Indian Brands

Top 5 Ways Indian Brands Win in the Global Market

There are now many successful Indian brands building profitable businesses in the export market so the question is, how could you gear up to win in the highly lucrative global market?

The opportunities are accelerating, as noted in this useful KPMG [1] report, due to current global circumstances. However, there are some key steps any brand needs to engage in when stepping outside its home market so you can set yourself up for success.

If you’re considering your overseas expansion options then start by evaluating some of the key strategic issues shared here. These principles are in fact true for any brand expanding beyond its local range and entering the global market.

Here we’re sharing some key success principles for Indian brands in the global market.

1. Indian Brands Do Better Where Purchaser Personas Overlap Markets

Some products or services are deeply culturally rooted because of a specific role in the culture or usage occasion. So while it is possible to export them, the demand overseas may be limited, or expensive education on usage may be required. Generally that doesn’t make commercial sense.

By contrast, some purchaser personas – also known as buyer personas, user personas or user needs – are universal, or at least exist in substantially similar form in other markets. That means that a brand is able to perform a similar function overseas as it does in its home market. That is precisely what a brand needs to be able to win globally, cost effectively.

indian brands

Image via © Oyo

A case study in point is Oyo. This Indian brand is based on two user needs. First is a desire for cheap lodgings amongst digital first travellers. Second is a need on the part of independent hotels to attract custom without being part of a chain which has expensive franchising costs. Oyo realised that both of these user needs cross cultures, which enabled it to expand its brand globally at rapid speed.

Related: Using Buyer Personas to Increase Your Business Profitability

We know that sometimes it’s a struggle to build a brand strategy that really engages your ideal customers effectively, particularly in adversity, so we’ve developed three different ways of working with us to help you build your brand, depending on your preferences, so if you’d like us to:

  1. Build your brand for you – find out more here or get in touch [email protected] or ring +353 1 8322724
  2. Empower you to build your brand – check out the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind here. This is a live, interactive programme online where you work on your brand with us codifying and mapping out your brand strategy for business growth. Alternatively, join our online half-day Branding Accelerator Masterclass for a fast-injection of brand-building essentials. Ask about our Personal and Corporate Leadership Brand Alignment Masterclass
  3. Want a DIY solution? Check out our how to build a brand eprogramme here and our how to audit your brand yourself eprogramme here
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Brand Identity“Lorraine Carter has been the catalyst and an inspiration for MGI Learning to clearly define our brand.

Working with Lorraine has been both enlightening and enjoyable. Her blueprint for defining a brand is extremely comprehensive and challenged us to think very deeply about what we offer to our customers and really understand what underpins our success.

Lorraine is extremely knowledgeable, very focused and supportive and leads you through the process and ensured we got maximum benefits from the investment we made.”

Shona Cooper


MGI Learning

Shona Cooper

2. Local Adaptation is Usually Necessary for Indian Brands to Win in Global Markets

Global brands often have to adapt to win in India, as for example with Pepsico’s locally developed Kurkure brand. The same is true in the other direction. For most brands going outside their home market to export markets, some adaptation or localisation may be necessary. This can be at the product level, but sometimes it is even more subtle than that. 

For example, brand success in global markets could depend on making sure that a colour palette or visual identity has an equivalent resonance overseas that it does in the home market. Another example is ensuring that linguistic nuances are localised for the export location market. Overly basic translation frequently fails and is an immediate red flag to many overseas customers, especially in premium categories.

Adaptation increases complexity and cost. So it is important to balance the needs: how can you adapt as much as you need to win in export, but as little as possible? 

Sometimes that is easy, in other cases the adaptation necessary will be so troublesome it makes export less attractive. An easy way to get a handle on this early on is to look at what competitors do in your target market and assess how much, if at all, they have needed to adapt. 

Indian Brands

Image via Sight Machine © Asianpaints

A case study is provided by Mumbai headquartered Asian Paints. The company balances its home market with a range of export markets in very different levels of development and with different home décor styles. It manages to do this with information rich brand communication which inspires but also provides a wide range of options for each idea, so that the communication resonates even in quite different end markets.

Related: How Colour in Branding Strategy Influences the Way Customers Buy

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“We participated in the Persona Branding Strategy Mastermind 12-week online course. The 12-week program suited us as the weekly accountability spurred us on to get work done between sessions.


We found the flow of the course appropriate for the development of the brand through the various areas of the business. Already, we have developed our Customers Personas and our Brand Persona adding value to the business.

