Branding pundit Wally Olins’ group Saffron Brand Consultants expects to open an Indian office within the coming months.
The consultancy has been exploring opportunities in the Indian market, and is today awaiting a decision on premises in Mumbai.
According to Saffron consultant Ben Knapp, who will initially lead the operation, the idea is to build an office that will employ local staff and build Indian brands, as opposed to ‘me too’ offshoots of their European counterparts.
‘We’ve been exploring Indian opportunities for about three to four months now. We’re clear that it is not about going there, getting the clients and dragging them off. We’re going to hire local staff and build Indian brands that Indian people are proud of,’ he says.
Knapp reveals that the consultancy has already secured contracts with Apollo Tyres in Delhi, one of India’s largest tyre companies, as well as car manufacturer Bajaj Auto on its latest venture with Renault and Nissan. ‘It’s something we’re advising on,’ he adds.
Knapp expects to head up the Mumbai office for around six months to a year, or until an ‘Indian person of Wally’s stature’ is found to head up operations. They will sit on the consultancy board as a director.
Saffron is looking to build a 30- to 40-strong office, comprising designers, client services and consultants, who will contribute as much to the business as its other offices in London, New York and Madrid.
‘The important point is that it’s not an outpost or a sales office,’ explains Knapp.
Commenting on what he describes as a ‘very buoyant’ Indian market, Knapp says, ‘It’s important to go there with an open mind and not treat it as a one-way street.’