Sanjeev Kotnala: Of Kawarias, and why Brand Nirvana evades you

12 Aug,2015

By Sanjeev Kotnala

 

Last Thursday as I was driving down the Delhi-Gurgaon-Jaipur Highway I could see Kawarias (carrying the pious water from Ganges) walking back from Haridwar. On an average every one of them walks 300-odd km. But they have a promise to keep. A promise they made to their deity. On Saturday, I saw trucks after trucks with banners reading ‘Haridwar to Ganjapura’, ‘Haridwar to Bajranjnath’ blaring music on their way to  Haridwar. They will accompany the Kawarias on their walk back and reach their return destinations by August 12.

 

Throughout the highway, bhajans were being played at high volume, vibrant coloured tents and banners welcoming the Kawarias. There is place for them to rest and organisers get the chance to service them. To many intellectually inspired rational citizens of netro Delhi, it will seem fruitless. It is something that upsets their routine and causes hardship. They have strong objection to kawarisation of the highway. They are also right in their observation. It is that one is working with a strong belief and the other is just questioning it.

 

This is when you realise that when it is a question of belief, attribute and the functional utility along with the rationality and emotional association can take a walk. There is no space for any argument. Moreover, the shortcomings are attributed to non-diligent use or improper understanding on part of the consumer or follower. The brand is allowed more than the benefit of doubt.  It is beyond questioning. Nirvana is achieved.

 

This brings me to my question. Are there such Nirvana brands on Planet Earth? Where consumers are more of a cult than a group or a segment. May be the nearest I could think is Harley Davidson, Mac or  iPhone owners, IIT and IIM students affinity to their alma mater, Sachin or Amitabh! Maybe Maggi was there. I am a bit confused about it.

 

Are there relationships that reach this the Nirvana stage? The mother-son relationship of unspoken promises, unilateral support and submission could be one. In such relationships, no logic is acceptable. There exists an unspoken unwritten and unasked for belief.

 

Won’t brands want to hit this stage? They do and they fail in their attempts. How could the brilliant teams behind such brands fail to deliver what seems logical and simple.

 

To reach Nirvana is an exceptionally simple way of differentiated relevant basic need fulfilment; a promised experience delivered repeatedly consistently through a long stretch of time and a sense of independence and promised interdependence. A belief that there could be nothing wrong and if anything did go wrong then they will be there for each other to help through the phases.

 

Brand Nirvana happens when the consumer is deeply immersed in the brand ethos like Meera with Shyam and has no reason to seek any emotional- rational- logical- functional advantages for continued association.  Once you are there, the propagators, convertors, influencers and others look forward to increase the tribe.

 

Unfortunately, this is easy to say and tough to achieve. At least I cannot remember a brand of this status. But that really should not mean it is unachievable. In religious and NGO or social service front, we have examples of how simple consistent messaging and a promise creates a belief system that leads to cult followers. Can we see consumers of that thinking? Osho, Sai Baba, Aasaram, Murari Bapu, Mother Teresa, Radhe Maa, Ramdev, Mahatma Gandhi, Subash Chandra Bose and many more. If one was to take Devdutt, Pattinaik thoughts than most of the iconography messages hidden in the paintings and sculptors of the god and goddesses is a perfect example of consistent symbolisation and consistent messaging through the period.

 

How come learnings from them have escaped our strong insight mining system?

 

We the brand custodians, owners, facilitators and coaches seek this golden pot of brand loyalties and Nirvana at the end of the market rainbow. We, the intellectualised internalised logic and research insight-driven hard nuts, tend to override intuition. We, with our penchant for change and tendency to leave a mark in the chaotic space of business environment, we invariably spoil a good thing going. The successes and changes in organisation have become more personality-centric than process-centric. The individualistic success charisma is celebrated more than organisational success. It is then natural for every new CXO in the market mating game give existing thoughts a new flip. All in the name of evolving with time.

 

Before anyone brands me as a proponent of static inertia-laden ways of marketing and communication, let me just say: do take your call, as only time has the answer. But while you do so, just re-evaluate if you are doing that out of a real need or is that just your boredom and ego that pushing you.

 

Sanjeev Kotnala is Founder and Head Catalyst at Intradia. A Brand, Marketing and Management Advisor. He conducts specialised workshops in the area of IDEATION (Harvest and Liberate) and Innovation (InNoWait). His focus energy in enhancing client’s internal team’s potential and capabilities. In process decreasing their dependence  on external resources. To contact email sanjeev@intradia.in  or tweet at s_kotnala visit www.intradia.in  www.sanjeevkotnala.com. The views expressed here are his own.

