The Anchor: 8 pointers on why a brand needs parenting

26 Oct,2011

By Manosh R Sengupta


#1 A Brand is a life form… more importantly, a human life form, endowed with a soul (values); a spirit (emotions); a mind (think) and a body (behaviour). Together, these faculties create its personality (image). A brand’s life’s purpose is measured by the strength of its relationships and the value it creates for them.


#2 Like any new born child the brand needs to nurturing, nourishing and parenting. To be instilled with a set of values; nurturing its emotions; guiding its personality as it develops into maturity and helping it to mentoring its relationships.


#3 A brand’s position in society (human life) is defined by the value it creates within the human ecology system of live, work, play… much like our own lives.


#4 A Brand is the result of an intercourse (intellectual and emotional) between two partners – Agency (brand-mother) and Client (brand-father). The labour-pain phase is a testing time for both parents. The sensitivity of the brand-father towards the prospective mother, greatly impacts the healthy formation of the baby in the womb. The attitude of the partners towards each other determines the future of their child. Is a child of Lust or Love? Is the relationship between the Client and the Agency that of a mistress (one-night stands: limited to just a billing opportunity / a cheap vendor) or a long-term partner (life-time commitment: a trusted strategic partner with an equal share of accountability and ownership).


#5 For any parent, their child is the ONE asset that is irreplaceable. The brand is no different. All other assets of an Organization are replaceable… not the brand. Take away the name ‘Coca Cola’ and the whole enterprise transforms into just another bottling unit.


#6 Ask any parent about their MOST valuable asset and the answer will be ‘our children’. It is the same for the brand. As a thumb-rule, the value of a brand should be a minimum of 40% of an enterprise value – to underscore the point, if Apple sold its business but retained the brand, the buyer would have to pay just 49% of its total enterprise value (based on Millward Brown’s BRANDZ valuation of 153 bln $ and Ycharts enterprise value of 298 bln $). Some example of brand value as % of their enterprise value: Google = 61%; IBM = 43%; McDonald’s = 76%; Coca Cola = 46%; Microsoft = 34%.


#7 Yet, we parents have to learn to let go of our children, remembering the words of Khalil Gibran, “Your children are not your children… and though they are with you they do not belong to you.” Organizations may enjoy legal rights over the trademark but its emotional ownership lies with the various stake-holders, especially the customers. In the era of Digital Social Media, the consumers hold sway on facets of the brand, which used to be the ‘brand-managers’ territory.


#8 And last but not the least, the experience of giving birth to one’s child – labour pains – is that of a spiritual-orgasm. It’s nothing short of a miracle when a woman willingly undergoes intense physical pain just for the reward of sublime joy, at the birth of her child. In a metaphorical sense, I connect to this phenomenon through my work. Having parented a few brands (notably Idea Cellular), I can vouch for this.


Manosh R Sengupta is Brand-parent, Nurturer, Mentor, brand-@itude

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