Showcasing Tajness


Keynote by Rakesh Sarna at the #PorterPrize On Showcasing Tajness: Building the brand- Taj

The inspiration has been to care for all of our stakeholders- colleagues, guests, neighbors, communities, vendors and shareholders.

It is us who have a collective responsibility and we must take a pledge to clean, educate and skill this country. Only then can India become competitive.

It was 113 years ago when Jamshedji N Tata gifted this nation and the world of hotels a temple of hospitality known as the Taj. What he gave us was essentially a strategy that we follow till today. This strategy has been guiding us the way to behave and grow consequently. The inspiration has been to care for all of our stakeholders- colleagues, guests, neighbors, communities, vendors and shareholders. Hence, ‘Tajness’ is more of a brand structure demonstrating our overall strategy, which has been based on decisions gathered through empirical data. We have come to understand that we should stick to what we are good at. This is exactly what has been guiding us and will guide us in developing our human capital, one based on a performance management system together with affection and care.

 Since all the businesses have difficulties and turbulent times in their kitties, we have had ours too on numerous occasions. For example, not long ago we were facing a balance sheet that looked tired by all means. We had an army of human capital that felt rejected and faced a development pipeline that did not have much oxygen in it. However, the mere fact of all of us being associated with a brand that has been long standing under the shadow of Jamshedji gave us the inspiration and the energy to make big changes. Although we have failed several times, we can still get answers from the strategies that were laid by the founders many years back.

We are very fortunate to welcome formidable global brands that bring in new technologies, loyalty programs, search engines and all the associated credibility in our country but why not take ‘Tajness’ to greater heights not just for the company but for the country? We are aware that if we perform in a sustained manner, we will begin to make a greater difference in comparison to all our competitors.

If India wants to be a moral leader on the world stage then it must get two things in right direction:  First is cleanliness and the second is the self-esteem of our fellow citizens. When Prime Minister Modi had appealed to all of us to clean up our country, we saw a huge opportunity to take brand India all over the world and posit her the next big thing. Then, what are we waiting for? Are we being mere 125 crores pairs of hands that are waiting for somebody else to come and clean our very own country? The answer is no. It is time to make India as competitive as our companies are turning out to be. 

Another important caveat is we must work towards giving our citizens a skill set and hence a sense of self-esteem. We often talk about the celebrated demographic dividend but if that dividend does not know how to read, write and do arithmetic or have any skill then they will become a liability as opposed to being an asset. That is the basic question that we need to ask ourselves to get India become as the next superpower of the world! It is us who have a collective responsibility and we must take a pledge to clean, educate and skill this country. Only then can India become competitive.

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