Wipro Plans a Re­boot to Show it’s Much More than IT

Post US tech back­lash, co to re-po­si­tion it­self as a con­glom­er­ate with di­verse busi­nesses

The Economic Times - - Brands: Creating Desire - Ratna.Bhushan @times­group.com

New Delhi: In­dia’s tech­nol­ogy bell­wether Wipro is seek­ing to re­po­si­tion it­self as a con­glom­er­ate, craft­ing a holis­tic brand iden­tity to give busi­nesses as di­verse as con­sumer care and light­ing the promi­nence they de­serve, ac­cord­ing to a per­son aware of the de­vel­op­ment.

“The ob­jec­tive of the ex­er­cise is to re­brand Wipro as a group that is not just fo­cused on IT, but also on con­sumer goods, light­ing and other busi­nesses. This is to do with the back­lash in the US over In­dian IT firms,” the per­son told ET. The ex­er­cise is likely to in­volve re­brand­ing the po­si­tion­ing, tagline and logo, the per­son said, re­quest­ing not to be named given the sen­si­tiv­ity of the sub­ject.

Such an um­brella-brand po­si­tion­ing would build on the com­pany’s ori­gins as a con­sumer com­pany: Be­gin­ning op­er­a­tions seven decades ago at Amal­ner in Ma­ha­rash­tra as the West­ern In­dia Veg­etable Prod­ucts Lim­ited, the $7.5bil­lion Wipro has evolved over the past seven decades to in­clude in its fold tech­nol­ogy, health­care, en­ergy, soaps and tal­cum pow­der, and light­ing busi­nesses. The Ban­ga­lore-based com­pany’s repo­si­tion­ing at­tempt co­in­cides with in­creas­ing de-glob­al­i­sa­tion ini­tia­tives in those parts of the world where Wipro and its In­dian peers gen­er­ate their tech­nol­ogy busi­ness: The US and the richer neigh­bor­hoods in West­ern Europe. The Wipro brand is used both by Wipro Ltd and Wipro En­ter­prises, which in­cludes Wipro Con­sumer Care and Light­ing, and Wipro Infrastructure En­gi­neer­ing. The re­brand­ing is ex­pected to be con­cluded next quar­ter. A Wipro spokesman told ET in an email: “Wipro is eval­u­at­ing re­brand­ing op­tions to re­flect the rapid shifts in the in­dus­try, mar­ket, tech­nol­ogy and com­pet­i­tive land­scape of its var­i­ous busi­nesses. How­ever, Wipro has not taken any fi­nal de­ci­sion on this score. We pe­ri­od­i­cally re­launch our brands to bet­ter ad­dress these var­i­ous as­pects.” The spokesman did not re­spond to the spe­cific query whether the re-brand­ing was ini­ti­ated af­ter in­creas­ing noise on de-glob­al­i­sa­tion.

While the US is a key rev­enue-gen­er­a­tor for In­dian tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies, global lead­ers such as Google, Ap­ple and Mi­crosoft too have ex­pressed con­cerns over con­se­quences of US President Don­ald Trump’s im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies. The $150 bil­lion In­dian IT in­dus­try, al­ready deal­ing with slow­ing growth, has raised se­ri­ous con­cerns over US pro­pos­als to im­pose re­stric­tions on H-1B visas, driv­ing down the prices of tech­nol­ogy stocks.

Wipro’s con­sumer care and light­ing busi­ness in­cludes brands such as San­toor and Chan­drika soap, Yard­ley fra­grances, Safe­wash liq­uid de­ter­gent and fab­ric con­di­tioner and Glu­covita glu­cose lozenges.

The group’s con­sumer care busi­ness gen­er­ates close to 51% of its over­all rev­enues from in­ter­na­tional mar­kets, and may touch rev­enues of $1bil­lion in 2017. The busi­ness has axed non-per­form­ing brands over the past two years and is fo­cus­ing on key ones such as San­toor and Yard­ley.

“A cor­po­rate brand gen­er­ally has a life­span of 10-15 years de­pend­ing on how fast evolv­ing its busi­ness is. It’s im­por­tant for brands to ad­dress the need to re­brand to be co­he­sive and rel­e­vant to their tar­get mar­kets,” said Prathish Nair, chief busi­ness ar­chi­tect at brand con­sult­ing firm Tran­scend.


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