November 3, 2005

Brand Bangalore faces erosion

By Mini Joseph Tejaswi/TNN

Bangalore: Is Bangalore suffering a brand dilution? It certainly looks so. Here are some candid expressions on Bangalore that The Times of India captured from global tech CXOs on the sidelines of 2005, the state’s annual tech exposition:
   Corporates are not bullish on making fresh investments in Bangalore unless there is a compelling reason.
   Being an early player, Bangalore had its run; but it’s been sending a lot of wrong signals these days.
   Despite its IT prowess, what we hear these days is about the city being a boiling pot of infrastructure woes.
   Bangalore, from all accounts, is losing its magnetic pull to attract corporates and talent. “It has made plenty of promises, but often fell short of delivering them,” said a CEO of an IT services firm based in Boston. Sadly, Bangalore today does not even have the top-of-mind brand recall it enjoyed 12 to 18 months ago. “Today, corporates from Beijing, London, New York, Sydney, Singapore or Dubai, think of India as a whole and not much of Bangalore,” said the president of a London-based IT firm.
   Zubin Shroff, CEO of Talent Management Group of Singapore said: “These days global IT firms are talking about Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Visakhapatnam. Consequently, the equity of brand Bangalore is getting diluted.’’ It may be a loss for the city, but the country as a whole might benefit, say some CXOs.
   Martin Conboy, a Sydney-based industry expert, said: “Many MNC executives I meet these days are grumbling that Bangalore’s infrastructure is breaking at the seams. They complain about massive traffic jams, lack of hotels, poor infrastructure and bad power supply. So to western minds, Bangalore’s reputation is becoming a little tarnished.’’
   Brand consultant Harish Bijoor said: “We need to reinvent and relaunch Bangalore on an investor-citizen format. As a precursor to that, we need to bridge the gap between what the corporates seek and what the government provides.’’
   In short, the city has become extremely vulnerable to competition. “The ‘window of opportunity’ can fast close on it, leaving it to the rest of the country or even neighbouring countries to take over,” cautioned the managing director of a Beijing-based telecom technology firm.
   Realising the opportunity, a number of other Indian states are seen to be making strategic moves to attract investments.

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