TLG, in partnership with international research consultancy firm GlobeScan, launched the index wherein government ministers, directors of blue chip companies and newspaper editors were asked to identify corporate brands with the power to change the attitudes and behaviour of consumers, employees or politicians -- defined as "Thought Leaders".
The list of top 20 firms was peppered with Indian brands including Larsen & Toubro (5th), State Bank of India (7th), Life Insurance Corporation of India (12th), Bharti Airtel (13th), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (14th), Aditya Birla Group (15th), The Oberoi Group (16th), HDFC Bank (17th), Dr Reddy's Laboratories (18th) and Ranbaxy Laboratories (19th).
"... Absence of many 'Western' major brands from the top 20 may concern CEOs who are trying to crack the BRICs. They need to refocus their energies on telling their leadership story," TLG Founder Malcolm Gooderham said.
The Top 10 features two joint ventures between local and overseas companies. The JVs are Maruti-Suzuki (4th) and Hindustan Unilever (9th).
Commenting on the findings, GlobeScan Research Director Oliver Martin said, "As the public's faith in corporate leadership is declining in India, companies must excel in business innovation and progressive CSR to retain a Thought Leadership position."
The top-ranked foreign firm is Google, which enters the index at number three, followed by Nokia at sixth rank and Facebook at eighth position.
"Western firms that succeed (Google, Nokia and Facebook) are those that adapt their models to local conditions, or ones that form JVs with locals in the driving seat (Suzuki, Unilever)," the report said.
Google, through its YouTube platform, streams live Indian Premier League cricket matches, while Facebook offers mobile access for a special rate of 1 rupee a day.
Interestingly, Apple, which leads the pack in Britain and America, failed to corner a place for itself in the top 20 list in India. Apple's failure to adapt its business model to local tastes and budgets was vastly responsible for its inability to crack India.
"Indian consumers can buy a new Tata Nano car for the same price as three Apple iPhones," the report said.