Film stars say they value appreciation from their peer group the most, much more than that from the media or even the paying public. If that is true of corporate stars, ITC Chairman Yogi Deveshwar must be a very happy man.
Deveshwar's success in transforming the image of ITC is getting a resounding acknowledgment in the dog-eat-dog world of automobile executives.
Come September 1, Deveshwar will address a group of automobile bigwigs at the annual convention of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, holding forth on image transformation. He will tell them how to change the way automobiles are perceived.
"Today, automobiles, in popular perception, are associated mainly with pollution, congestion and accidents. That is not healthy," says a top functionary of the automobile industry, who intends to hang on to every word of Deveshwar's speech.
SIAM Director-General Dilip Chenoy confirms the participation of Deveshwar, who has, in the past few years, overhauled the image of ITC in such a way that it is associated less with tobacco and more with apparel, food, paper and e-choupals. He is the only speaker in a session on 'Doing business while enhancing the quality of life.'.
Deveshwar's speech is likely to be a highlight of SIAM's annual convention, which is focussed this year on product development and internationalisation.
An image overhaul could be a key factor in setting up new operations, a process already fraught with various kinds of pressure owing to the composition of any local environment.
SIAM's focus on an image overhaul comes close on the heels of its efforts on automobile fitness, protecting the environment and safety. SIAM has been trying to encourage automobile companies to focus on these issues.
Many companies have woken up to these issues. Maruti Udyog has set up a few schools to train drivers, as has Ashok Leyland. The buzz is that Bajaj Auto is planning a training school in Delhi for three-wheeler drivers.