The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Search on for brand India salesman

Calcutta, Nov. 27: Wanted: PR consultants and advertising agencies to sell brand India. The USP: millions of skilled professionals, and not the cheap labour that India is already known for.

Founded by the Union commerce ministry a few years ago, India Brand Equity Foundation is looking to field public relations consultants and advertising agencies to promote India as an investment destination.

Though set up by the Union government with a contribution of Rs 100 crore from the exchequer, the management of the foundation was divested to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in the recent past.

The foundation — formerly known as Indian Brand Equity Fund — has held several meetings of leading entrepreneurs and professionals to discuss how to sell India. Further, it has roped in The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to advise it on how to scale new heights with the “Made in India” tag.

Chieftains of India Inc — the likes of Y. C. Deveshwar, . R. Narayana Murthy, K. V. Kamath and Sunil Munjal — chaired these meetings where various brand propositions were considered. “What emerged from these deliberations is that the core image (of India) has to be the people. China, too, has a large number of people, but Indians have better skills and professional accomplishments and that’s what we’ll have to sell,” BCG chairman Arun Maira said.

“Communicating India’s competitive edges is a huge PR exercise and we are trying to identify the channels and partners that could disseminate the message most effectively,” he added.

Large corporations in Europe and the US offshore non-critical business processes to India to cut payroll costs and overhead expenses. “But Indians have proven skills to deliver high-end jobs as well. BCG sees a lot of high-end jobs being offshored to India,” Maira said.

To illustrate his point, he said: “At least six to seven large corporations that have limited presence in India, have engaged us to explore the competitive advantages of setting up operations in this country.”

At the time of inception of the foundation, the government had stipulated that the seed capital of Rs 100 crore provided by it could not drawn down — only the interest accruing on it could be appropriated.

“We are looking to tap other sources for funds now — say corporate donations,” said a CII official. CII is believed to have asked the government to offer tax incentives for donations made to the foundation.

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