India: Is Tendulkar a bigger brand than Gandhi?

I never thought I would have to use Tendulkar and Gandhi in the same sentence. But the survey from Brand Trust Report made me do so. Undertaken by Trust Research Advisory (TRA), this survey ranked 16,000 brands and come up with the top 300 brands in India. The survey took four months, 2,310 participants, 10,000 hours and 16,000 brands to complete across nine cities. The survey report costs Rs. 4,350 ($93) and they need to sell 7,000 copies to become profitable.

According to the report, the 61 primary components of ”Brand Trust” have been grouped into 10 composites like empathy, perceived competence, commanding respect, displayed sincerity, enthusiasm, accepting responsibility among others (ET)

Top 10 brands in India :

  1. Nokia
  2. Tata
  3. Sony
  4. LG
  5. Samsung
  6. Reliance
  7. Maruti
  8. LIC
  9. Airtel
  10. Titan

The survey includes brands and people across a number of industries. Mobile handset maker Nokia topped the list, and is followed by Tata, Sony, LG and Samsung. Of the top 5 brands, 4 are foreign brands. Tata which is a salt to software maker has its presence in almost every Indian mind, yet it was outdone by Finland-based Nokia, which sells contraptions called mobile phones. Tata is a bigger brand than Reliance, which is true. I assume the two different Reliance brands of the warring brothers are considered as one. Pepsi (36th) is a bigger brand than Coke (60th).

People are considered as brands. Aamir Khan figures in the list at 242nd position while his Bollywood brethren Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachan didn’t make it. Though this doesn’t tell much about their acting prowess or their popularity, it might tell something. Less is more. If you want to have a brand recall, maybe you need to be less visible in mundane places and let your work talk. I have never seen a celebrity with more endorsements than Amitabh Bachan. There isn’t a product which is endorsed by Mr. Bachan. From mosquito repellent creams to insurance schemes, Bachan is everywhere. Yet he is nowhere to be found on the brands of India list. Same goes for Shah Rukh Khan. Though Khan doesn’t endorse as many products as Bachan, Khan still is more than present. Aamir to the contrary endorses only a few products, doesn’t believe in awards and makes few public appearances. Aamir’s movies talk.

There’s no mention of Superstar Rajni Kanth, who enjoys a demi-god status, in the southern part of India. That tells us that the top nine cities picked for the survey are heavily concentrated in the northern part of India.

Surveys are always tricky. There are some assumptions and some sampling errors that go with it. There’s no mention if the survey, which has taken people as brands, has included all the popular Indians who have ever lived. Since Gandhi was included in the list I assume being alive doesn’t matter. Though to some extent it does.

After all, we are trying to pit Bapu amongst people and brands which only existed for two to three decades. Bapu or the Father of the nation is placed in 232nd position just above Aamir Khan and far below Sachin Tendulkar. Not to take anything away from Tendulkar, Mahatma Gandhi should be better placed.  If there is one person’s picture that every Indian sees every single day, irrespective of what religion he belongs to, then it is of Mahatma Gandhi. Bapu is present on all the currency notes circulated in India which makes him omnipresent. Unless the 2310 respondents solely use online banking for all their daily needs, they ought to remember and recall Bapu more than Tendulkar. Don’t you think so?