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Social media and CSR among top priorities for leading Indian brands

MUMBAI: The occasion was the unveiling of the first edition of Interbrand -The Economic Times 'Best Indian Brands', an India-focused version of Interbrand's first ever league table of the most valuable Indian brands. With representatives of some of the top performers in this league present, the brand value of the room could well be the subject of another survey. 

But the debate went beyond just the league pecking order - a round-table discussion featuring Jez Frampton, global CEO of Interbrand, Prakash Nedungadi, head of consumer insights and brand development,
Aditya Birla, Keki Dadiseth, the chairman of Omnicom India, Tanya Dubash, executive director and chief brand officer, Godrej Group, and N Rajaram, chief marketing officer, Bharti AirtelBSE 0.65 %, was also on the agenda. 

One important point that emerged was the relevance of sustainability and the changing paradigms of 
corporate social responsibility (CSR) - up to and including the supply chain of any company's suppliers. 

Nedungadi, was of the opinion that sustainability has to be intrinsic to the business. Setting the context Keki Dadiseth, pointed out, twenty years ago 
CSR was only a photo-op, today it is about a real opportunity. He, however, felt that "as corporates we often don't talk enough about the charity being done." Tanya Dubash, meanwhile, added, "CSR is no more about offsetting the bad being done by corporates, it is genuinely helping the social transformation." 

The other issue that was top-of-mind - and in a way, on everyone's fingertips - was 
social media. N Rajaram, pointed out that Airtel, the leading Indian telecom brand keeps a close track on Facebook, Twitter and more, to monitor conversations about it happening in real time. After all, the brand is committed to the 18-year plus age group as the consumer who will guide them in the future and this group incidentally is very unforgiving, he added. 

"The response to the Best 
Indian Brands 2013 was delightful in many ways. From the recognition of value creation possibilities with brands leading businesses rather than following them, to focused master brand building that may resolve the inherent challenges of the typical diversified conglomerates; the discussions involving the top 30 Best Indian brand owners were very rich and useful."said Ashish Mishra, MD, Interbrand India.