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- Published 7.03.11
The brain behind brands like Fevicol, Cadbury (everyone’s favourite ‘Kuch khaas hai’), Vodafone and Asian Paints (remember ‘Har ghar kuch kehta hai’?) and now executive chairman and creative director, Ogilvy & Mather South Asia, ad legend Piyush Pandey simply describes a brand as “a product, person or service that has a long list of well-wishers”.
The one brand that is at the top of mind of almost every Indian. While its products and services may or may not be superior to its competitors, what makes Vodafone a brand is its communication using the pug and the Zoozoo campaigns — tangible, credible and cute, but not perfect. Something that all of us identify with.
Everyone will say that he has always been one of our top brands, but, in my opinion, brand Tendulkar at age 37 is bigger than ever before. Over the last five years, Sachin has reinvented himself over and over again. Look at the centuries he has been slamming over the last two years. India’s most consistent brand and also its biggest.
At a time when the rest were toying with the idea of bringing out the world’s cheapest car, India did it faster than one could say ‘Nano!’ For a country that is traditionally not supposed to be technologically savvy, India has taken a giant step ahead with the Nano. It’s just a Rs 1 lakh car, but today every Indian knows about the Nano. Every Indian can own it.
In my opinion, the most brilliant brand that India has come up with in the last five years. What works for the IPL? A new format that breaks traditional cricket norms, the fact that it marries entertainment with cricket and the high level of involvement of women in the game. Every advertiser wants to associate with the IPL, most Indians look forward more to the IPL than to the cricket World Cup. Can a brand get any bigger than that?
He has an enviable lineage, but over the last five years, Rahul Gandhi has made a name and a place for himself. A role model for the youth, his impeccable manners, political ideals and the fact that he represents the new, young and hip India have earned him a massive fan following. From here, brand Rahul can only get bigger.
With super brands like Coca Cola (remember the ‘Thanda matlab Coca Cola’ campaign?), Happydent, Chloromint and Close Up, one of India’s top ad gurus — who also doubles as a successful Bollywood lyricist — defines a brand as “a set of values that have a certain promise and command a certain respect, impacting the lives that consume them”.
Aamir is one top-of-the-tops brand. While he had managed to carve a niche for himself from Day One, Aamir has moved from being an actor to a brand in the last five years. As a brand, he represents the values of excellence, perfection, feel-good and persuasiveness. if Aamir the brand says or does something, the consumer is compelled to sample it.
Any brand list will find it next to impossible to bypass Sachin Tendulkar. If Sachin the cricketer is only getting better with age, Sachin the brand is only getting bigger with time. Perseverence, humility, determination and goodwill — Sachin Tendulkar’s brand values keep getting reaffirmed with every run he scores. A brand that will remain India’s best for many years to come.
Who would have thought that an Indian politician would become such an inspiring brand one day? (Bihar chief minister) Nitish Kumar makes it to this list for showing how politics needs to be done in this country. At a time when we are grappling with one scam after another, here is a man who has changed the face of Bihar with his public and political reforms. Today, Nitish Kumar is a youth icon. A man who makes India look good.
Vodafone has been more visible, but Airtel has slowly but surely etched its place on the brand map. It’s high-profile faces — from Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor to Shah Rukh Khan and A.R. Rahman — have lent the brand class and credibility. Now that it has gone international, Airtel will be a major Indian brand to reckon with on the global scene.
One of the oldest Indian brands, Dabur makes it to my list because it has been very aggressive in launching and relaunching its products in the last five years. Despite new competition, this is one brand that has managed to hold its own, maintaining a consistent brand image and promising the same quality and values that it stood for five decades ago. A global brand that holds on to its local values
One of India’s most experienced dream merchants, Padamsee has many success stories to his credit — Liril, Kamasutra, Cherry Blossom and Surf’s iconic Lalitaji. His take on a brand? “An entity that first grabs your attention and then grabs your loyalty”.
FAIR AND HANDSOME
At a time when men would use their wife or girlfriend’s Fair & Lovely and be embarrassed about it, Fair and Handsome came in and filled a gap. And what a brand it has become in the last five years, registering sales of close to Rs 100 crore in 18 months! A brand that has become powerful enough to overturn the concept that dark is handsome.
The fact that he is a corporate honcho and the man behind Wipro’s super success doesn’t make him a brand. His generosity and constant endeavour to give back to society does. Having set up thousands of schools and donated millions to charity, Premji represents succcess tempered with humaneness and humility — key attributes of a good brand.
