU Capital)