Tag Archives: Branding

What is a brand ?

Of late I have been asked by quite a few people about branding and what are the steps to become a brand but today I was asked a good question, What is a Brand or better put Define a Brand.

Wikipedia says : A brand is a name or trademark connected with a product or producer. Brands have become increasingly important components of culture and the economy, now being described as “cultural accessories and personal philosophies”.

FreeDictionary.com says :

    A trademark or distinctive name identifying a product or a manufacturer.
    A product line so identified: a popular brand of soap.
    A distinctive category; a particular kind

apart from a 100 other definitions.

Let’s talk practical : Shahrukh Khan is a brand, Farhan Akhtar is not; Harsha Bhogle is a brand, Arun Lal is not; Michael Jackson is a brand (yes, he still is), Rakhi Sawant is NOT. Even though I did write about her sometime back and that too in relation to branding, but she never was and can never be.

Shahrukh Khan
In terms of product value, I will say they are brands because the first thing is that THEY SELL. Any Shahrukh film just sells, even though the promos have not been good, even though the film is crap, even though it may have no other superstar in it, what matters is it sells. Same does not hold for Farhan Akhtar.

If Harsha Bhogle is on air, everyone listens to him, his name sells there. The same is not true in the case of an Arun Lal or a Rameez Raja, even though they are seen commentating on all channels and are all over the place, people may listen but do not respect their commentary.

Brand Michael Jackson

Brand Michael Jackson


An MJ album used to sell without even people listening his songs, they just bought. His shows were a sellout because people knew its M-I-C-H-A-E-L J-A-C-K-S-O-N who’s performing. However old he grew, his shows were always a sellout. He was a household name, even my dad knows his name, even though he never heard a single song of him. On the contrary, even though Rakhi Sawant is a household name, but is her show watched on each and every person ? Though people like me watched a few of her tv appearances, but did we watch it because of Rakhi? No is the answer, and what’s more is that more people switched channels when they saw her on air.

So who is a brand ? Let me tell what does not define it. Any person/product/company which catches the eye of the people simply is NOT termed a brand. It is a necessary condition but not a sufficient one. Something which fades away with time is NOT one. Negative publicity does NOT make one.

A brand is something/someone/product or company which :

    is famous (the primary condition)
    has earned respect in the society (society may be a variable term here, but constitutes of people who do not know or are NOT associated with the brand personally)
    has value (the product is good or the person has excelled professionally or the company has done exceptionally good business)
    which sells outright (does not need much of marketing)
    raises eyeballs every now and then, with positive actions or sometimes even with neutral ones
    no of people who love the brand >>> no of people who hate it (yes you ought-to/must have those who hate you)
    does not become news for negative reasons

May be you can add more points ? I put what I could recall of but I guess you may have much more to add, looking forward to discuss and learn more from you people.

How a bad Advertisement timing can spoil your Brand Value

I recently came across an advertisement in The Economic Times, a national daily newspaper arguably read by each and every businessman across the country. The ad started with the words :

Kind Attention CMD’s, CEO’s, COO’s and top management

Following the address, it had information regarding the program which was succeeded with a 2 line statement about advertiser’s background. Now I guess we can imagine how much information can be dispensed in a 3″x4″ ad. And hence as a result of which the ads are always suffixed with a website link, an email id and a contact no, assuming the advertiser and the addressed people have enough technology exposure. You must be thinking so what’s wrong in this ? Nothing ! Absolutely correct.
The website has a single page and that page contains nothing more than a 1 paragraph information of the company. There are 4 other links on the website, one of which links to a related external site, good enough. But out of the other 3 links, 2 do not work. The last one says “News”. Hoping that this will have information at least about the ad, I clicked that link. And guess did I see.

This post has been deleted.

I assume that, okay, the website might be having some problems so I pick up my phone to call on the given number. You can’t believe what reply I got,

Please check the number you have dialed !!!

What my first reaction was, I probably cannot write here.  Still assuming that IT’S OKAY,  there might be a printing mistake, I gathered  some courage and clicked on the only link that was working (the linking to an external site). That website, though functional,  also did not have any info about the advertisement. Somhow I found a landline contact no and I had full confidence that atleast this should be working. Alas! it was not to be. No, the numbers were correct, but none of them was recieved. I dialled both the numbers but to no avail.

Harms caused by bad timing

Harms caused by bad timing

Can you imagine what sort of impression would this sort of campaign do. It’s done more damage than you can imagine. The website’s not ready, has no information, the news section says post deleted, the mobile numbers don’t exist and nobody is bothered or responsible enough to recieve the landline calls. Waaaoow ! I am impressed. And in case you forgot, then I may remind you that the post was addressed to CEO’S, COO’S and CMD’S. No, I am not anyone of those, but yes I do own an organization or rather a startup I should say and the advertiser is connected to me due to previous background.

Things they lost from all this :

Trust :   Confidence :   Loyalty :   Growth/Business (for a short term and with some concerned people at least) : and the most important BRAND VALUE, if they had any.

Lesson to be learnt : If your soldiers aren’t ready, don’t FIRE !

This is a perfect example why you should synchronize your advertising and marketing/branding campaigns. Probably they should have waited at least till the date the website is ready. Since a bad impression lasts longer in the human brain, I guess next time such or may be any ad from the same organization, wouldn’t be treated trustworthy or would get the response it expects.

By the way, after all this, I didn’t bother to try the email id.