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Brand magicians’ makeover dreams

16-February-2009
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Brand magicians’ makeover dreams

Brands need to undergo changes to lend freshness to them, besides making them relevant to the ever changing consumers. exchange4media got a few brand consultants to name the brands that they would like to breath a new life into and their makeover mantra for them. Find out what the brand magicians have to say.

Harish Bijoor, Brand-strategy specialist and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc:

Satyam: This is a brand that needs a makeover right now. Brands such as Satyam are ‘stretcher cases’. It would be an interesting challenge to revive, resuscitate, build and let the brand gallop again.

The brand needs to be invested with integrity. It requires a big dose of internal branding as well. The task is to ensure that its employees stick to the brand as a magnet for a start. Then there is the B2B task of 1:1 branding, which is re-building of Brand Satyam for every one of its clients and vendors. The final challenge is building the brand for the bruised shareholder of Satyam.

The Indian Muslim: I think there is a very unfair deal being meted out silently to the Indian Muslim at large. The Muslim community has contributed to the purpose of India all these decades since independence. Despite that, due to the acts of a small set of people, the entire community stands tarnished. I believe there has been injustice on this count. Many intellectuals across the board will refuse to talk about this, but the fact remains that there has been a ghettoisation of sorts both physical and mental.

Re-branding the Indian Muslim and creating for a truly secular republic that is secular not only on paper, but secular in the minds of all, is a task that needs to be addressed. This is quite a brand revival task.

The Indian Police Service: I do believe the service does yeomen service to the nation. Despite it all, its brand image is a wee bit shaken and stirred. It has just not got its act together for while now.

There is a need to address the brand needs of the entity. There is a need to build the brand from within first and then showcase it to the user-group everywhere. A need to build a vibrant branding program that puts a benign face to the Service at large, a need to wipe out the scar of corruption that attaches itself as a dog-tag to the Service whenever mentioned. A challenge that is exciting because of the sheer size of the task at hand.

Ramanujam Sridhar, CEO brand-comm:

The Ambassador car: There was a time in our lives when we used to swear by the trusted ‘old reliable’ – the Ambassador car. It could travel thousands of miles with the minimum of maintenance, comfortably seat a large Indian family, take luggage that Indians carry by the tons. And then newer, smarter, more fuel efficient, pricier and yet, less comfortable cars took over our roads and our imagination. Barring a few taxis and a few states like Kerala, it was difficult to find this car on our roads.

Yet, the Ambassador perhaps is a car for our roads, built like no other, evoking a twinge of nostalgia and if properly handled, has an outside chance of being one of the few Indian brands that can be truly iconic. It needs a clear strategy and adequate resources to sustain the branding efforts. And a smart positioning that evokes an inherent sense of nostalgia, but is anchored in the brand’s true utility, could just do the trick. Tricky? Most certainly. Impossible? No.

Amrutanjan: A brand with whom I grew up. It was the magic antidote to life that had its own share of pains. Amrutanjan suffers from the same malady that many archetypal brands suffer. Fatigue, appearing dated and staid in a modern world of younger and less discerning customers, better packaged and promoted competition… sounds familiar?

Yet it is a brand with extensive word of mouth to go for it. Passionate advocates of its value and enduring qualities as a brand that has been around for generations. This is by no means a unique or an irresolvable problem. The brand has performed and can perform in the future. It needs a realistic assessment of its strengths, an understanding of facts and perceptions that are holding it back, and a clear articulation of the strategy that will work today and tomorrow. The ad line if I remember it right, used to translate as “It’s gone”, a reference to the pain that the brand instantly repels. The current problems too could quickly disappear.

(Please note that I have no access to market share figures and I am only being driven by my own personal observations and perceptions.)

Bangalore to Bengaluru to chaos: A few years ago I was at Johannesburg to watch the World Cup Cricket and I literally bumped into someone at the queue. I apologised and he instantly asked “Indian?” I said “yes” and volunteered “Bangalore”, to which his eyes instantly lit up “Oh software?” he said. Yes, Bangalore has been a true brand, recognised globally and a brand that has put India on the map.

Yet Bangalore is throwing away the head start. Today, if you went for word associations, the first association would be “traffic jam”. The city that spawned millionaires and technology geeks is now spawning jokes like ‘In most parts of the world people drive on the left of the road, whilst in Bangalore people drive on what is left of the road’. Throw in a name change by a parochial, shortsighted and lackadaisical government and you have the current confusion that is engulfing the brand.

The brand is crying for a champion; someone who can take ownership for it, make decisions and make it stand for something unique that it so inherently can boast of. Bangalore can well be the “knowledge capital” of India. It has the capability but someone must have the political will.

Anand Narasimha, Brand Consultant:

Prime Time Television:

Problem: Has become stereotyped and formula driven, with the same repackaged and recycled content.

Solution: Seek fresh, out-of-the-box content, that keeps surprising and engaging viewers

Transformation: From an Idiot Box to a Pandora’s Box

Amul:

Problem: Once the darling of every mother and child, it is caught in a time warp and fast losing connect with today’s generation.

Solution: Re-energise the brand with values that excite and strike a chord with Gen X.

Transformation: From the Taste of India to the Flavour of Young India.

The Indian Advertising Industry:

Problem: In worshiping the ritual (processes/fundas), it has forgotten the God (great ideas), leading to commoditisation.

Solution: Make ideas its religion – create, believe in, market and be accountable for ideas.

Transformation: From delivering ads to game changing ideas.

Emery says everything that Unilever CMO Keith Weed says has a touch of genius. He also talks about his expectations from Cannes, WPP without Sir Martin Sorrell and his love for Mindshare India.

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