‘We are many companies united by a common purpose—to enable people to Rise’ – This is the first line on the Mahindra & Mahindra’s home page. M&M, as it is commonly known, is today a diversified conglomerate which has long crossed Indian shores to establish itself in over 100 countries across verticals with the “a global aspiration of being among the top 50 most admired global brands,” and giving his insights on Mahindra’s strategy on how the group intends to be a global brand is SP Shukla, Chairman, President Group Strategy, Defense Sector & Chief Brand Officer, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. Shukla lays down some pointers on how M&M is going about achieving this.
Be Global: Being global is the first criteria and Shukla says, “We are going about building business in different categories. Different products are leading in different countries as per local market requirements as well as our own analysis of strengths of our brands and products. He explains this by saying that while the IT arm, Tech Mahindra, is primarily focussed on North America and Europe, their tractor business is focussed on the three largest tractor markets in the world – India, United States and China. While the company is the leader in India and in the top three in the US, it is also looking to be among the top five in China. Well known for its Sports Utility vehicles (SUVs) in India, the company is now making SUVs in South Korea, where it is the second largest and is also the fastest growing brand in South Africa. Even in the leisure and hospitality space, Mahindra Holidays is among the top three vacation ownership companies globally. Commenting on the company strategy, Shukla says, “Each product category was empowered, each business was empowered to go and expand in new geographies outside India as per the match of their strength and that market requirement.”
Be Admired: Shukla says for Mahindra, being admired is not about being big or profitable but also how the company does things and the means and how you reach the goal is important. This also forms the basis for the company’s Rise Credo and Rise philosophy. He elaborates, “Our Rise philosophy has three elements which we call Rise pillars - alternate thinking, accept no limits and make a positive difference. When all three come together, that’s what is the Rise Credo. That is the way we do business, you can call it our business philosophy making a positive difference in every interaction with every stakeholder. That’s what is winning us admiration not just in India but also abroad.”
Be Visible: Though it is routine, Shukla states that brand visibility is very important and this is reflected in the company’s wordmark. While Mahindra was always seen as reliable, trustworthy, solid and warm brand, the company refreshed its wordmark two years ago. The result Shukla says, “After the refresh we retained our four original attributes but we were successful in adding two more attributes - cutting edge technology and modern. With this six, we are ready to appeal to the global markets of consumers across product categories.”
Finally commenting on the master brand Mahindra & Mahindra, Shukla says, “Mahindra is a master brand, it’s not a product brand. We use Mahindra brand across the categories tractors, SUVs, life spaces, aircraft, finance, scooter or motorcycle or the IT sector.” He adds,”The master brand creation has its own attributes and challenges as creation of product brand and we have handled this complex task quite well. We have been able to build on individual product brands and at the same time we have created a master brand which provides aura and sheen to individual brands.”