11 February 2014

Building a well rounded brand persona

By Shaziya Khan, VP & Executive Planning Director (JWT Mumbai) 

The softening of relationships happens over little things. Unexpectedly, beautifully! Someone likes the same music you do, for instance, Farida Khanum. And a tiresome car ride through traffic turns into an animated chat, interspersed with hum-alongs. Tough minded strangers meeting in tense situations, find a surprising area to relate to...World War II authors. And in a similar vein, post cards, Picasso, Pablo Neruda, charcoal sketches.

These are just a few of the zillion real connectors that come to mind. In each case, something shifts in how people relate to each other, when they have the same sensibility, artistically speaking. It is especially reassuring in the creative industries. Providing context, point of reference and ultimately, trust and faith in their creative judgements.

Artistic traditions of India teach us that every person must practice, at least one, ideally more, of the seven arts or kalas, it is all part of being a well rounded persona. Providing channels for creativity, freshness and curiosity. And as we do that, we find relations within and without, growing, being nurtured and softening.

As with people, so with brands. The latest data on effectiveness from the IPA proves over a longitudinal study that advertising, coupled with PR and sponsorships, is the way to create the most effective bonds that stand over time. Too many brand discussions, however, especially on sponsorships and PR, are a short term point of view on costs, benefits of ‘properties’.

Useful as that is, there needs to be a deeper appreciation of brands, building a well rounded persona, and thereby nurturing bonds. Of brands actively evolving from the transactional to the relational both for their own sake, and for others. For near and dear ones (loyal consumers), as well as acquaintances (potential, influential consumers). And continuing to do so over a lifetime.

Metaphorically speaking, does your brand also sing? Or dance? Or play a musical instrument? Or sculpt? Or write? Or do theatre? Or paint? Is your brand nurturing at least one of the kalas actively? Via advertising, PR or sponsorship? One in which it has a genuine interest, and fit? There are no classes (shortcut) in class, just the great kalas to actively nurture and appreciate over a lifetime.

John Ruskin said it best, “there can be no beauty without truth”.

The article was first published on exchange4media.com  (Jan 9, 2014)

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