The past decades saw the rise of brands across the world. Global trade paradigms shifted exponentially with changes in international trade policies and the emergence of new markets, enabling expansion for businesses. Companies from Europe, United States and Southeast Asia established their foothold across continents. Globalization and the rise of consumerism created a progressively competitive market scenario and the need to set the Indian industry apart to gain a competitive advantage in international markets.
Good design brings about tangible economic and financial dividends while fostering innovation, creativity and ensuring healthy revenues. Understanding the business value of design and the impact of good design practices is indisputable and has been proven to increase a company’s bottom line.
As Indian brands like Tata, Godrej, ITC, Dabur, Reliance, etc., started gaining worldwide recognition, international brands like Coca Cola, Microsoft, Samsung, Nestle, etc., became household names in India. Businesses started prioritizing the design of their brand story and envisaging creative methods of making their products unique and desirable.
Design became intricately woven in every aspect of industry, from business strategies to customer experiences to various communication channels like advertisements, websites, logos, social media presence, etc., defining the customers’ perceptions and the value they assign to its products and services.
Quality, reliability and business ethics are at the core of any successful brand and amplifies its brand equity. Brand equity refers to the premium that a company generates from a product or service with a recognizable name, compared to a generic equivalent. Companies can create brand equity for their products by making them memorable, easily recognizable and superior in traits.
Positive brand equity creates a sense of loyalty among the customers who prefer to invest in its products, even though they could get the same from a competitor for less. Customers, in effect, pay a premium to a company they know and admire and with which they feel an emotional connection and want to cultivate a long-term relationship.
Thus, brand design and the value it generates became increasingly significant for companies as the world moved into ‘Industry 4.0’, with the urgent need for digitization and trying to persevere through a pandemic.
Designing Brand India
The Government of India is proactive towards creating international awareness of the ‘Made in India’ label and disseminating information on Indian products and services. In September 2021, the Government announced a contest inviting citizens to design a logo for the ‘Brand India’ campaign to create an appropriate perception of the country across the world in a uniform manner. The campaign aims to project India as a nation that cares for the world and draws strength from its rich diversity to establish Indian excellence in different spheres.
The Government is going the extra mile to ensure consistent and effective messaging on the India growth story through brand-building initiatives, setting a strong precedent for Indian industry and academia.
Design and Indian Industry
The foresight of the industry and academia captains at CII during the end of the 20th century envisaged that design will be the distinguishing factor in making businesses more competitive and public services more effective. CII recognised the criticality of investing in design, adopting good design practices and the need for making design an integral part of innovation and brand building exercises.
CII has been actively championing the inculcation of design methodologies as a key business strategy since the early 2000s. The focus has been primarily to work on policy recommendations and initiatives that would motivate investments in design by industry. CII was instrumental in the development of the National Design Policy, 2007 and the formulation of the Indian Design Council, under Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Government of India.
The scope for design intervention in the Indian industrial ecosystem is immense. Design practices can have significant impact on brand development and product innovation. It cannot happen in isolation and is not a trade secret that needs to be protected. Design-based skills and knowledge are accessible for anyone who wants to use them to grow, evolve and stay relevant.
CII is bringing design intervention to various MSME clusters and is support Indian MSME with product and process innovation. Going forward CII plans to set up design institutes and innovation centres across the country that cater to developing in-house design capabilities for Indian industry. The aim is to establish the brand “Design in India”, as “Make in India” would only be sustainable if we designed in India.