Brand Rajini. Is It Worth The Leap
Power of Branding
Once again the lights are On. Though emitting a different frequency and with the focal lens realigned.
Will he? Won’t he?
As the rumour mills do their bit, here’s a peek at whether the Brand’s leap into politics is worth it?
Brand ‘Extension’ ? Or Brand ‘Repositioning’?
Rewind- BRAND MGR
The story weaves an aura around someone who portrayed the ‘outdoor’ role inside the confines of a theatre. A messiah for the poor, a saviour of the downtrodden, someone who can win the heart of a princess even if he was a chained slave, the true hope of the masses. So when he stepped out of the white screen onto the gravel of the real terrain, his persona was constant. He ‘delivered’ and ‘liberated’ the people on the screen. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that he will continue this screen act on the streets of the state…a seamless transition from the arc light glossiness to the mundane. With Brand Positioning untouched. Hence the brand delivered with a fan to vote conversion of almost 100%
Here 2 products emanate from the same brand name. One is the larger than life Superstar who can split a bullet into 3 and kill 6. Someone who can walk backwards and still race a bullet train by miles…The Aspirational Mega luminary … of the screen.
The second product is the simple, humble, almost shy though superbly confident humane person who with panache can sport a no hair look in an industry obsessed with hair and other lotions for every inch of the body and still gain immense respect.
So who is the ‘Real’ Rajini that the audience wants ….as a new avatar unfolds…on its way to the corridors of political prowess and power? This is crucial.
The 2 New Paths
In this web of complexities, the unquestioned demigod for whom seas part as he walks and who takes instructions from no one except the One Above, has suddenly 2 strange paths laid out in front of him.
i)a party of his own
This would continue the tradition of grandeur, pomp and revelry…but bringing with it cartloads of responsibility, unimaginable financial outlays and pressure to continue the existing Brand Positioning though now with a completely different set of parameters: of a new kind of competence, political acumen and insight. These would tug at the ‘product’ Rajini on various counts with health and age not necessarily being his best allies. And the drag effect this would have on the outcome could be something of concern.
ii) Aligning with another party
Suddenly the unconquered Numero Uno who bowed to none would have people and systems staring from floors above. For someone who always and always carved his own path from almost invisible territories, going down a beaten path could be jarring. This then shifts the Brand from a dominant leader to a subservient follower. And this may affect the Brand’s DNA at all subconscious, conscious and super conscious levels.
Amplifying this would be a scenario where there would be harsh brickbats from competition which no one had ever dared earlier and which found no place in the dictionary of the Superstar Brand. All these threaten to affect the very functional fabric of the Brand.
Brand Extension route therefore may prove exceptionally difficult, leaving Re-Positioning the sole alternative. Creating a possible scenario where a Super Brand is now being set up as a Super Start up, though with a huge huge captive audience.
How this pans out and what it entails to become a Super Brand in this new Industry, only time can tell. But one can say with some degree of rationale that it’s neither going to be an easy nor a short haul.
My personal position
A brand extension doesn’t seem a logical possibility. And a brand Re-positioning seems an unenviable task with earnings call seeming miles away. … making huge sense for The Superstar Brand to continue in the current mould sans a transition to another vertical. No political foray.
But then he is the God of the Millennium. He is ‘Thalaiva’. Nothing may be impossible for him.
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