MUMBAI: Tata, the multinational conglomerate, has been ranked the best Indian brand of 2013 by Interbrand in the first annual survey of its kind, which also placed Reliance Industries and Airtel in the top three.

The global brand consultancy said its first best India brands survey differed from other studies that focus just on consumer perception and was based on an ISO-certified brand valuation methodology that took into account several data-based factors.

Tata, with a valuation of $10.9bn, was India's most valued brand and the company's longstanding commitment to philanthropy was cited as one of its main strengths.

Reliance Industries, India's largest private sector enterprise, was valued at $6.2bn while telecoms group Airtel came third with a valuation of $6.2bn.

The other companies in the top ten were SBI, the only public sector brand in that listing, IT services company Infosys, which also has been voted as India's most admired company in a Wall Street Journal Asia survey, and HDFC Bank.

Mahindra, the manufacturer that has launched several brand-building programmes, was ranked seventh while ICICI Bank, which introduced mobile banking to India, was eighth.

The Godrej conglomerate came ninth and L&T, the diversified B-to-B company founded by two Danes in 1938, was placed tenth.

In an interview with the Economic Times, Interbrand's managing director Ashish Mishra said it was encouraging to see that a fair section of companies in the survey recognised a brand as a "versatile strategic tool" that was helping them to navigate current economic conditions.

He said: "Strategic branding is being deployed to realise global ambitions, to focus diversified businesses, to organise portfolios, to develop strategic engagement and experience…these form the new pivots of transformation in India and are indeed positive trends."

Meanwhile, Interbrand global CEO Jez Frampton advised Indian companies seeking to build a global presence that they should maintain a "stronghold at home" while another major challenge is the advent of social media.

He said companies should "start with a great product that meets people's needs and build a property and position that's relevant to them".

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff