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The aura of Brand Rajni

Gokul Badrinarayanan 

Imagine this scene: It’s late at night, so late that it’s almost the next day. There is a closed gate, and outside if you could see a never-ending line of people, sitting there, eagerly waiting for the time to tick by and experience.Ask a college kid in USA to guess what that was, and the answer would be: that’s the line for getting the first pieces of

If you ask the same to a guy in Chennai, he would not only say that it’s Endhiran first day first show we are talking about, but would go on to brag how he was there, right at the front of that line.

While Apple is considered the most fanatically followed brand in the world, we do have one right here in India who can give even Apple a run for its money on his day, and that’s Brand Rajni.

Let’s analyse how Brand Rajni stacks up against the other big global brands in communicating with the users.

Sensory cues
theory and Contemporary Issues (one of the best courses I have done till now), taught me the power of sensory cues in not only building your brand image but also in retaining it.

Apple does that wonderfully well. You see the image of a partially bitten apple on the back of any electronic device, and you instantly know it’s from Apple.

Same applies to Rajni. The man shot to fame with his unique flick of the cigarette, and the way he used to put on sunglasses. These were simple stuff, but what they provided him with was a mannerism and identity, which was not only unique but also tangible and replicable. Indeed there were heroes who were better in acting and looks, but these aren’t characteristics which are tangible and replicable. What Rajni had introduced was a style which any city youth could replicate (often unsuccessfully), and himself feel like a star in his own small world. Add to this his trademark walk, the way he adjusted his hair, or his baritone voice, and what you get is a wholesome package of sensory cues.

Powerful Tagline
Every successful brand has an awesome tagline. Indeed some brands have taglines which are more famous than the brand name itself. You know which brand I am talking about when I say “Just do it”, or “I’m lovin’ it”, or “Connecting people”.

In the case of the superstar, the tagline is replaced by his punch dialogues. “Yaen vazhi, thani vazhi” (“my path, is a unique path”), “Naan oru tharava sonna, nooru tharava sonna mathiri” (“If I say it once, its as good as saying it hundred times”), and other such punch dialogues became such a rage as they were deeply associated with the character as such, and also as, unlike normal dialogues which are fleeting in nature, these dialogues consistently appear during milestone moments in the movie.

Consistency of communication

Excellent brands have a positioning in the market which they are always aware of. They always tailor their communication so that it’s consistent and reinforces its positioning. The message may change but the core remains the same. For years together now, Amul has been following a template of doing a parody on anything which is making news through its cartoon strip like ads and people love it. Coke ads have always been about “Enjoying”.

The Superstar has been the epitome of consistency and reinforcement. Most of his movies fall into a template of good-vs-evil, with an introduction song, a fun-filled first half, trouble and pain followed by a climax where the good finally triumphs. Right from the first instant the audience know that the hero is going to win, but they still stay glued on to see how. Even the trademark way in which his name is displayed, right at the beginning of the movie is an example of this consistency.

Delivering an experience
It’s a clichéd statement in the world that “Good brands deliver products, great brands deliver experiences”. People know that the coffee in CCD is over-priced, but still go there because they cherish that experience. The silencer technology which mutes the engine sound in bikes is ages old, but still Royal Enfield retains the classic thud-thud sound in its engine as its part of the experience of driving a Bullet.

What Rajni offers you is not just a movie, but rather a movie watching experience. The very fact that it’s so hard getting a First Day First Show ticket makes it all the more exciting for everyone involved to try and get one. And it almost feels like a mini-victory when the ticket is in hand.

(The author is a second year Post graduate student at IIM Calcutta)

First Published: Thu, November 25 2010. 00:19 IST
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