 

 

By Sanjeev Kotnala

 

Last Thursday as I was driving down the Delhi-Gurgaon-Jaipur Highway I could see Kawarias (carrying the pious water from Ganges) walking back from Haridwar. On an average every one of them walks 300-odd km. But they have a promise to keep. A promise they made to their deity. On Saturday, I saw trucks after trucks with banners reading ‘Haridwar to Ganjapura’, ‘Haridwar to Bajranjnath’ blaring music on their way to Haridwar. They will accompany the Kawarias on their walk back and reach their return destinations by August 12.

Throughout the highway, bhajans were being played at high volume, vibrant coloured tents and banners welcoming the Kawarias. There is place for them to rest and organisers get the chance to service them. To many intellectually inspired rational citizens of netro Delhi, it will seem fruitless. It is something that upsets their routine and causes hardship. They have strong objection tokawarisation of the highway. They are also right in their observation. It is that one is working with a strong belief and the other is just questioning it.

This is when you realise that when it is a question of belief, attribute and the functional utility along with the rationality and emotional association can take a walk. There is no space for any argument. Moreover, the shortcomings are attributed to non-diligent use or improper understanding on part of the consumer or follower. The brand is allowed more than the benefit of doubt. It is beyond questioning. Nirvana is achieved.

This brings me to my question. Are there such Nirvana brands on Planet Earth? Where consumers are more of a cult than a group or a segment. May be the nearest I could think is Harley Davidson, Mac or  iPhone owners, IIT and IIM students affinity to their alma mater, Sachin or Amitabh! Maybe Maggi was there. I am a bit confused about it.

Are there relationships that reach this the Nirvana stage? The mother-son relationship of unspoken promises, unilateral support and submission could be one. In such relationships, no logic is acceptable. There exists an unspoken unwritten and unasked for belief.

Won’t brands want to hit this stage? They do and they fail in their attempts. How could the brilliant teams behind such brands fail to deliver what seems logical and simple.

To reach Nirvana is an exceptionally simple way of differentiated relevant basic need fulfilment; a promised experience delivered repeatedly consistently through a long stretch of time and a sense of independence and promised interdependence. A belief that there could be nothing wrong and if anything did go wrong then they will be there for each other to help through the phases.

Brand Nirvana happens when the consumer is deeply immersed in the brand ethos like Meera with Shyam and has no reason to seek any emotional- rational- logical- functional advantages for continued association.  Once you are there, the propagators, convertors, influencers and others look forward to increase the tribe.

Unfortunately, this is easy to say and tough to achieve. At least I cannot remember a brand of this status. But that really should not mean it is unachievable. In religious and NGO or social service front, we have examples of how simple consistent messaging and a promise creates a belief system that leads to cult followers. Can we see consumers of that thinking? Osho, Sai Baba, Aasaram, Murari Bapu, Mother Teresa, Radhe Maa, Ramdev, Mahatma Gandhi, Subash Chandra Bose and many more. If one was to take Devdutt, Pattinaik thoughts than most of the iconography messages hidden in the paintings and sculptors of the god and goddesses is a perfect example of consistent symbolisation and consistent messaging through the period. 

How come learnings from them have escaped our strong insight mining system?

We the brand custodians, owners, facilitators and coaches seek this golden pot of brand loyalties and Nirvana at the end of the market rainbow. We, the intellectualised internalised logic and research insight-driven hard nuts, tend to override intuition. We, with our penchant for change and tendency to leave a mark in the chaotic space of business environment, we invariably spoil a good thing going. The successes and changes in organisation have become more personality-centric than process-centric. The individualistic success charisma is celebrated more than organisational success. It is then natural for every new CXO in the market mating game give existing thoughts a new flip. All in the name of evolving with time. .

Before anyone brands me as a proponent of static inertia-laden ways of marketing and communication, let me just say: do take your call, as only time has the answer. But while you do so, just re-evaluate if you are doing that out of a real need or is that just your boredom and ego that pushing you.

 

Sanjeev Kotnala is Founder and Head Catalyst at Intradia. A Brand, Marketing and Management Advisor. He conducts specialised workshops in the area of IDEATION (Harvest and Liberate) and Innovation (InNoWait). His focus energy in enhancing client’s internal team’s potential and capabilities. In process decreasing their dependence  on external resources. To contact email sanjeev@intradia.in  or tweet at s_kotnala visitwww.intradia.in  www.sanjeevkotnala.com. The views expressed here are his own.

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