Adapt or die: How Indian brands are adapting to change

Adapt or die: How Indian brands are adapting to change

People resist change. We always have and we will. That’s just the nature of human beings. And businesses are no different. Because at the end of the day, a business is just a bunch of people working together. But it doesn’t matter. Because change is the only constant.

We are talking about digital media. A few years ago, major Indian brands were skeptical of digital media. But now they have changed their perception. They have become aware of the immense power of social media and web presence. We made a list of top 11 Indian brands and analyzed how they were doing. To be true, we are still disappointed with their online performance. But hey, better late than never!

We have selected top 11 Indian brands from‘s top 50 list. We are going to see whether they are present in digital world or not. And if they are, are they helping people out or just posting announcements. We are also going to take a look what they are doing in mass media. So without further ado, let’s start the show.

Adapt or die: How Indian brands are adapting to change

1. HDFC Bank (Housing Development Finance Corporation Bank Limited)

HDFC has a great presence on social media. They respond on time. Also there’s good use of graphics on social. They answer people’s queries. Though their website looks boring and outdated. We hope they will update it soon.

2. AirTel (Bharti Airtel Limited)

India’s number one mobile telecom provider has a goegeous and user-friendly website. They also have a very good social presence on Facebook and Twitter. They respond to people, and their tone is quite friendly. This is a good sign for a big brand.

3. State Bank of India

  • Founded: 1 July, 1955
  • Social network strength: Facebook – 21.3 lakhs, Twitter – 1.4 lakhs
  • First Facebook post: 7 Nov, 2013 (link)
  • First tweet: 3 Apr, 2014 (link)
  • Also active on: Google+, LinkedIn

India’s number one bank is pretty good at social media. Their use of imagery and illustrations is incredible. One thing I don’t like is the website. At the time of this writing, I couldn’t get it opened on my laptop.

4. ICICI Bank (Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India)

  • Founded: 1994
  • Social network strength: Facebook – 35.2 lakhs, Twitter – 28.4k
  • First Facebook post: 5 Jan, 2012 (link)
  • First tweet: 13 Jun, 2014 (link)
  • Also active on: LinkedIn

ICICI has a beautiful and user-friendly website. Flat design principles are being followed. As far as social is concerned, everything is great except the spam there. May be their marketing agency have made many fake accounts, from which they spam. Accounts such as Sri Devi and Lakshmi regularly spam ICICI’s Facebook page.

5. Bajaj Auto

  • Founded: 29 Nov, 1945
  • Social network strength (Pulsar): Facebook – 13.5 lakhs, Twitter – 4.2k
  • First Facebook post (Pulsar): 1 July 2009 (link)
  • First tweet (Pulsar): 25 July, 2009 (link)

To be true, Bajaj is the first Indian company to get on to social media. One thing to be noted is that there’s still no universal company page. They have different pages for different product. I don’t know what Bajaj marketing team is thinking, but it’s obvious that they are happy with this approach. One thing that they should take care of is their website. Frankly it’s ugly.

6. Asian Paints

  • Founded: 1942
  • Social network strength: Facebook – 8.7 lakhs, Twitter – 17.5k
  • First Facebook post: 14 Sep, 2011 (link)
  • First tweet: 13 Sep, 2011 (link)
  • Also active on: Google+

Asian Paints have a well-designed website and a respectable social presence. They also offer apps for android and iOS which is brilliant. I think Asian has got plenty to teach to other players.

7. Hero MotoCorp

  • Founded: 19 Jan, 1984
  • Social network strength: Facebook – 13.4 lakhs, Twitter – 18k
  • First Facebook post: 12 Aug, 2011 (link)
  • First Twitter post: 11 Aug, 2011 (link) (It was a retweet)
  • Also active on: LinkedIn

World’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer is good at digital media. Their website is good enough. They have a well-maintained company page on Facebook. They are very active on YouTube too. One thing they may take into consideration is making their website more presentational, and less wiki-like.

8. !dea

  • Founded: 1995
  • Social media strength: Facebook – 72.8 lakhs, Twitter – 36.7k
  • First Facebook post: 16 Nov, 2009 (link)
  • First Twitter post: 17 Nov, 2009 (link)
  • Also active on: LinkedIn, Google+

India’s third largest mobile operator !dea knows how important the marketing is. We all are familiar with IIN ads. People either hate them or love them. But they talk about them, and that’s just !dea wants. Idea has 72 lakh Facebook fans, which tells us that they know their stuff pretty well. One thing they can improve is their website. It feels outdated.

9. Kotak Mahindra Bank

  • Founded: 1985
  • Social media strength: Facebook – 2.6 lakh, Twitter – 1 lakh
  • First Facebook post: 6 July, 2011 (link)
  • First Twitter post: 5 Sep, 2011 (link)
  • Also active on: LinkedIn

India’s fourth largest private bank has not very impressive online presence. Their website feels like a university’s website plus annoying pop-ups. I hope that after merger with ING Vysya, they will come up with a brand new brand identity. Even great social can’t help if your have a hopeless website.

10. Reliance Communications

  • Founded: 27 Dec, 2002
  • Social media strength: Facebook – 14.9 lakhs, Twitter – 18.5 lakhs
  • First Facebook post: 7 Aug, 2010 (link)
  • First Twitter post: 7 May, 2010 (link)
  • Also active on: LinkedIn, Google+

With a moderate website and strong social presence India’s biggest telecom operator stands firm. They are pretty responsive on social. But as with other big players, their website feels kind of bureaucratic. Everything else is just fine.

11. Maruti Suzuki

  • Founded: 1981
  • Social media strength: Facebook – 2.6 lakhs, Twitter – 16k
  • First Facebook post: 14 Sep, 2010 (link)
  • First Twitter post: 31 Oct, 2013 (link) (It was a retweet)
  • Also active on: YouTube, Google+

India’s number one automaker is also the least social. Maruti Suzuki made their Twitter account 3 years after their Facebook page. We don’t have a clue what their marketing teams have been thinking. But hey better late than never! Also their website is satisfactory. Not very ugly, if not very beautiful.


Indian businesses will take some more time to gain momentum on the web. The start have been satisfactory. We already have started to see latest design principles being followed on websites like Flipkart. This is a good sign. I hope rest of the players will soon go for it.

One thing we noted that almost all business are responsive on social media. Social media is a very powerful tool. They all know how powerful the word of mouth is. And almost all are doing it just fine.

A detailed case study of each player will follow soon. Stay tuned in on InboundHow.

Manu Mayank

Sucker for Growth Hacking and Disruptive innovation, Global brand consulting and digital marketing exposure, Passionate about cooking and insightful conversations. I am still in process of realization of self.

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