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
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.