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HDFC Bank is most valuable Indian brand for 6th year in a row: BrandZ

Brand-building for longevity and future growth have become major focus for top brands in BrandZ Top 75 Most Valuable Indian Brands ranking, released today by WPP and Kantar. This year’s results revealed a 6 per cent rise in overall brand value to $228.2 billion, a moderate pace compared to previous years, given India’s recent macroeconomic challenges. Despite that, such growth is still in line with that of the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global brands, as India steadily rises in global economic rankings. 

HDFC Bank, now ranked No. 1 for a sixth consecutive year, has demonstrated the rewards of maintaining a forward-thinking and innovative outlook, with its consistent focus on exceeding the changing needs of its customers. With new financial products, an ongoing drive towards digital banking and new branches set-up throughout the country, the bank grew 5 per cent in brand value to $22.7 billion. This is a positive contrast to the 8 per cent decline in value of the top 20 global banks. 

Notable brands include ecommerce site Flipkart (No. 12), which increased its brand value 14 per cent to $4.7 billion, while unicorn brands hotel booking site OYO ($2.0 billion), online food ordering service Swiggy ($1.6 billion) and online restaurant marketplace Zomato ($1.0 billion) are newcomers to the ranking at No. 30, No. 39 and No. 61, respectively. 

The fastest riser in the 2019 ranking is telecom provider, Jio, which climbed one place to No. 9 with a 34 per cent increase in brand value to $5.5 billion. Its disruptive business model has made internet access available to many Indians who were previously unable to afford it, thereby opening up access to digital platforms and services. Vodafone ($2.5 billion), meanwhile, was the top-ranked newcomer at No. 24. 

Both digital and offline brands such as D-Mart (No. 25, $2.4 billion) have found success as a result of the rise of ‘middle India’; the growing number of people in the country’s second, third and fourth-tier cities and towns that are changing India’s traditional urban-rural divide. These previously poorly-served segments increasingly have access to a variety of online services, with Swiggy and Zomato building much of their growth on this shift. 

BrandZ Top 10 Most Valuable Indian Brands 2019: 

Rank 2019

Brand

Category

Brand Value 2019 ($M USD)

Brand Value Change

1

HDFC Bank

Banks

22,705

+5%

2

LIC

Insurance

20,134

+2%

3

Tata Consultancy Services

Technology

18,161

+21%

4

Airtel

Telecom providers

10,286

-10%

5

State Bank of India

Banks

8,408

+7%

6

Kotak Mahindra Bank

Banks

7,637

+15%

7

Asian Paints

Paints

6,988

+14%

8

Maruti Suzuki

Automobiles

5,934

-14%

9

Jio

Telecom providers

5,472

+34%

10

ICICI Bank

Banks

5,403

+11%

The BrandZ study, which is the only brand valuation ranking to combine companies’ financial data with consumer insight and opinion, shows that trust is key to develop the stability required for long-term success; highly trusted brands in the Top 75 are worth 129 per cent more than less trusted ones. 

Trusted brands include many of the consumer-facing technology platforms and service providers. Despite owing their success to disruptive beginnings, these brands now also focus on activities to build trust such as ongoing and effective communications with consumers that generate comfort and familiarity with using the brand. With a 30 per cent increase in value, this sector was the fastest growing group of brands in the ranking. 

With an expanding choice of offerings to buy, Indian consumers increasingly care more about the quality of service than whether a brand originates in India, as long as it demonstrates that it understands what it means to be Indian. That insight is reflected in the decision by Amazon to launch itself a year ago as India’s ‘neighbourhood shop’. 

David Roth, CEO of The Store WPP EMEA and Asia and Chairman of BrandZ, said, “As India flexes its muscles on the world stage, it faces increased macroeconomic headwinds which have combined with a rise in global trade tensions to create a challenging environment. Successful Indian brands are adapting to these challenges and recognising that longevity requires them to do more than just disrupt the status quo; long-term brand building requires new strategies that major on stability.” 

Preeti Reddy, CEO - South Asia, Insights Division, Kantar, noted, “Consumer trust is a common thread among successful brands. However, it is concerning that only a few have succeeded in growing trust over the last five years. Those who done so, have done it through open and honest conversations with their customers. Brands would do well to consciously work at building consumer trust – it is the shield that gives a brand the resilience to face headwinds in uncertain times.” 

Vishikh Talwar, Chief Client Officer, Kantar Insights Division, added here, “The rise of ‘middle India’, combined with rapid growth of the mobile internet is providing unprecedented opportunities for brands. But, with an almost overwhelming choice of products and services to buy, consumers are increasingly discerning; the Indian psyche requires that brands cater for local needs with offerings that genuinely improve daily life. Today, that’s as much about providing comfort and reliability as it is about generating new experiences.” 

In general, India’s top brands are taking a long-term approach to value creation. Over the past five years, a stock portfolio containing the BrandZ India Top 75 Most Valuable Indian Brands would have increased 33.8 per cent in value. This compares to a rise of just 12.4 per cent for India’s Sensex, an index of 30 stocks on the Bombay Stock Exchange, demonstrating that valuable brands generate superior shareholder value. 

Key trends highlighted in the BrandZ Indian Top 75 study include: 

  • Mobile internet access:Smartphone user numbers in India increased by 18% in 2018 (the fastest rate of growth in the world), mainly due to a combination of Jio’s own low tariffs and the renewed competition causing other telecom providers to reduce their rates. 
  • Buying power:Retail is the second fastest growing category, with online and offline both growing strongly. New entrant Reliance Retail (No. 55, $1.1 billion) opened nearly 500 new stores and used Jio’s service to connect retail shops with grocery deliveries, while D-Mart ($2.4 billion) focused predominantly on offline, rising two places to No. 25. 
  • The Amazon effect:Amazon and Flipkart compete with many Indian brands across several sectors, with Amazon also opening its largest campus yet in India. This has increased competition and driven brands to step up their operations to ensure they are meeting customers’ needs. 
  • A confident country: The success of unicorn brands such as Swiggy, Zomato and OYO is fostering a new-found confidence in India. This is augmented with the increasingly global outlook of these new brands as they actively seek to expand their operations outside India.
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