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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

IMARK - Where do we go from here?

By Udit Chaudhuri
Photography: Courtesy Imark Team, IDC

India Design Mark 2013
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India Design Mark is two batches old. Now India Inc must ask itself some tough questions…

The award of India Design Mark for product excellence is a model of inclusive selection. The ‘Imark’ recipients’ display shows coffee-vending machines rubbing shoulders with deodorants, scooters and office furniture, bulldozers and eye-snugs,  cars and bird-spikes, instruments and herbals ... giants like Ingersoll Rand, General Motors, Wipro, Mahindra and Godrej rubbing shoulders with hot-shops Milcent, ABCTL, The Doodle Factory and Manabay Intertrade. Moreover going beyond borders, India Design Council (IDC) admits products that meet two of the three criteria: Made in India; Designed in India; Sold in India. Here scores the Chevy Beat!

India Design Mark 2013
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India Design Mark 2013
Eye Snug A Doodle

Unlike typical creative or design awards, adjudging product excellence involves all functions related to fulfilling customers’ wants and needs. The ‘Imark’ jury extends to professionals from manufacturing, marketing and compliance areas besides design. We wish some industry luminaries gave their time and not just names to this daunting task, which finally selects one in every ten aspirants. Evaluation, as per Hrridaysh Deshpande of the IDC, who coordinates this effort, is holistic. From 2014 onward, a system will guide those below the mark to make it.

India Design Mark 2013
Bird Deterrent Spikes

Unfortunately, while the IDC has guidelines on reproducing and applying the ‘Imark,’ it has neither made its on-product display mandatory nor has it reserved a right to inspect. Consequently, the ‘Imark’ has no proven on-product visibility. This could be its undoing, unless redressed.

India Design Mark 2013
D VA Solar Lamp

Some businessmen doubt the worth of such a mark. Will it stimulate sales? Will it add value to the product? Sure it will, if the ‘reverse endorsement’ continues, wherein the ‘Imark’ reinforces a customer’s loyalty to respected brands, which must live up to their promise of excellence. Here is a stamp for thoroughbreds, meticulously put together by no less than the apex design body, the India Design Council. It will need to market the ‘Imark’, educate and encourage customers like the once-powerful Bombay Consumer Goods Society did with its ‘Agmark’.

India Design Mark 2013
Godrej Aer Twist


India Design Mark 2013
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India Inc needs to re-think its strategies. This resurgence of manufacturing has come with challenges that give a big edge to producers with scientific management, pursuing reliable and economic processes and a customer focus. Lip service to innovation, hiring European hot-shops or staffing up cosmetic design teams is as no-go as a blind buy-Chinese or copy-master approach. Creativity must be a Mission; but, how many Indian companies place design professionals in their core teams?


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