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Being Indian: How Swadeshi brands are set to rise in the post-COVID world

Is India's economy likely to be more inward-looking in the post-COVID period? Will patriotism influence the purchase decisions of the customer and the trust in home-grown brands be high? takes a deep dive

The Covid-19 pandemic is likely to reignite the Swadeshi thinking in the Indian consumer, which in turn will help homegrown brands in the post-pandemic period, feel experts.

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Anirban Sen

A change in consumer sentiment is likely to take place with people looking closely at brand origin as a mark of trust rather than fancy design, said Anirban Sen, VP, Head of Business, Chewing and Confectionary of Godfrey Phillips India. “A local brand, closer to the homeland is like to build greater trust and believability in consumers and as the nation comes out of Covid-19, there will new wave of ‘local-community-based’ brands evolving stronger,” he said.

Pragya Upadhyay

“People in the country will seek to help in developing the country’s economy with their contribution in buying and consuming Indian brands more often,” said Pragya Upadhyay, VP Growth, Pee Safe.

The ‘Be Indian, Purchase Indian’ feeling is going to be much higher in consumers’ minds and consciously they will want to buy products that are Indian, provided there is a strong Indian brand in every category.

Experts said that due to the pandemic, consumers will avoid purchasing foreign products. Hence, the crisis offers a huge opportunity to home-grown entrepreneurs to fill in this gap created by the global disruption. The gap allows consumers to be ‘open to the new’ and have a fresh look at home-grown innovations.

Musthafa P

“Globally, there is the negative sentiment towards Chinese products and we will see this in India as well to an extent. Customers are looking for the right quality products, right pricing and availability; whoever will able to fulfil that will sustain in the market,” said Musthafa P, CEO, ID fresh foods.

Musthafa said many home-grown brands have got better coverage during the lockdown period and people have tried it.

Communication on chords of patriotism

Brand communication with consumers will be on ‘made in India’ ideas as people will relate most with it, experts said.

Even before the coronavirus, many Indian brands have communicated to consumers with patriotic advertising. Now consumers are also seen buying home-grown products as they feel it will help lift the country’s economy.

B K Rao

“I am not very sure marketers would vividly talk about being Indian or buying Indian. There will be few brands who would not want to deviate from the patriotic emotion with their current communication. However, many Indian marketers are going to ride the 'being Indian' wave across mediums and give a strong reason to the consumer to buy their brands,” said B K Rao, Sr. Category Head of Marketing, Parle Products.

Vibhas Sen

Digital medium will lead, followed by TV and integrated communication across these two touchpoints largely, said Vibhas Sen, Head of Brand and Digital at Ellementry. As per Anirban Sen said communication and branding by home-grown brands will be authentic and this will create a very strong barrier global brands may find it difficult to penetrate. “Global brands recognise this and continue to make efforts to break into local cultural aspects by celebrating local festivals and changing communication to suit local linguistics. But that apart, they can’t be authentic, can they be?” he said.

A significant growth of home-grown brands can happen if the supply chain is strong. Products are required to be in the right place at the right time.

Even without any qualitative research in place, it should be north of 20% CAGR at least, said Vibhas Sen.

Rao said overall an uptick of about 20-25% growth will take place. “It’s also a time for Indian brands to strengthen their product segments as per consumer preference,” he said.

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