A brand is the culmination of morals and values delivered through commercial entities. When we talk about India, the commercialisation of domestic ‘brands’ wasn’t exactly popular due to the long history of colonisation, yet we see there were few examples breaking through and creating their existence in modern-day India.
Whether it was the swadeshi movement during the Independence or the decades that followed as the country tried to find its economic footing, buying local seems to be an idea that is baked into the fabric of what it means to be a proud Indian. And now as the global pandemic threatened to derail the local economy, there is again a call to buy local. However, there are a few aspects to identifying the actual brand’s essence. And answer the vital question – is the Indian brand soul essence diminished? We have to discuss a dynamic flow of culture and reception of brand identity through Indian essence in 3 prominent aspects.
The independence struggle in India lead to instilling the notions of patriotism in commercial establishments as well and the inception of brands was systematically fuelled by nationalism. In India, brands were fused religiously, culturally and traditionally to serve the purpose of uniting communities. FMCG brands, industrial, automotive and luxury brands largely integrated Indian attributes in their marketing, promotion and distribution processes. To unite communities, several Indian brands utilised Devnagari fonts, bright cultural colour tones, household nomenclature, indigenous motif & mascot, etc. The motive was to establish a newer, modern identity for India and serve the populace with personalised attention. But in the course of transformation, it eventually attracted adverse effects.
The fervour of patriotic brand development led to the uber adornment of bright elements. Which caught the eyes of the western corporations to bring minimalism and simplistic lifestyle products; and started brainwashing consumers with big-money influence. Not just this, but with globalisation and the entrants of foreign players, it became difficult for domestic players to sustain. The post-independence hangover still had consumers with inferior emotions of themselves, which acted as a catalyst for these new foreign players to gain a major audience with their ‘simple-life’ approach. This multiplied catastrophically, went beyond hand to control and to contain Indian essence in brands. Even domestic brands transformed themselves and followed foreign footsteps.
Once the priority, health, finance and-most-importantly prestige initiated leaving Indian outfit, it became more pre-dominant to conserve our own identity, brands and eventually national respect which vehiculated the movement of accepting, acknowledging and admiring our own cultural brands, traditional practices and desi approaches. In recent years, the government has invested in felicitating our own brands with PLI schemes, the Make In India movement, Vocal For Local, etc. An ordinance demanding brands’ names depiction in regional (with default English) language on showroom/store/shop hoardings in states is one example. Elite collaborations of Indian and International brands in fashion, luxury and leisure settings emphasises Indian essence. Accentuating heritage, scientific and spiritual elements, back in brands is necessary. As India becomes the vanguard with its economic prowess, our brands should revive & catapult themselves.
More efforts of shifting toward ethnic, indigenous and ‘our’ brands are necessary and need utmost optimism, hopes and action plans. Bringing innocence, nature-caring and embellishing practices to brands will create pride for our own brands, once again. After all, brands shouldn’t reveal their Indian-ness just on festive occasions but exist as they are and where they are!