The rupee agenda

Money is world’s biggest commodity. It’s a perishable resource. Having money in hand does not guaranty success. If money was a differentiator than brands launched by big companies would never fail and those by smaller companies will never succeed. In early civilization it was precious metals that were used for transactions. In today’s age bullion has given way to paper or plastic.

No wonder there are a very few currencies that have a symbol. Historically the US Dollar, UK Pound, Japanese Yen and European Euro are the only currencies that have a symbol. Now India joins the elite club. Rupee now has a symbol.

So how do we transition Rupee now that we have chosen a logo?

The transition from commodity to a brand is a step by step process. The name is the first step that helps in creating recognition. Creating brand promise is the second step. Having created the promise the brand needs to create an advantage that will help it create preference. And finally the brand needs to nurture a long term relationship for it to create long lasting loyalty.
We have taken the first step with the creation of the symbol. Very soon the symbol will appear on the key boards and the world will know our currency with the new symbol. This really is the start of journey for the Rupee. We cannot stop here, we should not be happy with just having a recognizable symbol. The second step of creating the brand promise is long and arduous. Just for example look at Chinese Renminbi (or Yuan). It doesn’t have a symbol, at least not as yet, but is a far more powerful currency. It has greater weight (higher salience) and greater importance (higher market share) in the world of finance. It looks like that despite not having a logo, the brand has greater promise. The Rupee will increasingly have to battle likes of Renminbi (China), Rouble (Russia) and Real (Brazil). Our economy will have to continue to grow in years to come for the promise to come alive. We will have to work hard to trade in our own currency; we will have to ensure that our weight age in global money market keeps on increasing. This is neither going to be easy nor going to be quick.

The third step of creating preference is going to be a real challenge. Global markets are not going to trade with us in our currency. More importantly our own exports are not going to be linked to Rupee. Dollar and Euro will continue to be the benchmarks. This is where the inherent strengths of a brand have to play a critical role. The strength of our brand is a robust domestic market, a high growth economy and stable monetary policy. This however will need to be backed by growth is market share in world economy. Till we don’t increase our share in global GDP, preference for rupee will remain a distant goal.

And this leads to the issue of enduring relationship. This is the most difficult part. For the new relationship to start, it needs to change some existing relationships. Change in relationships requires multiple triggers, triggers that usually the brand cannot do on its own. Promise and preference help in triggering the new relationship.

We have taken the first step; we have created the identity for Rupee. The journey ahead is long, and a lot needs to be accomplished.

Published at on 19th July 2010

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