Kolkata, home to the country's biggest brands till about five decades ago, is re-emerging as a hub of top brands.
Half-a-century after Bengal turned into an industrial graveyard, things have started looking up again with 35 state-based brands, cutting across sectors, featuring in the country's top 1,000 in the Brand Trust Report 2014. The study was conducted by Trust Research Advisory (TRA) with parameters set by Indian Statistical Institute, Mumbai.
Winds of change
Fourteen of these home-grown brands are on the list for the first time. These include Kutchina in kitchen appliances, Rupa Frontline and Lux Cozi in knitwear, Turtle in apparel, PC Chandra and Senco Gold in jewellery, Linc Pen in stationary, Greenply in plywood, Park Hotels in hospitality, and Priya and Bisk Farm in the foods segment.
What's more, Bengal-based brands like ITC, Vivel, Khadim's, IFB, Orient Fans, Berger Paints, John Players and Haldiram’s have won spots in the top 250 that is dominated by multinational brands like Samsung, Sony, LG, Nokia, Honda, Hewlett Packard and Hyundai.
The study by TRA
Brand Trust Report, India Study, 2014 – the fourth edition – is the result of a primary research based on the proprietary 61-component Trust Matrix. This year's research was conducted among 2,500 consumer influencers across 16 cities, and generated nearly 5 million data points on 20,000 brands.
Commenting on the findings, TRA CEO N Chandramouli pointed out that Kolkata-based brands have been doing quite well nationally in the last few years. "Some brands from Bengal have an international appeal. The perspective of branding is also very good. Most of them have pan-India presence, across 40-50 cities. Some like Rupa, Lux are visible nationally in the electronic media. Apparel brand Turtle has a strong presence in men's premium category," he said.
It will be a huge boost to Brand Bengal's image. A throwback of sorts to the sixties, when home-grown brands from Bengal, like Boroline, Jabakusum, Ambassador, Sen Raleigh, Sur Refrigerator and Murphy Radio, used to dominate nationally, along with Kolkata-based multinational brands like ICI, Phillips, Dettol, Shaw Wallace and Dunlop.
A boost for Brand Bengal
Kamal N Jain, president of Association of Corporate Advisers and Executives, remarked that some home-grown brands have adopted a "proper strategy" over the last few years. "In the '80s and '90s, the problem was with mentality but now things are changing," he said.
Linc Pens MD Dipak Jalan pointed out that their products are now available in every state. "Our national commercial has created a sensation," he said. Co-founder of Turtle, Amit Ladsaria, said that their product is doing well in hypermarts like Pantaloons and Shoppers Stop.
Economist Dipankar Dasgupta, former head of ISI Delhi, calls it a "resurgence of Bengal brands", though in a small way. "Most home-grown brands are from MSME sector or may be a little bigger than that. I personally feel that MSME should be a thrust area here. It can make a difference," he said.
Newbies in the top 1000
Lux Cozi, PC
Chandra, Turtle, Santosh, Priya, GKB Opticals, Greenply, Raja, Senco
Gold, Rupa Frontline, Bisk Farm, Kutchina, Keya Seth Aromatherapy,
Brands in the top 250
ITC, Haldiram’s, Rupa, Khadim's, Vivel, IFB, Orient Fans, Berger Paints, Lux Cozi, John Players