• Avatar – Lessons in Marketing Excellence

    I recently watched the movie Avatar – probably the most awaited movie of 2009 and a movie with amazing special effects. First things first, the movie was pretty good and the visual delight was every bit worth the money. I was completely engrossed in the movie as it was my first 3D experience and left the cinema hall pretty happy and full of thoughts. Here in this post I try to explore some of the lessons in marketing excellence which I personally derived from the movie. This is not one of those articles which talks about the innovative ways in which the Avatar marketing team kept audiences captivated before and during the launch. It’s more about what can be taken away from the story line. So in case you have trouble with complete abstraction and imaginative interpretations please bear with me.

    If we keep at it the movie Avatar or probably any other movie worth its money for that matter can provide each of us myriad interpretations. Here though I try to explore only the thoughts I have from a marketing perspective.

    1) Internal Branding – The movie time and again emphasizes on Eywa or Mother Goddess – essentially the spirit of the planet Pandora. Each and every person acts in a way befitting the way of responsible citizens and each and every act promotes “the spirit”. Coming to think of it the organizational equivalent of “the spirit” is probably the culture, mission, vision, goals that the organization has. In today’s world companies spend millions of dollars promoting themselves and trying to reach their “target audience” through the most appropriate “mediums”. From my experience at least not much attention is given to Internal Branding. The smart ones though do know about this spirit and spend as much time and effort promoting and branding the company outside as they do inside among the employees.

    Employees after all are human beings. They know people and talk and interact with people in their homes, extended family, friends circle, on the bus, at parties, at the railway platform etc. In the Indian context the question “What do you do?” comes up sooner or later. If the employee does like his work, is taken care of well and has been groomed well invariably there is a glint in the eye when the employee gives a reply. Also on and off there would be references made to the work environment. These are also “contact points” I feel and it is essential a sale is made here too as much as in the shop or in the marketplace. This is where I feel (and I maybe wrong) the employee as a brand ambassador sells the company not only as a “Great Place to work” but also as a good company to get associated with as a customer. Because at least in the minds of people good companies are the ones that make great stuff!!!

    2) Personal Branding – A trivial point you may feel but I would still like to mention it. When the principal protagonist Jake Sully comes to the Na’vi clan in the beginning and they ask him his purpose for being there he says he’s a “learner”. Again when they “brand” him a traitor in the climax Jake doesn’t make noise – he just goes about establishing his credibility by taming a Toruk, the fiercest beast around.

    Companies I feel also love to have “learners” on board and from the employees point of view it makes sense not only to be one but also to be seen as one. Also there is no better way to prove one’s credibility than delivering the goods and in case one can associate the “Wow!!” factor with himself/ herself, it’s an absolute winning proposition.

    3) Branding in the mind of competitors – This is probably my best take-away from the movie – how should a company brand itself in the eyes of the competition? Yes you read that right – positioning oneself in the eyes of the competition. In Avatar, when the RDA corporation heads out to clear the forest by force in the climax, all Eywa’s children including some of the biggest animals in the forest which were essentially competitors to the Na’vi tribe fought it out together. Now you may say that all the wildlife was not the competition but instead consisted of the ecosystem to which I would say the big animals were essentially fighting for supremacy over the same pie (the forest) and thus can be considered competition.

    If you accept my interpretation, what made them act in concert? They could well have waited for the forces to reach their part of the forest and die fighting. Instead they decided to join forces with the Na’vi tribe and that’s what did the trick.

    What I feel made some of the Na’vi’s fiercest tormentors to join them was their sense of what the Na’vi tribe was. The clan to them consisted of elements who were fierce but fair, who cared for the welfare of the overall ecosystem and who never took from the forest more than what they needed for survival.

    The same applies for companies – they don’t have to come across to their competitors as “weak”, they just have to project themselves as people who compete hard but play fair.

    But when on earth is joining forces with the competition required in the first place you ask. Well the latest economic slowdown is the best example. More than anything else slowdowns require companies to come out and tell their customers “All is Well!!” and demand can be resuscitated. After all what would be more effective – one company standing up alone and shouting out the message or all of them standing up in unison and doing it together? Think about it!!!

  • Brand Schizophrenia

    god, headline »
    Brand Schizophrenia

    Brand Schizophrenia

    “John Nash: [to Thomas King] I still see things that are not here. I just choose not to acknowledge them. Like a diet of the mind, I just choose not to indulge certain appetites; like my appetite for patterns; perhaps my appetite to imagine and to dream.”
    A long-term disorder involving the breakdown between vision, personality and behavior; leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, and withdrawals from reality.
    Schizophrenia, the ‘Chemical X’ that makes any Hollywood movie an instant hit, be it the 4 Oscar bagging, “A Beautiful Mind” …

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    News from the market!

