Infosys, Tata score in India

23 June 2011

NEW DELHI: Infosys, Tata Group and Google are among the companies regarded as being "thought leaders" in India, a study has found.

TLG Communications polled over 300 executives from the business, governmental, media and NGO sectors to discover which enterprises were currently perceived as "changing attitudes and behaviour".

Infosys, a consulting, information technology and outsourcing specialist headquartered in Bangalore, led the rankings overall.

The firm estimated its brand value rose from $8.2bn to $8.9bn in the last fiscal year, and has recently unveiled a new strategy, Infosys 3.0, prioritising areas including cloud computing.

"We have identified seven megatrends that our clients will have to leverage for their growth and profitability and we are developing deep expertise in them," SD Shibulal, Infosys' chief executive, said.

"These trends are digital consumers, emerging economies, sustainability, new commerce, healthcare, smarter organisations and pervasive computing."

Claiming second in the TLG rankings was Tata Group, a conglomerate active in categories from automotive to retail, and parent of international brands like Land Rover, Jaguar and Tetley.

This month, Tata Group leapfrogged Reliance to become India's most valuable company by market capitalisation, having introduced innovative products such as the Tata Nano, a low-cost car.

Google's Indian arm took third place, praised for streaming matches from the popular Indian Premier League cricket tournament on YouTube and building engagement by focusing on Bollywood films and music.

It has also launched search services using SMS and voice messages, alongside rolling out tools in various languages spoken across India.

"India is uniquely poised to be the biggest internet economy after China, with over 100m internet users," said Rajan Anandan, vice president at Google India.

"We're also focusing heavily on mobile. With over 40m mobile internet users, Indians are increasingly likely to come online via the mobile than the desktop."

Maruti-Suzuki, the automaker, and Larsen & Toubro, the engineering and construction group, completed the five most highly-regarded operators.

Telecoms firm Nokia, financial services titan the State Bank of India, social network Facebook, consumer goods manufacturer Hindustan Unilever and holding company Mahindra made up the top ten.

More broadly, half of the organisations featured in the top 20 can effectively be described as joint ventures, thus demonstrating the importance of not simply exporting models from overseas.

Half of the pre-eminent players in India are either privately-owned or listed locally, suggesting a strong domestic presence still assumes precedence.

Elsewhere, TLG's study noted that Microsoft, Apple and General Electric were some of the major multinationals missing from its rankings.

Equally, the "emerging Chinese corporate giants" increasingly targeting India, such as home appliances manufacturer Haier and consumer electronics counterpart Lenovo, are falling short.

Malcolm Gooderham, the founder of TLG, argued brand owners hoping to gain ground in India, and by extension other key fast-growth territories like Brazil, China and Russia, must carefully take stock.

"They need to refocus their energies on telling their leadership story," he said.

"Our research shows that thought leaders in emerging and developed markets enjoy similar benefits, principally being the most trusted and admired companies in their sector."

Data sourced from TLG, Knowledge@Wharton, AFP, Sunday Telegraph; additional content by Warc staff