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Role of Branding in India

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Thanks to the upsurge in the macroeconomic condition of the country there is a substantial upswing in the standard of living especially in the urban centers of the country. The disposable income levels of the middle class have gone up and spending on luxury products and services is at an all-time high. Indians are becoming more and more conscious of high-quality leisure activities and are more willing to spend on them. This is indicated by the increase of cinema multiplexes which are growing exponentially, as well as the concept of coffee bars.

There are at least two well established local coffee bar chains doing well in India namely Barista and Café coffee day. Estimates say that the average Indian consumes only 54g of coffee per year that is 10 cups a year. In the US the per capita consumption is around 14000g (Harish Bijoor, 2001). This is a big opportunity for good marketing. India is graduating from the concept of tea or coffee for sale which is made on stoves in roadside eateries to the concept of vending machines. These machines operated by the various local and national promoters are becoming more and more commonplace.

More and more corporates have opted for vending machines to be installed at the workplace for the benefit of employees. Currently, this technological change is concentrated in the urban centers but it is only a matter of time before they penetrate into rural India. Marketing information plays a crucial role in any marketing decision. India has several market research houses who are regularly employed by the corporates for marketing data. There are also centralized databases of economic data that are available on a subscription basis.

In India which is geographically vast and socially as well as economically diverse, marketing information will help in the choice of markets to enter. It will also help in making decisions on channels for distribution of products and the methods most suitable. Being a strong brand and a financial powerhouse Starbucks tends to make enemies among social and political groups. Since there are already coffee chains operating in India Starbucks will not have the first-mover advantage and will have to contend with competition which has established brands in the country.

The economic upswing and urbanization that is taking place in India have made it an ideal destination for a concept like Starbucks. Brand consciousness is on the increase. The large Indian market with a total population of more than a billion people is waiting for a concept like Starbucks.

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