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Let's create brand equity for Lucknow

india Updated: Jan 10, 2011 21:56 IST

Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The state capital has grown from a laidback city to a buzzing one. Its topography, infrastructure and mindset of people have undergone rapid transformation. But, Lucknow has yet not been marketed well the way Delhi, Mumbai or UP's very own Noida and Ghaziabad have been. It's time to do just that - to hardsell Lucknow as a city that offers 'everything for everyone'

The name 'Lucknow' still brings passion to the hearts of several sensitive, intellectually evolved and culturally inclined people in many parts of India and abroad. They say the city has a class of its own and the changing times have broadened its horizons.

Already a mini-metro, the city today can be compared with the best cities in India in terms of the quality of life it offers. Lucknow already boasts of most of the amenities of a metro and yet retains the distinctive charm of a cohesive and harmonious town. It surely offers that rare blend where both the worlds co-exist.

Best of both the worlds:

The state capital already has five and three-star hotels, clubs, resorts, specialty restaurants, health clubs, lush green parks and golf courses. There are multiple foreign banks, telecom operators, reasonably well-laid roads, modern housing, good schooling, vocational education and above-average healthcare facilities. The multiplexes and malls have also added an interesting dimension to the city with international brands and global fast food chains having firmly set their footprints here. In addition, an international airport with several airlines operating a number of flights has improved the city's connectivity. Also, the city is already a significant scientific research hub. Above all, the cost of living and doing business is appreciably lower than all metros.

Lucknow's potential by way of becoming an education hub, an IT-BPO destination, a biotechnology hotspot, and a medical tourism city have been emphasised time and again because of its several inherent strengths. It is also a fascinating destination for tourists because of its rich cultural heritage and several historical monuments.

If packaged, productized and promoted well, Lucknow can arguably turn India's existing golden triangle into a pleasant trapezium by becoming its fourth coordinate.

Positioning and branding Lucknow:

Several other Indian cities which used to lag behind Lucknow till a couple of decades ago have moved ahead more aggressively and have created a niche for themselves by way of their infrastructural and economic focus. It is time that we position and brand Lucknow appropriately - not only among our fellow citizens to create a greater sense of pride - but also enhance the cityty's appeal amongst visitors and potential investors from India and abroad. Lucknow needs to create a long-term vision for itself and formulate its 'mission' immediately commencing from 2011 itself. Based on my ongoing and varied interactions with various stakeholders, I propose the following vision and mission for brand 'Lucknow' to set its continuing development directions leading to its enhanced competitiveness.

Vision for brand 'Lucknow':

To accelerate its march towards becoming one of the most sought-after cities countrywide by plugging most of the big-ticket infrastructural, municipal, enforcement and implementation gaps, leading to a significantly enhanced quality of life, human development and business eco-system resulting into the delight of citizens, visitors and investors from across the globe.

Mission brand 'Lucknow' for 2011

1. To emerge as one of the leading tourism destinations in India by packaging, productizing and promoting the city as a premier Nawabi and British Raj heritage destination with a unique culture, culinary delights, musical brilliance and rich arts & crafts.
2. To firmly establish itself as a major knowledge hub in India providing top-quality school and professional education covering the streams of engineering, science, business, medical sciences and scientific research.
3. To attract significant investments in IT-ITeS, bio-technology, medical tourism and select manufacturing sectors.

Institutional requirements

The following institutional imperatives can indeed do wonders for Lucknow's allround development by way of tweaking the government machinery for greater effectiveness.
1. An apex body with teeth to own the city's entire urban development process managed by top-notch professionals (multiple government agencies involved with city's development to report to this body)
2. Strong and formalised citizen community's participation in the planning and implementation process
3. Strong traffic management and road regulation authority
4. Sensitive, responsive and friendly policing authority
5. Large scale municipal reforms

Tap its latent potential:

There is a huge but yet untapped potential for Lucknow's emergence as a hot and happening city of the future that is well connected with its roots. However, the city needs to shun its laid-back attitude, bureaucratic red-tape and 'chalta-hai' syndrome. Fortunately, some positive changes are already visible in this direction. This trend would surely skyrocket Lucknow's brand equity as a many-splendoured mega-city on the move!

(About the Author: Jayant Krishna has been passionately propelling a few initiatives in the areas of development, governance. He is principal consultant and head, TCS-Lucknow. He also is the chairman off CII's UP State Council)


(Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats)

Strengths
1.Excellent Quality of life
2.Low cost base
3.Great heritage value
4.Good education infrastructure and talent availability
5.Good urban infrastructure
6.Great consumer market with huge purchasing power
7.City with a distinct character and culture
8.Ongoing beautification drive
9.Excellent new urban investments under JNNURM
10.International airport
11.Well planned housing colonies
12.Multiple 5 and 3 stars hotels, malls, multiplexes, golf courses, clubs, etc.
13.100% power availability
14.Above-average healthcare infrastructure

Weaknesses
1.Inadequate flagship investments from industry (except Tata Motors, TCS, Aegis and HAL)
2.Inadequate hunger to solicit private sector investments
3.No international flights except to the Middle East
4.Poor traffic and road management & regulation

Opportunities
1.Big-time tourism destination
2.An IT-BPO hub
3.LIDA(Lucknow Industrial Development Authority) as a major industrial hub
4.Metro Rail
5.SEZs
6.World-class commercial and housing infrastructure
7.Direct flights to London & Singapore
8.Medical tourism
9.Bio-technology & scientific research
10.Land available for industrial development

Why Tourism?
1. Rich European & Mughal/Nawabi Heritage
2. Monuments with Nawabi as well as Colonial architecture
3. Delightful experience along with music and Kathak dance
4. Lucknavi culinary with 'dumpukht' and mughlai delicacies
5. Sham-e-Awadh simulations and heritage tours
6. Shopping experience with items such as Chikan, Zardozi, Kamdani, Itar perfumes and several handicraft items

Threats
1. Speed with which other competing cities in India are moving ahead
2. Indifferent perception of brand 'Lucknow' from an investment perspective elsewhere in India
3. Huge industrial development infrastructure available elsewhere in the country

Demand drivers
1. State Capital (State Capital Region- SCR proposed)
2. Huge availability of talent / skilled manpower
3. Availability of land all around the city for development
4. Good quality of life driving people to settle down
5. Excellent school and engineering level education infrastructure
6. 100% power supply
7. Low cost of doing business
8. Large consumer market with purchasing power
9. Good urban infrastructure
10. Good rail-road-air connectivity
11. Excellent social infrastructure
12. Tourism
13. Huge industrial possibilities in LIDA
14. IT-BPO industry poised to grow in SEZs

Why IT-BPO?
1. Annual capacity of 1,40,000 engineers in UP
2. City an epicenter of engineering talent belt comprising Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, etc.
3. Abundant talent availability with huge pool of graduates
4. Anchor investments in place with TCS for IT and Aegis for BPO
5. Software Technology Park in place
6. Excellent social infrastructure
7. Proposed IT SEZ