How can brands achieve moksha?
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Shashwat Das, Founder, Almond Branding shares how preachings of the Bhagavad Gita are applicable to brands as well

How can brands achieve moksha?

Shashwat Das, Founder, Almond Branding shares how preachings of the Bhagavad Gita are applicable to brands as well
  • Like humans, do brands also straddle between Mrityu and Moksha? Find out in this 2 part article series by Shashwat Das, Founder, Almond Branding.
  • In the second part of his column, he shares how brands can resurrect themselves.
Before fighting the real battle at Kurukshetra, Arjun had to fight another battle that was raging in his mind. Thankfully, he had Lord Krishna on his side to help him win that battle. This is how the Bhagvad Gita was born.

But when I read the Gita, the preaching of Chapter 2 left two crucial questions in my mind:

  1. Why do brands die and
  2. How can brands become immortality or achieve Moksha?
After much search and interactions with experts, I did find the answer to the first question, but the answer for the second one had still eluded me!

So I continued my quest for the second question the same way as I did for the first one and was fortunate to get an answer for this question too!

Here is a curated list of ‘Dos” that might help brands to attain Moksha.

  1. Become a part of your customers life
Breaking things is quite common in our homes, especially if you have kids around. One of the most common things in every Indian household is a small tube of FeviKwik. It comes in handy when you have to stick something. Besides its innovative packaging, FeviKwik is appreciated for its fast action and usability over multiple surfaces. This versatility makes the brand irreplaceable.

Can you name three alternatives to Fevikwik? Never mind, because even I can’t! FeviKwik has moved beyond being a simple product to becoming an integral part of everyday life.

2. Become a fable
Amul butter was launched way back in the year 1955. Since then, Amul has become synonymous with butter in India. You go to any restaurant and order for a Pav-Bhaji. Chances are that the waiter would ask you “With Amul butter or with ordinary butter?” The brand Amul butter has achieved such a status that not only does it create product differentiation but can even get you a premium over ordinary butter!

Brands should strive to reach that stage where the user feels that the brand adds real tangible value. Since its launch, Amul butter is probably witnessing the third generation of grocery decision makers, but even today, no grocery list is complete without it. With such a strong fan-following, Amul butter has truly achieved brand Moksha!

3. Keep innovating
There was a time when chocolate was considered as kid’s product. This not only restricted the market size but also consumption opportunities too! But Cadbury’s challenged this belief and innovated itself in two ways. First, it broke the myth that chocolate is meant for kids alone by positioning it as the ‘real taste of life’. This broke the age barrier. Second, it created new avenues for consumption by saying “kuch meetha ho jaye”. This multiplied the consumption avenues for Cadburys.

Today, Cadbury’s is not only relished by the entire family but is also competing against traditional Mithai’s when it comes to gifting. Cadbury’s did not discover chocolate, but it innovated the occasions when chocolate can be consumed and widened the customer age group. It even introduced a lot of product innovations too. Bournville, Silk, Choclairs, Gems, and the list goes on. Infact, today Cadbury’s has reached such a stage where no matter what the age-group or the occasion, there is always a chocolate for you! So as long as you are allowed to eat chocolate (from the health perspective) or if you are celebrating an occasion, Cadbury’s will always top your wish list!

4. Extend your brand, but don’t dilute your identity
India first started using Dettol as the main component of their first-aid kit. For many years Dettol was the only anti-septic liquid known to Indians. Sensing stagnation, Dettol decided to spread itself to other categories. But while doing so, it took care of not diluting its anti-septic identity. It first became an anti-septic soap, then a hand-wash, a floor-cleaner and now it is a general disinfectant that can be added to water to be used over any surface!

Everything about Dettol is new, but its identity as an anti-septic has remained unchanged. Infact it has become stronger with every product category added. Now with multi-category presence and a stronger identity than ever, Dettol is on its way to Moksha!

5. Freshen up the message but don’t forget the messenger
There was a time in India when you just had two means of communication – Mass Media (TV, print & outdoor) and Point-of-Sale. But today, newer and more powerful options like digital media have emerged. Most brands focus on getting their digital inputs (SEO, Social Media presence etc.) right and ignore the fact that even media channels have their own important place in the process of communication. While their messages keep evolving with changing customer sensibilities, most brands still fail to unleash the full potential of the emerging new media channels.

The belief that appealing message will work wonders was OK till the choice of media channels, the messenger, was limited. But the moment new messengers were added, new brands emerged out of nowhere and today are appealing the might of older established brands.

Every messenger (channel) has its own requirement, e.g. Twitter takes just 280 characters, whereas YouTube can take a video of much longer length than conventional TV commercial. The better brands use these channels, the better connect thy can create with their customers thus going a step closer to Moksha.

6. Keep appealing to your customer’s eye
There was a time when the world’s largest selling biscuit, Parle-G, sported a butter packaging and an infant on its pack. This visual identity has become so deeply entrenched with Indian consumers that most ‘me-too’ biscuit brands that were launched in the country sported a kid on their wrappers. Realising this shortcoming and to remain relevant to the times, Parle-G shifted to a plastic sheet wrapper and even replaced the kid with a caricature. However, apart from these two changes, the visual identity of Parle-G has remained unchanged by & large.

But, not changing with times is a liberty only legacy brands can afford! Today, remaining relevant to the sensibilities of the customers is a must for every brand. With evolving customer behaviour and thinking, brands too have to change. Earlier you could see the salt inside Tata Salt, today you don’t. Earlier Nirma was a simple semi-transparent pillow pack, but today it is a lot more colourful. Even some of the biscuit brands of Britannia keep on evolving their visual identity in order to remain relevant to the customer’s sensibilities. While the biscuit inside remains the same, the outer visual identity of the brand keeps evolving!

7. Be an active contributor to the society
Besides helping you with your everyday life, brands aspire to emulate your personality. Eventually, brands want to become you. They want to appeal to your “Do-Good” spirit as they know that this is one hidden facet of your personality. For instance, a brand like the house of Tata spends a lot of resources, monetary or otherwise, on social activities which may not give it a direct benefit. But people remember and appreciate such philanthropic efforts made by brands that not only make their lives easier, but also that of the society at large too. They even show their appreciation by endorsing such brands. Even P&G brands like Ariel make such attempts to give back to the society. Brands that think beyond achieving their own sales targets are not only remembered and consumed by the current generation, but are also appreciated by the next ones.

If a brand was a person, normally it would die a natural death after some years of existence. But unlike us humans, brands don’t have a physical form and hence can theoretically become immortal. There are ways and means of achieving immortality or Moksha.

The association of colour Red with danger is immortal and so is that of White with Peace. A smiling face always puts you at ease over a frowning one. Or, lullabies are always sung before going to sleep instead of rock & roll! These things have achieved Moksha.

So, if you want your brand to achieve Moksha then better start working right now as it might be too late tomorrow!

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Why do brands die?

Why do brands die?

Shashwat Das, Founder, Almond Branding shares how preachings of the Bhagavad Gita are applicable to brands as well