India Rising

The imminent launch of Mahindra & Mahindra’s flagship SUV vehicle onto US soil – a move that has been in the pipeline since 2007 – indicates more than a simple reawakening of India’s global corporate ambitions.


Well aware of its stated position as ‘a microcosm of the country of its birth’, Mahindra’s expansion is indicative of the rising sophistication in Indian business strategy - good news for law firms, domestic and foreign. 


Anand Mahindra, the Vice Chairman and Managing Director, recently revealed to RSG’s managing director that the company selected Strawberry Frog, the US advertising agency, to come up with an appropriate branding campaign. The resulting ‘RISE’ slogan focuses not only on the empowerment of the individual in the imposing Scorpio 4X4, but also represents the literal ‘rise’ of corporate India as much as Mahindra’s expansion in the US.


The branding fits the company well, playing on a ‘David rather than Goliath’ dynamic, for an entity taking its first steps into a fiercely competitive, yet lucrative market. The fuel-efficient Scorpio attempts to undercut domestic competitors Ford and General Motors with a cheaper pricing strategy.


Whilst such an ambitious move is indicative of corporate India’s awakening, it is the engagement of quality advisers for an issue as abstract as branding which should attract the most interest.


Long seen as an environment in which external business advisers, including law firms, were regarded as an irritating necessity at best, this represents maturation in Indian business. Also key in the Mahindra branding strategy is the consideration of China. The English word ‘rise’ translates well into Chinese (pronounced ‘shin’) and conveys the same sense.


The global outlook of Mahindra that equally encompasses both China and the US is part of the way in which Indian business is also changing. Law firms who want to win work from India plc will have to be up-to-speed with these shifts in business culture and strategy.