A dozen or more budget airlines have mushroomed in the last ten years, but Indigo Airlines stands out for its five-star service. An airline that is almost always on time and cares for its passengers. Plus, the fact that it has cracked the biggest single deal in aviation history — placing a record order for 180 Airbus A320s estimated to run into billions — makes it a strong emerging brand.
A man who talked little and did a lot. Nitish Kumar is a brand today for reinventing and redefining Bihar. Progressive and no-nonsense, Nitish has shown the rest of the politicians what honesty and perseverence is all about. Today, Nitish Kumar is a brand that has inspired the youth of this country to contemplate a career in politics.
Many may be a little surprised by this choice, but I feel that the channel has etched a definite mindspace. Bindass’s youthful look and feel, its no-holds-barred programming and the fact that it tells and shows it like few others do, make it a brand to watch out for. Fun and fearless, it’s a channel that breaks all rules and shows us how young India wants its entertainment.
Flamboyant and fun, ad guru Prahlad Kakkar — the creative mind behind most Pepsi commercials, Kamasutra and the Tata Tea ‘Jaago re’ campaign — looks at a brand as simply “a person that lives within a product”.
Another brand that has been around for ages, but has created an impact in the last few years. At a time when Pepsi and Coca Cola were fighting for space in the consumer’s gullet, Thums Up quickly brought in a new face in Akshay Kumar and positioned itself as a drink for the young, hip, gutsy and smart. Today, a lot of women also drink Thums Up.
Five years ago, he was just a filmstar. Now he is a brand. The face of many brands himself, Amitabh Bachchan makes it to my list because almost everything he touches turns to gold. He tells you to watch a film, you will watch it; he tells you to buy a product, you will try it out at least once. Also, as a star he was out of touch and remote. Today, having gone through so many ups and downs in his career, he has shown that he is vulnerable. That makes him identifiable, that makes him a brand.
Yes, it’s a brand that has been there for generations, but it is in the last five years or so that Cadbury has managed to reinvent itself. First, by shedding its elite image and reaching out to the common man with its “Pappu pass ho gaya” message. Second, by telling India that like mithais, chocolates too can be a part of every Indian celebration. Today, whether it is Diwali or Rakhi, a packet or two of Cadbury makes its way into Indian homes.
That bat, that determined flourish, that curly mop of hair and that boyish charm. I am talking about India’s biggest and most consistent brand. A man who reinvents himself with every innings and gets humbler with every milestone crossed. A world-class brand that is one of its kind.
At a time when the Indian TV viewer was facing saas-bahu fatigue, Colors came in and changed the rules of the television game. They may air more or less the same family dramas and reality shows as the others, but the packaging that Colors has adhered to has been distinctly different. Fresh, simple and uncluttered, with distinct breakaway programming at regular intervals.
For the former president of McCann-Erickson India and now MD & CEO of Future Brands, a brand is “an idea that stands for something meaningful and holds a certain promise”.
The Gujarat chief minister may elicit extreme reactions, but in terms of defining new-age politics in India, Narendra Modi is a definite benchmark. His political ideologies may or may not be liked, but there’s no denying his leadership skills and vision. Whether it is his million impersonators on the Internet or the Modi masks that crop up during poll season, Narendra Modi is a brand to reckon with.
Age 73 and still one of India’s most enduring brands. Hotels (the Taj group) to steel (Tata Steel), mobile telephony (Tata Teleservices) to vehicles (Tata Motors), Ratan Tata has created and managed one of India’s biggest business empires. What has made him an even bigger brand in the last five years? The guts and vision that gave birth to the Nano.
In the last five years, reality shows have made a distinct and substantial difference to our lives. Most of these shows have impacted our thoughts and the way we see and consume things. Everyone has an opinion about reality shows and that’s what makes them a strong brand. Love them or loathe them, you just can’t ignore them.
MAHENDRA SINGH DHONI
He was always a successful cricketer, but it is his skills as a strategist on the field and the fire in his belly that have now made him a brand. The fact that the Team India captain represents the middle class makes his brand image and worth far more credible.
A Bollywood that has broken out of the tried-and-tested traditional framework and now represents new ideas, new thoughts and new people. Films like A Wednesday! and Love Sex Aur Dhokha (in picture) define the new Bollywood. Fearless and non-formulaic.