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Friday, October 24, 2003

Branding India

Reuben sent me this interview with N.R. Narayana Murphy and Santosh Desai. The interview comes from Business Today and I've put it on site. The principal argument is what India lacks is image: a brand. Obviously this is part of the picture, but the other part which rears its little head from time to time: infrastructure. Like in the airports. Its a good thing to have the image, but its kinda handy to have a the reality to back it up too.

The world's second-most populous country, the sixth-biggest in terms of land mass, and home to one of the largest pools of engineering talent. Yet, Indiaremains a global pygmy, with just 1 per cent share of the world trade. The good news: things are changing, and for the better. The "land of snake charmers" has given way to a land of code jocks; Indian generics are flying off shop shelves in the US; a Mercedes or a Ford actually sports at least something Indian under the bonnet; and a cheaper, more effective back-office in Gurgaon is just a phone call away from Georgia. Slowly, but surely, India is going global.

The bad news: its pace sucks. Primarily because there is no national blueprint for globalisation. A Ranbaxy or an i-flex happens because of the dreams of a few. Can a billion people be taught to dream and execute on their dreams? Possibly not. But can we create, first, a need and then an agenda for globalisation? Absolutely. It is with this objective in mind that BT decided to launch a series on "Taking India Global". Periodically, BT will bring together industry thought-leaders to brainstorm on issues central to globalisation. We kick off the series with a debate on Brand India-as seen by US, the Indians, and them-everybody else outside the country. Does it exist? Do we need one at all? What should it be about? And who is responsible for creating it-the government, industry, individual companies, or simply individuals?

Exploring and seeking answers to these questions are two well-known, but diverse, personalities. Infosys' Chief Mentor, N.R. Narayana Murthy, who has built a global it services brand in Infosys, and Santosh Desai, President of McCann Erickson India, a strategic thinker and a man who helps companies create powerful brands. The face-off moderator: BT's Associate Editor, Vidya Viswanathan. Welcome to the first face-off on Taking India Global:

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