The course has helped us make more astute decisions in the business such as restructuring our product offerings, so we grow more profitable lines and remove those with lower margins.

Lorraine is very helpful and accessible as a tutor with follow up after each working session and the half day masterclass. Most of all the clarity achieved has been most invaluable.

In the first two weeks of March 2020, before Covid-19 required us to close, we were 300% up in our online sales compared to the whole of March 2019 and after reopening April 2020 we were back to 108% by the end of May 2020 — results achieved from applying our brand strategy.”


Sinead Heffernan

Managing Director

Thunders Bakery


Sinead Heffernan

3. Indian Brands Can Succeed Even in the Most Challenging Markets

One of the challenges of building an export market can be confidence and credibility. It’s not quite the same in your home market when competing locally. Once you start to export, you are literally competing with the best in the world.

Just because your brand is successful in your home market does not guarantee a similar reaction in export markets. Building target audience confidence and trust is critically important. This is easier to achieve when it is grounded in something concrete to which your export market customer profile can relate. 

The fact is, building a powerhouse brand is about creating value, building trust and converting that customer trust into repeat sales, spontaneous referral and an engaged community of like-minded buyers. 

If prospects or customers don’t trust, they don’t buy and building trust in an export market is typically different to your domestic market, often because of cultural nuances. This means that you need to overcome potential barriers by leveraging highly effective branding strategy because it’s the driver behind achieving higher revenue growth.

Related: Top 5 Reasons Why Brand Purpose is The Essential Growth Driver in a Fast Changing World

So a brand that responds to a universally relevant need is often riper for export success than a culturally specific one. Understanding your target market’s needs and desires, then auditing your own brands and those of competitors helps you evaluate what your competitive strengths and weaknesses would be in an export environment. 

Brand Audit Consultation

Book Your Brand Audit Consult with Lorraine Carter here

A brand audit is an important diagnostic tool because it helps you make a “go/no go” decision, or identify what you need to adapt about your brand to be a successful exporter so you avoid lost revenue or wasted resources. It’s also important to note it may not be the same in every market.

Indian Brands

Image via © Bira91

A case study is challenger brand Bira 91. This Indian craft beer borrows visual identity cues from world-class Belgian beers. The branding nods to India – 91 is the country’s international calling code and Bira means brother in colloquial Punjabi. But the overall branding is clearly designed to work in demanding, sophisticated export beer markets.

Related: How Strong Brand Strategy Helps Speciality Food Get International Distribution

Are you a business leader, manager, or entrepreneur who wants to re-evaluate or build your brand strategy so you can take your Indian brand into the global market and increase your sales? Are you curious about how to build or scale a highly successful standout brand? Join one of our branding masterclasses because they empower you to build your brand, enhance customer experience, expand your market impact and create higher perceived value so you can command a premium.

In fact, the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind is all about fast-tracking you, your brand and your business through the brand building, agile branding strategy process using professional big-brand know-how with proven systems that get results so you can grow your business faster and more effectively.


The programme enables you to make your brand highly visible, different, credible, trustworthy, memorable and much loved amongst your ideal customers so you can become more profitable and leave your competitors way behind. Be The One — your ideal customers’ favourite brand of preferred choice commanding a premium.

If you want a tailor-made solution specifically for your brand then we also provide in house bespoke Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Intensives working with you and your team so you can grow your business faster and more profitably. Contact us to discover more [email protected] or +353 1 8322724


4. B2B Indian Brands Often Emphasise Service and Value Over Origin

For B2C consumers, brand story can be important. For an origin story to work well, it is important to understand how the target user perceives a product or service’s origin. Then either the brand can play off positive stereotypes, or else surprise the user with education which helps the brand be credible. 

Consider as an example Grey Goose vodka. Most consumers think the best vodka comes from Poland or Russia. So Grey Goose explains its French origin story in terms of French expertise in alcoholic beverage production. With its rich variety of cultural elements, India can provide the basis for a positive brand story for many B2C brands.

Related: Discover How to Use Brand Archetypes To Build Your Winning Brand

B2B purchasers are likely to be expert buyers making large purchases. So they are less swayed by stereotypes about countries of origin and instead focus on actual quality, service levels and value. 

branding strategy

© Persona Design

That is one reason Indian B2B brands can do so well globally with a more competitive cost base and highly educated people enabling them to provide higher value coupled with service and quality that is world-class. So they are able to offer a more compelling proposition overall than many B2B companies based in high wage countries.

