Brand Ownership

Most Top 50 brands are private, although ownership type varies

The BrandZ™ Top 50 Most Valuable Indian Brands are predominately private, reflecting a complicated and distinctively Indian brand ownership structure.

In all BRICs, including India, high value brands are either SOEs (State Owned Enterprises) or they’re private. In India, however, private ownership includes at least two, and possibly three, variations.

Independent entrepreneurial brands drive about half the value of Indian privately owned brands. Family conglomerates, an Indian phenomenon, drive the other half of the value of private brands.

In addition, MNCs (Multinational Corporations), essentially private organizations, drive significant brand value. Although MNCs, by definition, are present worldwide, they have an unusual presence in India, where many of their brands are considered local.

Private brands –entrepreneurs, Indian family conglomerates, and MNCs – comprise 84 percent of total brand value and 86 percent of the brands in the BrandZ™ India Top 50. SOEs make up 16 percent of the value and 14 percent of the brands.

In contrast, ownership of the China Top 50 is 45 percent SOE and 55 percent private. Ownership in Brazil is overwhelmingly private (94 percent), but the Brazilian private sector is monolithic compared with India’s. Several differentiating factors drive India’s more complicated ownership structure:

Democracy and free-market economy

State ownership doesn’t fit India’s democratic ethos. In the early 1990s, India loosened its centrally controlled economy, enabling private brands to emerge, especially in banking and telecoms. Trading history

European powers arrived during the Age of Exploration. MNCs came to India early with brands they deeply embedded in India as local brands. Nestlé set up a factory in 1912. Hindustan Unilever formed in 1933.

Dynastic rule

Prior to the period of British rule, a series of dynasties governed India. Many large Indian families adapted that model of governance for commerce, establishing family master brands that cross many categories.

Implications for brands

India is a competitive market. The high percentage of brands owned either by Indian family conglomerates or MNCs means that marketing sophistication is high. The success of both the Indian family conglomerates and the MNCs provide valuable lessons for achieving success in ways that defy usual assumptions.

Although conglomerates too often don’t achieve expected efficiencies and synergies, the Indian family conglomerates created strong master brands that confer trust across categories while accruing marketing efficiencies. The MNCs successfully introduced existing brands, “Indianizing” them so that consumers presume that the brands originated in India.

Nestlé established a new category in India when it introduced Maggi instant noodles, in 1982. Horlicks, a chocolate malt drink began in 1873, in Chicago, and became a household name in the UK before it’s Indian market entry, in 1930. Indian consumers consider both of these market-leading brands Indian.

India is rich in private brands, particularly in FMCG categories, because both the Indian family conglomerates and the MNCs have scale across diverse businesses, reach deep into the Indian market, and implement effective brandbuilding strategies.

FMCG brands lead brand contribution ranking...

The brand contribution leaders have long heritage in India.


...The India Top 5 score well in brand contribution...

The BrandZ™ Top 5 score better in brand contribution than the India Top 50 overall.

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