Harish Bijoor: What’s in a Name?

17 Apr,2012

By Harish Bijoor


So STAR News is ABP News. STAR Ananda is ABP Ananda. And STAR Majha is ABP Majha.


Here’s a brand name change once again, and the question is out in debate again: What’s in a name?


What’s in a name? Plenty! Shakespeare-dada was wrong!


For a start, the name is a brand. The brand is a name. And the name is a very important starting point in the voyage of discovery of a brand.


Let me start with my definition of a brand. It is a simple one. I define the brand with the consumer simplicity it deserves. “The brand is a thought”! A thought that lives in people’s minds. A thought that thrives in the soft-space of the human mind.


By this definition, everything that lives as a thought in your mind is a brand. Shantabai, the multi-tasking maid is one, Osama Bin Laden, the late terrorist is one and so is the young Akhilesh Yadav. Each of these brands possibly rub shoulders with other brands such as an Amul and Bata and Tata in your head. The brand is a thought. Nothing more. Nothing less.


What does a name transition mean to companies and brands? Plenty really. Plenty in the initial six months for sure. The first 180 days of a brand name change are the most crucial and critical days. It is in these frenetic days of frenetic brand activity that a name change can be made successful or not. No wonder then that you see a flurry of advertising activity that goes in to establish a new name solidly in the mind of the consumer.


There are brands that have done it well. Vodafone is a veteran of many changes. An Orange became a Hutch seamlessly, just as a Hutch became a Vodafone seamlessly. Every change was accompanied by a high decibel campaign that had transition elements of one collapsing seamlessly into another. The first 180-days are therefore the most critical. You can make a brand name transition happen or collapse. Both are possibilities. The period after just does not matter. This is really the Golden six months of a brand name transition.


UTI Bank did it seamlessly as well, with a transition into an Axis Bank so seamlessly that today UTI is a non-important part of its total brand equity and recall altogether. That is the power of a powerful brand-name transition plan.


In the case of this current transition from STAR to ABP, there are indeed two big brand names. One is a region-centric one (ABP) and the other (Star) is a world-brand for sure. Moving from one to the other will require some degree of panache and scientific brand action.


There are really two sets of dynamics in this transition. One is a B2B dimension. Out here, MCCS is the back-end brand. It is the company that runs the show. It is the company that is the backbone. Employees, clients who advertise, distributors and vendors are all key participants here. These key actors are the easiest to communicate to. These key actors will buy into this name change without a whimper.


The second set of dynamics is that of the viewer. This is B2C space. This is where there is bound to be ruffled feathers and ruffled sentiment. This is where there is bound to be confusion and lack of clarity. This is really the end that needs to be handled well and seamlessly through a process of cogent communication.


STAR News is a thought. The thought of a channel can be a potent one. It starts with the name at hand, and goes on to attach to itself a host of other meta-tags that bring to mind the memory of a channel that is an intrinsic part of compelling and credible viewing experience.


The brand to that extent is plenty. It is a name. A slogan. A symbol. A colour. A character. A personality. A charisma. An image. A reliability. An emotion. A passion. A perception. And lots more. ABP needs to handle each of these. With kid gloves, speed and scientific brand action.


The author is a brand-expert and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.

Twitter.com @harishbijoor


Post a Comment 

2 responses to “Harish Bijoor: What’s in a Name?”

  1. Usaroon says:

    ABP per- se is an unknown commodity outside West Bengal.

  2. Leannepetra says:

    Kid-gloves is right Mr.Bijoor. ABP has a tough task with ABP News for sure.

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