Sanjeev Kotnala: Five memories test for ‘BRAND-i’

14 Dec,2016

By Sanjeev Kotnala


Take a piece of paper and keep your pen ready. When I ask you, just go ahead with the first few thoughts that hit you. Do not think, compare and evaluate. The sheet of paper is your confidential note. No one is going to read it, unless you share. So, it is possible for you to be brutally transparent and naked.

Here we go. I am asking you to capture your whole life in five incidents. Just five incidents.

These incidents can be from any part of your life. Go ahead, pick them from childhood, teenage years, education, love, marriage, parenthood, professional life. Capture the emotions; love, hate, success, failure, indifference, anger, joy, togetherness, dependency…. The choice is yours. However, remember, just Five Incidents.

You are not to list many and then try to select the five you want to highlight. The game is to pick the five that come to your mind instantaneously.

Chances are that these incidents are captured from recent times, a block of time, or they are equally spread across your life span. There is nothing wrong in what timeline these memories refer to and what they refer to. This is a synopsis of life impressions concerning you.

There may be certain patches of life that your conscious mind may have even blocked your access. Maybe, a recent flare-up of brilliance has superseded other episodes from the past. On the other hand, an over emotional episode could have over-written everything else.

The events you pick up, depend on how your mind reacted to the trigger. How with its own unknown algorithm it interpreted the instruction and decided to visit your distorted, deleted, generalised archive of memories.

Additionally, jot down few of the incidents that were hovering in your mind as you captured the five on paper.

Now take that sheet of paper and revisit the incidents. Think about these incidents.

This is the important part.

Who do they involve? What was happening? What were the dominant actions? What was the superimposing belief and emotion? Did they involve your family and spouse / partner/ lover? How did you play your role in these situations? What was expected of you? Why did only these selective incidents flashed through your mind? What makes them so relevant and deep rooted? What was your dominant emotion and experience in these incidents? They may point to a deep hurt or failure that you have not been able to completely burry?

These incidents and dominant memories captures and reflects your ‘BRAND-i- I’. Your internal image of yourself an impression of your ‘BRAND-i’. An image you may be proud and happy with. An image you may want to change.

The decision is always yours. Do not worry, ‘BRAND-i’ is after all a work-in-progress product.

Now comes the difficult part. And again I ask you to be brutally honest with yourself.

Think about these incidents, however, do not evaluate. Again, I expect you to pen down what comes to mind first.

Think of five people among your friends, colleagues, family, stakeholders and your target group; people from professional or personal life.

If these important stakeholders in your life were to do the above exercise sincerely and honestly, in how many memories of theirs will you feature? Do not piggy ride on the expected memories of your spouse and family members to include yourself?

That’s why, I asked you to do the exercise first.

There is no benchmark of the number of memories you should find yourself being featured. Nevertheless, the more memories you are part of, better it is.

Congratulate yourself, if you are one of the fortunate ones, who features in the memories of these identified stakeholders. It shows that you have not been a passive passenger in life.

So far, so good. Now dive deep into each of such incidents. Be the ‘fly-on-the-wall’ approach to the whole memories where you do feature, being re-enacted. Try visualizing yourself as a part of those episodes.

Check, why are the memories important to them? What is your role in those memories?

Are you the instigator in the episodes in their lives? Are you the hero of the situation? Are you active or a passive mute spectator to be remembered? Why do you think these memories are important to them?

This is an interpretation of ‘BRAND-i-E’, the external presence and strength of BRAND-i.

Check, if there commonalities in ‘BRAND-i-I’ and ‘BRAND-i-E’.

Do you really like, appreciate and want any of the two images as your BRAND-i .

Most of you will find gaps you want to bridge? There will be things you want to work on.

You will have to design your own strategies to help create the desired ‘BRAND-I’.
However, it is better to be part of other people five salient memories, irrespective of the emotions you evoke in them. Hopefully, you do have memories you are part of.

Go ahead, work on improving the quotient of memories and create new impressions and experience. Create experiences that are relevant to the stakeholders. Be part of the episodes that the stakeholders, your redefined target group have as their top five memories.

It may be tough for you to redefine the memories. The past is just a story. You cannot change the character, the reaction or the net impressions. All you can do is write fresh chapters. Give a consistent honest relevant experience.

Remember, you can only control the message and episodes and not really the decoded message or the final impression. However, you can make attempts towards leaving experiences that will be better interpreted.

Take that step and work towards, recreating the brand experience and in process your ‘BRAND-i’ is re-crafted. Take charge of the situation.


BRAND-I, is a specialised workshop conducted by Sanjeev Kotnala the founder of Intradia World; a Brand, Marketing & Management Advisory. Email – tweet – @s_kotnala web:  Blog –  and 


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