    News on 4 Aug 2010

    Daimler unveils BharatBenz
    India is top on agenda for Daimler as it unveils an all new India-centered brand BharatBenz. The BharatBenz trucks are designed and manufactured in India as the world’s biggest truck maker looks to gain foothold in Indian market. SME India , Economic Times
    HP’s new campaign
    HP’s new global marketing campaign celebrates how people around the world are using HP technology to pursue their personal and professional passions. The launch of its worldwide “Everybody On” tagline and branding campaign – “spanning music, fashion, community activism, business and more” – is …

    ad-alysis, featured, headline »
    No IDEA? Get IDEA!

    Get IDEA!

    Most of us are familiar with “SIR JI” and this is a phrase that was taken to a new level by Idea Cellular Ltd. In recent years, IDEA’s Campaign themed ‘An IDEA Can Change Your Life’ has been one of the most successful ones and it never goes away from our minds.
    Some of the reasons for this astounding success are:
    Emotional and moral appeal of the idea
    Binds the consumer with an innovative Idea
    Strong …
    featured, headline »
    New Band of Marketers

    New Band of Marketers

    New Band of Marketers
    It gives me great pleasure to introduce our new set of marketers who will be taking this blog forward. Hope you guys shower them with the same love, affection and critique that we have received over the last one year Please welcome, from IIM Calcutta Batch of 2012
    Abhishek Kumar
    Ayush Kapoor
    Chandrashekhar Venugopal
    Gaurav Pareek
    Jaspreet Batra
    Mathew Vipin Thomas
    Nawang Chhetan
    Pankaj Gangwani
    Sahil Dev
    Vaibhav Tiwari
    The new team’s first article will be up within 24 hrs!!
    We (the oldies) wish the new team all the best!!
    (Varun Sharma is a PGDM (2011) student at IIM Calcutta. Write to …

    featured, god »
    A new religion called Marketing – Judge’s Pick, Marketique

    A new religion called Marketing

    A new religion called Marketing – Judge’s Pick, Marketique
    [This article was contributed by Gokul Badrinarayanan, a second year Post graduate student at IIM Calcutta. Marketing is both his interest and passion and he is especially interested in Social Media, Movie and Tourism marketing. He is a fresher from Anna University. You can read more of his posts at casualstrokes.wordpress.com]
    For centuries people have been celebrating different festivals depending on the place and religion they belong to. These festivals have been occasions for getting together and displaying their religious conformity. Indeed religions all over the world have used festivals effectively …

  • News from the market!

    News from the market!
    News from the Market
    Daimler unveils BharatBenz
    India is top on agenda for Daimler as it unveils an all new India-centered brand BharatBenz. The BharatBenz trucks are designed and manufactured in India as the world’s biggest truck maker looks to gain foothold in Indian market. SME India , Economic Times
    HP’s new campaign
    HP’s new global marketing campaign celebrates how people around the world are using HP technology to pursue their personal and professional passions. The launch of its worldwide “Everybody On” tagline and branding campaign – “spanning music, fashion, community activism, business and more” – is …
    ad-alysis, headline »
    No IDEA? Get IDEA!

    Get IDEA!

    Most of us are familiar with “SIR JI” and this is a phrase that was taken to a new level by Idea Cellular Ltd. In recent years, IDEA’s Campaign themed ‘An IDEA Can Change Your Life’ has been one of the most successful ones and it never goes away from our minds.
    Some of the reasons for this astounding success are:
    Emotional and moral appeal of the idea
    Binds the consumer with an innovative Idea
    Strong …
    featured, headline »
    New Band of Marketers
    New Band of Marketers
    It gives me great pleasure to introduce our new set of marketers who will be taking this blog forward. Hope you guys shower them with the same love, affection and critique that we have received over the last one year Please welcome, from IIM Calcutta Batch of 2012
    Abhishek Kumar
    Ayush Kapoor
    Chandrashekhar Venugopal
    Gaurav Pareek
    Jaspreet Batra
    Mathew Vipin Thomas
    Nawang Chhetan
    Pankaj Gangwani
    Sahil Dev
    Vaibhav Tiwari
    The new team’s first article will be up within 24 hrs!!
    We (the oldies) wish the new team all the best!!
    (Varun Sharma is a PGDM (2011) student at IIM Calcutta. Write to …

    featured, god »
    A new religion called Marketing – Judge’s Pick, Marketique

    A new religion called Marketing

    [This article was contributed by Gokul Badrinarayanan, a second year Post graduate student at IIM Calcutta. Marketing is both his interest and passion and he is especially interested in Social Media, Movie and Tourism marketing. He is a fresher from Anna University. You can read more of his posts at casualstrokes.wordpress.com]
    For centuries people have been celebrating different festivals depending on the place and religion they belong to. These festivals have been occasions for getting together and displaying their religious conformity. Indeed religions all over the world have used festivals effectively …
    god »
    Marketing On The Move – Judge’s Pick, Marketique
    As time increasingly becomes a scarcity and the target audience increasingly impatient, Marketers are always on the prowl to find newer ways to showcase their products and services and maintain retention amongst the customers. A message communicated through a billboard, television advertisement, pamphlet doesn’t have the same effect and impact it used to have a decade ago. Marketing communications have already spread into the digital sphere via social networking sites where people spent a considerable amount of their time, through movies by showcasing their products and services, when people have …