Lots of companies do one thing really well. But Tata Group does lots of things well – a much tougher proposition.
Tata was founded in 1868 as a mixed industrial operation that included both steel manufacturing and energy production. Since then, the company has branched out mercilessly across the spectrum of industry, from textile mills to luxury hotels to manufacturing consumer goods like soap and cooking oil. By the middle of the 20th century, Tata had started an airline, an auto company, and a business consultancy, all bearing the Tata name.
Success is clearly driven by the company’s passion for disrupting sleepy industries and acquiring undervalued brands – Tata now owns both Tetley Tea and Jaguar, for example. Its 30 publicly traded divisions have a combined market cap of more than $130 billion.
While pursuing its own fortunes, the company focuses heavily on developing India’s infrastructure and economic power while promoting education and environmental concerns. Meanwhile, a central technology group manages the company’s intensive R&D operation while evangelizing technology programs across the group’s subsidiaries.
If nothing else, Tata sure knows how to keep its management team engaged: In 147 years, the company has had only eight different chairmen.
In the multi-part feature with WIRED Brand Lab, we look at Eight Global Brands That Stand for Spectacular Reinvention. Check all eight stories from the series here.
Rahil Arora leads Lenovo’s Customer Stories program.