Indian Brands

Image via © Wipro

A B2B case study is IT consultancy Wipro. They are proudly Indian but the brand’s success in conquering export markets only leans on the Indian connection when relevant, for example, many western customers perceive India to produce outstanding quality IT engineers. In other facets of brand communication, Wipro doesn’t make a big thing about being Indian.

If you’d like to discover more about building and maintaining a thriving, high performing, highly profitable standout brand, then get in touch because we’d love to help you make your brand into a profit powerhouse.

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Lorraine Carter is a branding expert and international speaker delivering talks that inspire and motivate along with masterclasses and workshops that inform and support transformational outcomes fast, and consultancy expertise that solves problems — using agile branding strategy underpinned by professional big-brand know-how — so you can outshine, outperform and leave your competitors way behind.

She enables you to differentiate, achieve higher revenue, expand your market share, build IP brand asset value — make the complex easy as ABC so you can Transform Your Brand & Increase Your Sales — Be The One, the brand that’s most credible, trusted and commanding a premium so you’re highly profitable and leaving your competitors way behind.

Ask about the Persona Branding Strategy Mastermind Programme — live, interactively, face-to-face online. 


“If you’re interested in the brand strategy that will take you to the next level, that will put you on the market in a premium position, Lorraine Carter is the person to assist you in getting there with specific elements and with specific tools that simply work. All you have to do is focus and know what you want — she provides the tool kit you need to accomplish your goals.”

Adina Iacob

Founder, PR, Communications & Media Relations Consultant

Adina Iacob

5. India’s Diversity is a Competitive Advantage for Indian Brands on the Global Stage

Some brands, especially B2B brands, are more attractive if they can demonstrate their global reach. For example, clients may prefer a single global partner than lots of local suppliers. 

That can be difficult for brands to demonstrate if they come from homogenous markets. India is a hugely complex and varied market, so any Indian brand which is at the stage of exporting already has an understanding of how to manage a marketplace with multiple requirements at the same time. 

This is a competitive advantage for Indian brands, not only over many western brands but also over those for more homogenized developing markets such as China. Indian brands have a deep grasp of cultural, social and geographical nuance, which global brands need to succeed.

Related: Profit from The Top 5 Trends of Leading Brands in China Before They Hit Your Market

A case study is Infosys. Infosys is a global leader in next-generation digital services and consulting enabling clients in 45 countries to navigate their digital transformation. With over 3 decades of experience in managing the systems and workings of global enterprises they are a very successful Indian brand with a global footprint.  

Indian Brands

Image via © Infosys

The brand doesn’t talk much about its Indian heritage overseas, but equally it doesn’t downplay it. Instead, it uses it as an asset by building a brand story about global connectivity based on deep-rooted market understanding. 

Related: How to Build a Premium Tech Brand so You’re Not Just Competing on Features, Benefits and Price Discounts

“An exceptionally talented individual. Lorraine Carter, Persona Branding and Design has a wonderful ability to ‘horizon scan’ for any business and then bring them on a journey that delivers value to their Balance Sheet.”

Dave Feenan


Technology Ireland & ICT Skillnet

Dave Feenan

Final Thoughts

In recent years, Indian brands have increasingly stepped up to the challenge of winning in the global market. Based on their approach, and the principles of effective brand strategy more generally, a few simple steps can improve the chance your Indian brand can succeed overseas —or any other brand stepping out of its home market for that matter. 

From understanding your target purchaser personas to evaluating how your brand is positioned relative to geographically relevant competitors, these principles apply in every market. 

But on top of that, there are strengths in Indian brands that can offer them an edge internationally. It’s time to think about how your Indian brand can step up to succeed outside India.

Related: 6 Brand Culture Do’s and Don’ts for Attracting and Retaining Your Ideal Customers and Top Talent

Questions to Consider

  1. Have you identified your target purchaser personas?
  2. How do you match your brand offering to user needs and wants at the moment?
  3. What would you need to consider before deciding whether your brand is ready to compete internationally?
  4. What is your brand story and does it resonate appropriately with your global target audience outside your national market?
  5. How can being Indian be a competitive advantage for your brand? Do you know how to leverage those advantages in the relevant geographies and target audience of your export markets?
  6. Could you use a brand audit to help you succeed in the export market?
Brand Audit Consultation

Book Your Brand Audit Consult with Lorraine Carter here

“I really appreciate Lorraine’s energy and passion. Although good branding includes so many facets, Lorraine is able to simplify the process and make it so much more tangible for any company to put into practice.”

Lisa Kettman-Kervinen

Marketing Communication Specialist

The Switch

Lisa Kettman-Kervinen

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