Brand Owner’s Summit: Gyaan samajh mein aaya?

“Rest was my biggest competitor” was a quote that left a packed audience at AMA Auditorium, Ahmedabad compel to give a standing ovation to Darshan Patel, the owner of Vini Cosmetics and Paras Pharmaceuticals.

The Brand Summit, a two-day event organised by afaqs.com was brimming with energy and branding gyaan abounding in generous measure, changing the perspectives of one looks at brands and I thought of sharing few gems I stumbled upon:Image

To begin with, the context of the line ‘rest was my biggest competitor’, wasn’t about working relentlessly akin to the ‘aaraam haraam hain’ school of thought, but the fact that when the brand Moov was launched, the marketing team faced a dilemma of positioning it.

With changing times, people had wised up in avoiding sprains and as for backaches, the only seeming solution was to take rest for a while and lo and behold, your back was back to work. Hence, ‘rest’ was the company’s biggest competitor.

The Moov team chose to follow the mantra, ‘If you can’t beat your enemy, join them’, positioning Moov as something that people can apply before going to sleep so that they can sleep better. A simple strategy of this kind worked wonders for the brand, aah se aaha tak!

One couldn’t help feeling awe-inspired by the insights shared at the event, where people like R.S. Sodhi from Amul remarked during a panel discussion saying, “Commonsense trumps both research and instinct.” The discussion reached its penultimate level with Darshan Patel’s blunt retort, “Risk taking is higher in the case of entrepreneurs because it’s their own money they’re playing with. Managers take calculated risks as it is someone else’s money at stake.”

The statement could surely be taken with a pinch of salt (or some pepper too), as the manager’s job, too, might be at stake if he/she goes on spending funds on research and promotions of a brand without much results to boast of. Nevertheless, the man had a point worth pondering over. He connected with his audience the best (with his ‘ungrammatical’ English notwithstanding) when he said, “When we thought of launching the product ‘Livon’, I just asked my wife if she’d like to use a product that untangled her hair after washing and she said yes. It was one of the few products that came from observation rather than research.”

The rapid fire round had an interesting question for him which had potential of putting him in a dilemma when he was asked, “If you had to choose between the results of a research report and your wife’s feedback, whom would you trust?” After a brief caesura, Darshan Patel was quick to respond, “My wife, because I know she would never give me the wrong feedback.” Needless to say, his response left the audience in splits.

Santosh Desai from Futurebrands was supposed to be the second speaker but ended up being the last, but he made up for it with his insightful presentation on branding. Desai’s version had more of human touch and basic emotions than ‘quote-worthy’ gyaan-liners. His perception towards brand is as simple as ‘being oneself’ (being human?). One couldn’t help agreeing with him when he cited the example of Apple, which changed our way of seeing a machine like computer.

Suddenly, computers became an enabler that empowers one to explore their potentials rather than just another computing and storing machine. “Apple married the notion of beauty with machine and individualised it. So, branding is being who you are and being true to the idea of your stand, not about selling,” he said while addressing to an audience listening in rapt attention.

Desai asserted that powerful brands go beyond what consumers say and listen to the whispers of their soul – something that even consumers aren’t aware of. His example of religion as the best example of brand building, right from the logo (religious symbols), brochures (scriptures), to retail outlets (shrines) garnered a resounding response from all and sundry.

The response was so positive that I noticed the sound guy at the backstage abandoned his sound console for a while just to witness the revelation on stage. Now this speaks volumes about communication. What use is a communication on branding if a common man couldn’t understand. After the event, I casually chatted up with the sound guy asking him, “Kuch samajh mein aaya?” He nodded and asked, “Kyun aapko nahin aaya?” A foot in mouth moment, indeed.

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