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Eye on talent, Godrej looks to build global brand equity

Adi Godrej After making seven acquisitions across three continents —Asia, Africa and South Africa—the Rs 13,000-crore Godrej Group is now launching an exercise to build the equity of the master brand ‘Godrej’ in the international market. The aim is to attract talent for its international companies.

The 114-year-old Godrej brand is well known in India-—with products ranging from soaps to cupboards. In a bid to build its equity globally, the group is considering various options, including hiring an external consultant. Three years back, a similar initiative was undertaken in the domestic market and the group had roped in UK-based brand consultancy firm, Interbrand, for the task. This had resulted in a younger looking Godrej logo and a vision to treble the turnover of its fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) business by 2012.

“A lot of thinking has gone into how we could leverage the Godrej brand from the perspective of attracting talent in the international market. One way of doing that is to try and push the brand more in the international market to build its equity. Earlier, we did a successful brand relaunch with Interbrand and now we are in discussion on how we could take this forward for a geographic expansion of the Godrej brand,” Vivek Gambhir, chief strategy offer, Godrej Industries, told TOI.

The group’s FMCG arm, Godrej Consumer Products (GCPL), has acquired a host of companies globally in the last six years. After buying out Keyline Brands of the UK in 2005, GCPL acquired Rapidol (Africa) in 2006 and Kinky (South Africa) in 2008. Last year, the acquisition of Tura (Nigeria) was followed by the acquisition of Megasari (Indonesia), Issue Group (Argentina) and Argencos (Argentina). Each of these companies have independent brands which are popular in their respective regions. That makes it imperative for the group to build its master brand.


Along with these acquisitions came the task of consolidating the businesses and ensuring that the talent pipeline did not get clogged. Last year, the group took to integrating these businesses which were spread across three continents on a common HR platform. However, building a leadership and talent pipeline continue to be the biggest challenge for the group. That explains the urgency with which the group is moving to build the master brand equity globally. While no final decision has been taken, the group is likely to rope in an external consultant to enable it to meet this objective.

Anumber of Indian companies which have established a presence globally, like Tatas, Mahindra & Mahindra, Asian Paints and Marico, have been pushing their brands in the international markets as well. According to Jagdeep Kapoor, CMD, Samsika Marketing Consultants, one of the reasons why Indian companies have been slow to establish their brands globally, even as they continued to grow strong in the domestic market, is because of the depth of the Indian market. “Amul as a brand, after so many years, is now increasing its presence in India from 1,000 towns to 3,000 towns. The fact is that there are 8,100 towns in India, which can consume all the efforts of a company to expand its presence. But what is important is that Indian companies simultaneously build their brands in the international markets as well. After all, Indian professors have gone global and so have Indian managers. So why not take Indian brands global too?” said Kapoor.

Godrej has also set up a dedicated international centre and roped in Shashank Sinha as president, international business, GCPL. The objective behind the move is to consolidate the business and put it under one reporting structure to drive synergies and collaboration. Sinha is an MNC veteran with more than twenty years experience with various FMCG multinationals like Sara Lee Corporation and Reckitt Benckiser.

Source: April 18, 2011, TNN