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How often do we pause and ponder about industry issues that have a bearing beyond just our rigmaroles? Share insights that can further the common understanding? Or, at the very least, point at things that need to be set right. View Point - an exchange4media platform, will fill this void and become a source of understanding, action and perhaps some inspiration.

What's your brand's chakra reading?


Mythili Chandrasekar, VP and Executive Planning Director, JWT

How India can give the world the most holistic way to realize a brand’s full potential: Drawing inspiration from a 2000-year-old system.

Move over, need states, archetype researches, equity studies. Move over Jung, Haylen, Kapferer! Here comes Patanjali.

It has been around for 2,000 years. It's in Chinese medicine. In Tibetan Buddhism. In the Jewish Kabbalah. Even in Sufism. And it's used in modern-day pranic healing. But it's first mentioned in the Upanishads, laid out by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras.

The chakra theory. It is psychology that is based on physiology and encompasses spirituality. The seven basic energy centres in our bodies, the chakras — the base of the spine, the abdomen, the solar plexus, the heart, up to the throat, the third eye, the crown — correlate not only to levels of consciousness but also to archetypes and personality dimensions that shape everything from our fundamental values and beliefs to fears, desires, motivations, habits and day-to-day behaviour. From the physical and the emotional, through the social and the creative, right up to the universal.

Seven overriding themes: survival; pleasure; power; love; creativity; transcendence; surrender.

Seven orientations to the self: self-preservation; self-gratification; self-definition; self-acceptance; self-expression; self-reflection; self-knowledge.

Seven rights that preoccupy us: the right to be here; the right to feel and want; the right to act; the right to love and be loved; the right to speak and be heard; the right to see; the right to know.

The simple theory is that even though every person experiences all of these energy centres to some degree, certain chakras will tend to be more dominant for some than for others. So a more artistic person may have the fourth chakra emphasized, an intellectual or innovator and visionary may have the fifth chakra emphasized, a power-seeker may have the third chakra dominant, and so on.

Since the chakras are about understanding yourself, your strengths, your problems, finding balances and solutions, and realizing your potential, and since we have always looked at brands as people, why not use the chakra system to look at brands? After all, with every brand struggling in different ways, and old rules getting rewritten every other day, marketers are more than ever before looking for new tools to approach brands.

Besides, India has always followed Western ways of thinking on brands. At a time when the Indian way is finding its voice in all spheres, it's time the advertising, market research and brand management fraternity dug into Indian philosophy and psychology, and tapped into uniquely Indian approaches to holistic brand health.

Brands and their chakras

So, what is your brand's dominating chakra?

Is it a Muladhara brand? Does it enhance the will to live, offer energy, fearlessness, stability, freedom from drudgery, bring abundance and physical strength, and support the urge to survive? Or is it a Swaddisthana, catering to anxiety about attractiveness, need for escape, adding positivism, magnetism, joy of living, and partnering in the pursuit of pleasure? A Manipura? Does it reflect courage, self-esteem, persistence, leadership, goodwill and right actions, or is it compensating for a lack of self-confidence and empowerment? Perhaps it's an Anahata brand, bringing harmony, calmness, generosity, grace, cooperation, unconditional love. Or is your brand all about higher creativity, the embodiment of Vishuddha, the search for truth, clear thinking, accuracy and perceptiveness and artistic expression? Or, if it's higher up in the great Indian spiral, it could be Ajna, in the territory of active intelligence, wisdom, willpower, the ability to direct. Or is it Sahasara, enlightenment, wholeness, positive transformation, inner peace, enthusiasm and fulfillment?

But beyond that, can we build our brands’ essences by defining its every chakra, its total chakra profile? What does your brand's heart say? Its throat, its third eye? What is your brand’s idea of pleasure and sexuality? What is its view of spirituality? Given the rumblings today that brands need not stand for just one thing, but perhaps can be multi faceted, and given that the Indian way has always advised balance, the chakra system can actually allow brand teams to delve deeper and define the brand much more holistically, going on to help design brand conversations at different levels. Since charkas are about “aura” and “energy” and so are brands, is there something to learn there?

What is your brand's chakra reading according to your core users or your lapsed users? Is it what you want it to be? What about your target group? What are their driving life themes? Which chakra are they in? Are they balanced or deficient or excessive? How can you correct your brand's chakras — which dimension should you strengthen or lighten — to answer your target group's needs best and play a better role in their lives? Are there life themes that your brand is not satisfying and therefore new product and portfolio opportunities?

A holistic approach

Unlike conventional tools, which are largely diagnostic, the chakra system is analytical and prescriptive, and can enable brands to chart out actionable paths. It's a system that could potentially offer a far more cohesive, integrated solution, so that marketers will not have to look at different and disparate pieces of research — leaving us with a lot of information, sometimes in silos, which we often cannot fuse and use.

A single system of analysis that can be applied to target types, need states, brand essence, holistic brand profiling, even societal trends. A system of analysis we could use to map India as a whole. Are power definitions and pleasure points and love expressions changing? Going further, how does the pursuit of pleasure in India compare with the pursuit of pleasure in China? If you are in eight countries, how does the chakra reading of your target group and brand vary from market to market? How do brands in different categories operate in a particular chakra? How do people in different chakra states connect with brands?

So fundamental. So Indian. So universal. So all-encompassing.

Like only an Indian idea can be.

(Mythili Chandrasekar is Senior VP and Executive Planning Director, JWT.

Brand Chakras™ is a proprietary JWT toolkit.)

(The author is Senior VP and Executive Planning Director, JWT.
Brand Chakras™ is a proprietary JWT toolkit. www.brandchakras.com)

 
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