I recently had a chance to conduct a session on branding in Sir J. J. Institute of Applied Art, the college where I graduated from. The students attending the session were aware of branding related terms and used them often, but they were more acquainted with the field of advertising. For them, I thought it is better to start with the basics. So, I led these students through a session with an imaginary yet real life example at the core. The following article has been chalked out from that session.
A couple of weeks ago, I visited my Maasi’s (Aunt’s) place only to find that Maasi was furious with my cousin. She was seething with anger, whereas he was comfortably sitting on the couch, rocking his head to the beat of the song on his headphones. His face was trying hard to keep up the mask of ‘I don’t care’ but his flared nostrils clearly told me that he was also equally angry with Maasi.
The same old story of almost every Indian household!
Parents want their child to pursue one thing and the child has plans from some other thought planet altogether. Parents think that they know what is best for their child and the child thinks that parents do not know how to dream. And, only a fraction of them have the good sense to discuss and plan the child’s future according to his abilities and interests.
Let us imagine an ideal story.
In some metro city, say, Mumbai, lives a happily married couple. Both of them, veteran athletes. Typically, they desire their child to grow up to become an athlete as well.
As time passes and love grows, they have a baby. A healthy and strong baby boy with blue eyes. They name him ‘Nilaksh’ which literally translates to ‘the one with the blue eyes’. He quickly becomes everyone’s favourite and anyone who meets him, doesn’t ever forget him. And, why would they? Yes, the boy is cute, but how often do you meet a blue eyed boy in your life named ‘Nilaksh’?
Nilaksh starts kicking the football as soon as he starts walking and boy, are his parents happy! They, especially his dad, are on cloud nine because he is a footballer himself. He starts playing with him regularly and as Nilaksh grows up, he also starts training him. He teaches him the virtues of an athlete; how an athlete should be an adaptable, fit, hardworking and most importantly, a humble human being. Time and again, Nilaksh’s parents keep guiding him to develop his body and mind to become a footballer.
Once in his primary school, Nilaksh quickly becomes one of the most known students. Thanks to the sweet gimmick that his name is and his personality. The coach of the school football team has observed Nilaksh often during the sports period and knows that the kid plays pretty well. In 5th grade, Nilaksh goes to the tryouts and gets selected. He starts playing as the centre forward, the position that he has always coveted. Despite being a neat player, it doesn’t seem to be working out well for him. Nilaksh’s father grows concerned and decides to talk to the coach about this. The coach, who has already been observing Nilaksh’s game for a couple of months tells him to rest assured.
The next day, the coach calls Nilaksh and suggests, “Try playing defence, it’ll suit you more”. Voila! He starts shining! In less than a year, Nilaksh becomes the star defender in the inter-school zones. Gradually, he reaches the state level. He finds himself surrounded by really good and gifted players and Nilaksh is happy with the competition. He takes it as a challenge and keeps practicing, making himself better each day.
A few years later, when he is in the 10th grade, Nilaksh realizes that he’s been playing for quite a few years now. Growing up in the digital age, he naturally thinks that it’s an opportune time to create his Instagram page and share how he trains, how he plans his diet, tutorials about football skills, his slow motion videos from the matches that he has played etc. He feels that it is worth sharing and well, when has it ever been wrong to flaunt what you’re good at!
He starts consciously maintaining his account. The quality of his content attracts a lot of players and enthusiasts. Slowly and steadily, he starts growing his follower base. A couple of years later, he becomes an influencer! He is well known across the country, thanks to his content and the reach of social media.
Nilaksh’s dedication and determination lands him one day in the national team selections. When he enters the field with his team, one of the selectors goes, “Hey! I know that chap! He’s pretty good!”. Being a selector and a talent scout, he’s always on the lookout for talent, both on the court and off it. And naturally, he already happens to be Nilaksh’s Instagram follower.
In that tournament, Nilaksh and defenders of two other teams play particularly well.
It’s not hard to guess who got selected.
The kid defends for the Indian team now.
His parents are happy and satisfied.
They saw their desire actualize in front of their eyes.
Let’s re-analyze this story from the perspective of brand building –
An athlete couple desired for their child to become an athlete.
They had a baby, a strong and healthy child.
Product with potential
The child starts showing interest in football; his parents think of guiding him to be a footballer seeing how much he enjoys it.
They name their child with a thought; a name matching his eyes – a unique and visible part of his personality which makes his name highly memorable. Once they have a vision that suits him as well, they start developing his body, mind and overall personality like that of an athlete.
Branding – Development of an Identity
Despite being a good athlete, when Nilaksh does not shine as a centre forward, the coach advices him to play at the defending position after observing his game closely.
Strategy – Positioning
There are a lot of other good and gifted players around Nilaksh as he grows and advances to higher levels.
Nilaksh is known across the country because of the content on his Instagram handle. People recognize him.
Advertising – Strategically planned publicity
A member from selection panel of the National Team is Nilaksh’s Instagram follower. He praises him in front of the panel before he even starts playing. This creates a good impression about Nilaksh.
Reaching the right target audience
Nilaksh plays well in the tournament.
The product giving the quality that is promised
He becomes the defender of the Indian team. His parents are satisfied and happy.
Realization of the desire and the vision
He is improving every day. He plays on a good platform. He is admired; he is doing well.
A successful brand
When all these factors – Vision, Brand Positioning, Brand Personality, Brand Identity, Product Quality and Experience, Advertising etc. – work in harmony and complement each other, a desired brand image is formed.
This way, people start connecting with a brand and giving it preference over others. Repeated positive interactions with the brand start generating Brand Equity. And this is how the process of brand building takes place.
Branding is not only about creating a logo, catchy slogans and pretty visuals; it is about how much research and thought has gone into its foundation, how it has been built and improved gradually and how consciously all of what has been invested is sustained over time.
Born in Mumbai and brought up in a family of thinkers and storytellers, Kabir is a quick learner who enjoys living life the slow, steady way. This commercial art graduate from Sir J. J. Institute of Applied Art thinks that true aesthetics emerge from beautiful thoughts and beautiful thoughts from rich experiences. He believes that great design is already there, waiting to be discovered.