Branding a Commodity:
The Tata Steel Way
•Established in 1907 by J N Tata at Jamshedpur in Bihar.
•Started production in 1911 with a capacity of 0.1mn tonne
of mild steel.
•1958: capacity increased to 2mn tonnes.
•1973: acquired flux mines near Jharia, West Bokaro.
•1983: acquired Indian Tube Co. Ltd.
•Mid 1990s: became Asia’s 1st and India’s largest integrated
steel producer in private sector.
•2001: world’s lowest cost producer of steel.
•2003: declared a turnover of Rs. 98.44 billion with PAT of
Rs. 10.12 billion.
a) The profitability of the steel industry in India is strongly
linked to variations in the business cycle
b) To reduce its dependence on external environment –
TATA Steel adopted a two-pronged strategy of
c) Branding its products
d) Moving to high value products
i. Strong customer focus
ii. 1990s – launched campaigns with taglines like
iii. ‘Customer First – har haal mein’
iv. ‘Customer ki kasam – Hai tayyar hum’
v. 2000 – set up branding task force
vi. Segregated market development, order generation and
order fulfillment functions
vii. Introduced Customer Account Managers
Steeling the Show
"Branding will give rise to a customized product in terms of
value, performance and pricing; it will meet our customers'
needs better. Branding will go a long way in meeting the
challenge of gaining a sustainable competitive edge."
- Mr. B. Muthuraman, Managing Director - Tata Steel,
in February 2003.
Steeling the Show
a) In February 2003, Tata Steel invited the media to Goa for
the nationwide launch of a brand.
b) Brand launches are a regular affair for companies, but
this was different - it was the launch of a Steelium - a
new brand of steel.
c) Tata Steel has been launching branded steel products
Steeling the Show
Company sources felt that branding Steel would help Tata
Steel in two big ways:
1) It would help stabilize the flow of revenues even during
2) It would make premium pricing possible.
Aimed at urban and semi-urban sectors,
the brand promises 'trusted steel for your
Tata Shaktee offers to the consumer GC
Sheets that 'Lasts Longest'.
Tata Agrico products are the most
sought after hand tools and implements
in the country. The brand has been
regarded a the prima donna in its
Tata Bearings is a leader in the auto
ancillary two-wheeler market
segment. It has firm foothold in a
fiercely competitive market.
A new dimension in Steel Tube
Technology opened up in India in
the early 50’s with the
establishment of the Indian Tube
Company Ltd. (ITC).
The 'steel with a soul, 'Tata Steelium' is the first branded
Cold Rolled Steel product in India, if not in the world.
The brand promises superior formability, flatness, surface
quality, thickness consistency and strength.
The country's vast auto ancillaries sector, which till date had
to depend on overseas markets for its major needs, now has
a credible option within the country.
•2002 – hired Booz Allen Hamilton
•Hub and spoke Model
•2003 – shut down 12 stockyards
•Established first hub in Jamshedpur
•Next hubs – Sankrail (Kolkata), Vijaywada (AP),
•Nagpur (MH), Delhi
Co-branding initiatives with its high-end customers such as
Telco, Ashok Leyland
Improving its product mix by introducing high-end
Focus on OEM and Construction sector
Extensive market research and channel management
In a nutshell
You may have the most superior product offering in your
market, but if your market does not believe it, or if they do
not know who you are or what you stand for, this will go
Ultimately, business prospects demand facts.
However, they will also respond to an overt recognition of
their human propensity for emotional stimulation.
At the very least, in the B2B environment a powerful brand
will hold the attention of your prospects and convince them
to process the facts.