In our recent interview with Aparna Sharma, we invited her to reflect on India’s country brand and national image overseas, and how it has changed over time. From a nation branding perspective, India is an intriguing case, not least because of its diversity, breath-taking economic development and rich history.
Country Brand India
Aparna Sharma: India and Indians have undergone a paradigm shift. There have been fundamental and irreversible changes in the economy, government, policies, outlook of business and industry, and in the mindset of Indians in general.
In less than 10 decades, India has ascended the ladder of global competitiveness. India today is the hotbed of entrepreneurial activity. Wealth creators and wold beaters are visible in various sectors.
The words – Indian Multinational – have entered the lexicon. Although India was late and slow in the modernisation of its industry, it is now a frontrunner in the emerging knowledge based new economy.
From an agriculture-based economy, India has emerged as a service-oriented economy. The Indian innovative and entrepreneurial zeal is attracting foreign companies. India is especially recognised as a global R&D [research and development] hub, as pharmacy of the world, small car hub, repository, has the world’s second largest pool of doctors, engineers, and is a premier IT services provider – the list is endless.
To bring it down to a single idea: India is ready with various touch points: from nation branding to product branding. Our brand ingredients are ready but whether these are fully and universally understood is another question.
A key perception to contend with is that India is not high on manufacturing. This is a huge perception gap. India has the largest number of Deming Prize winners outside of Japan.
India’s IT campaign and the Incredible India campaign have been good independent campaigns. The Make in India campaign, which is being powered by the top leadership of the country should, however, work as the catalyst to drive convergence and give direction to India’s brand building efforts.