What makes a patriotic brand? Is it their origin story, the products they offer, or the revenue they earn in a financial year? Well, it is all these things and many more, along with the story of a business in the way it has impacted a country’s formation and its economic cause, that can testify to the patriotic nature of a brand.
On the auspicious event of the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence, let us look at some of India’s oldest and most influential brands with long roots in the country and have certainly stood the test of time in demonstrating their patriotism.
Patriotic Brands Of India
In India, Tata is synonymous with belief, trust and a genuinely Indian brand. In its over 150 years of history, Tata has won over the hearts of Indians of all walks of life, spearheading the making of modern India. It is no wonder that an entire generation of Indians has grown up with the well-accepted notion of “Tata Namak, Desh ka Namak“.
As an Indian multinational conglomerate, the Tata Group has a presence everywhere, from manufacturing automobiles, aeroplanes and other products to technology, food and entertainment. The Tata Group was founded in 1868 by Jamshedji Tata. It has gained international recognition after purchasing several global companies.
The Godrej Group is a Mumbai-based Indian multinational corporation owned and operated primarily by the Godrej family. It was founded in 1897 by Pirojsha Burjorji Godrej and Ardeshir Godrej. The company deals in real estate, consumer goods, industrial engineering, materials, furniture, safety and agricultural products.
This legacy conglomerate has many firsts to its name and thus has significantly contributed to the Indian patriotic sentiment at multiple levels. In 1897, Godrej introduced the first lock with lever technology in India. Godrej produced the first authentic typewriter in India in 1955. It became the first Indian company to introduce PUF (polyurethane foam) in 1989. In 2014, Godrej kick-started Masterbrand 2.0 – bigger and brighter and launched FreeG, India’s first non-web-based mobile browsing experience.
Infosys Limited is an Indian multinational IT company that provides business consulting services, IT and outsourcing. According to Forbes Global 2000, in terms of revenue in 2020, it was the second-largest Indian IT company after Tata Consulting Services and the 602nd largest listed company globally.
Infosys is a tech giant in its own right. The company has helped shape India's high-tech economy through foreign exchange earnings, especially U.S. dollars, which helps maintain the U.S. dollar-rupee ratio. Many SMEs in the Indian IT industry rely on Infosys' affordable technology.
As an international company, it represents India on the global map of technical giants. The company is the biggest hope for computer science students fresh out of college in India. While India does not have its own Alibaba (China) and Google, Facebook, and Twitter (USA), Infosys is a jewel in India’s tech crown.
Wipro Limited is an Indian multinational provider of information technology, consulting services and business processes. In terms of total revenue, it ranks 29th among Indian companies as per Fortune 500 India. It is the ninth-largest employer in India, with approximately 195,000 employees.
Mohamed Premji founded Wipro in 1945 in Amalner, Maharashtra, as “Western India Products” and was later changed to “Wipro”. It was initially established as a producer of refined vegetable oils in Maharashtra under the brand names Kisan, Sunflower, and Camel.
In February 2002, Wipro became India’s first technology and software services company to achieve ISO 14001 certification. In 2008, the group entered the clean energy industry with Wipro Eco-Energy.
Hindustan Vanaspati Manufacturing Co – Hindustan Unilever
The era of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) marketing began much sooner in India than in many other Asian nations. Today’s famous household names like Lifebuoy (launched in 1895), Pears, Lux and Vim, and Vanaspati Dalda ((1937) have a long history.
In 1931, Unilever, a British multinational consumer goods company, established its first subsidiary in India – Hindustan Vanaspati Manufacturing Company, followed by Lever Brothers India Limited (1933) and United Traders Limited (1935). The three companies merged into Hindustan Unilever (HUL) in November 1956.
Today, HUL is the market leader in consumer goods in India and covers more than 20 consumer categories such as soaps, teas, detergents and shampoos. More than 700 million Indian consumers use its products.
State Bank of India (SBI)
The State Bank of India (SBI) is an Indian bank and financial and legal services organisation based in Mumbai, Maharashtra. SBI is the 43rd largest bank globally and ranked 221st on the Fortune Global 500 list of the world’s largest companies in 2020. It is the only Indian bank on the list.
SBI has a rich legacy of over 200 years and has been recognised as a trusted bank for generations by Indians. With around 250,000 employees, it is also the fifth-largest employer in India. SBI has earned the trust of its customers by developing highly relevant products and services, maintaining transparency in dealing with customers, and providing them with easy access to these products and services.
Aditya Birla Group
The Aditya Birla Group is an MNC based in Maharashtra, India. It operates in 34 countries and employs more than 120,000 people. The group was formed in 1857 by Seth Shiv Narayan Birla focused on pinned fibres in viscose, metals, cement (mainly in India). Today, it has operations in the financial services and telecommunications sectors as well.
During the British Raj in the 1850s, Birla’s businesses proliferated. At the starting of the 20th century, the group’s founder, Mr Ghanshyam Das Berla, developed the group’s roots in essential industries such as textiles and fibres, aluminium, cement and chemicals.
As a close ally of Mahatma Gandhi, he played an active role in India’s Independence. Together with Mahatma Gandhi, he represented India at the first and second round tables in London. The revolutionaries of the Indian struggle for Independence often met at the Birla House in Delhi to end British rule.
ITC Limited is an Indian company based out of Kolkata, West Bengal. ITC has diversified its activities in sectors such as cigarettes, basic necessities, hotels, packaging, cardboard and speciality paper and agri-food products.
The company was founded in 1910 as the Imperial Tobacco Company of India Limited and later renamed India Tobacco Company Limited in 1970. It became ITC in 1974 and is no longer an acronym for its initialised names.
The group completed 100 years in 2010 and, as of 2019-20, had a yearly turnover of $10.74 billion and a market cap of US$35 billion. It has over 36,500 employees at more than 60 locations across India and is part of the Forbes 2000 list.
Bajaj Group is an Indian MNC set up by Jamnalal Bajaj in 1926. Bajaj Group is one of the most prominent and oldest groups in Maharashtra. The group includes 34 companies and is Bajaj Auto’s parent company, which is the world’s fourth-largest manufacturer of two-wheeler and three-wheeler vehicles.
Bajaj Group’s well-known companies include Bajaj Auto Ltd, Bajaj Electricals, Hercules Hoists Ltd, Mukand Ltd, Bajaj Hindusthan Ltd, Bajaj Finserv Ltd, and Bajaj Holding & Investment Ltd. The group operates in various industries, including automotive, home appliances, lighting, steel, insurance, tourism and finance.
Amul is an Indian milk and dairy cooperative based in Gujarat, India. Founded in 1946, it is a cooperative brand managed by the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF). It is cooperatively owned by 36 lakh (3.6 million) milk producers Gujarat and the apex body of 13 District Milk Unions. Through the efforts of Tribhuvandas Patel, Kaira District Milk Union Limited (later renamed Amul – Anand Milk Union Limited) was established in 1946. Amul started the ‘White Revolution’ in India, making India the largest producer of milk and dairy products globally.
With the inspiring stories of these brands and their efforts to establish themselves, it is easy to recognise them as the most patriotic brands of India. Learning from them and embracing new age methods and technologies, it is time for new and budding entrepreneurs to make space for themselves. They have the chance to write their stories in the entrepreneurial books of Indian history so that coming generations can write about their contribution to the economy, and their legacy can testify to their patriotism.