Be Vocal for Local: Shreevar Kheruka, CEO & MD, Borosil Ltd
At this moment of time, Indian consumers need to support Indian companies. If we can do this, our local companies will bounce back faster writes Shreevar Kheruka.
The ‘Be Vocal For Local’ initiative by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has come as a great opportunity to strengthen brand India.
In my view, Indian entrepreneurship and leadership is amongst the best in the world. It is for this reason Indian origin CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies have virtually become the norm in the last few years. Home-grown Indian companies are also blessed with unbelievable talent that is able to outperform competition given a level playing field.
Growing up, I was always taught to value an ‘imported’ product. This messaging was consistently re-inforced by society around me. Foreign things were considered superior and Indian products were sold at a discount. If anything was European or American, it was already premium in my eyes.
This perception changed dramatically when I entered Borosil at the age of 24. The passion and care our people put in developing world class, value for money products was truly outstanding. Our sales, marketing, product development, engineering, quality and production teams would argue hours over every small detail and feature of a product. Responsiveness to customer complaints and feedback was the core driving principal of the company.
On discussing brand building and marketing spends with my team members, almost all of them would say, “Let’s focus on providing the best quality and value for money offering and our customer will automatically build our brand for us”.
Even today, countless people come up to me and are surprised when I say that Borosil is an Indian company and an Indian brand. Their belief is that because our quality is so good, we must be European or American. My response to them is always that our quality is so good BECAUSE we are Indian.
Over the last 15 odd years of being a consumer in our country, I have noticed that they are many other Indian brands and companies that also have a similar level of attention to detail towards their offering. In many industries such as FMCG, pharmaceutical, automotive, solar, financial services and others, Indian companies have led the charge and been able to beat back larger foreign players. This has happened not because of any incentive or special concessions by the government, but by sheer passion, hard work and innovation of the people that work tirelessly for these organizations.
With the ongoing pandemic, businesses, especially local entities, are facing severe challenges. We are not a rich country and our companies have got very little support from the establishment as compared to companies in richer countries. My fear is that in a few months time, these foreign companies, flush with ‘free’ money from their governments/ banks will come in and take over our local enterprises. If this were to happen, it would be very sad.
At this moment of time, Indian consumers need to support Indian companies. If we can do this, our local companies will bounce back faster. This will make them less susceptible to a distressed sale to foreign competitors.
During the period of lockdown, it is the local Kirana shop that has delivered vegetables to my household every day and it is the local chemist who has ensured my grandfather had his diabetes medication. If I don’t support these businesses, they will wither away. It is not in my best interest to see that happen.
It is for these reasons that I whole-heartedly support our Honorable Prime Minister’s “Be Vocal For Local” clarion call. I hope you will also do the same!
Around The World