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Branding 101: A lesson from celebrities

Power_of_The_Common_Man (1) speaks with Indian author Koral Dasgupta about her latest book, The Power of the Common Man

May 29, 2014 3:30 by

By Nadine Sayegh

Indian author and academician Koral Dasgupta’s latest book, The Power of the Common Man, discusses branding from a different perspective – it uses the concepts of consumer behaviour to analyse how Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan has transformed himself from an actor into a business, while focusing on his fans and followers. speaks with Dasgupta about the book and branding.

She says: “Academically, the book discusses Shahrukh Khan’s marketing talents; how the actor has engaged with his fans-followers-consumers beyond the confines of language, country or community, making them all stretch their hands out with theirs heads held high and unite by one name, SRK.”

Although not many would be aware of Khan’s achievements in cinema, he ranks number 99 in Time magazine’s The 100 Most Obssesed-Over People on the Web list, which was published on May 27 (Tuesday). So, clearly, he is doing something right.

But how did Dasgupta get the idea to study Khan’s success from an academic point of view? “The best marketer is one that understands how to enter the psyche of his consumers and leave his signature there. Most celebs have PRs that do the job for them. But, for Khan, his brain responds to marketing functions as if that’s what he’s born to do and innovate upon. You may or may not appreciate all of his films, but his marketing skills are beyond all judgments.”

She also adds that her book will allow the younger generation to understand branding concepts in a manner they can relate to: “Marketing textbooks teach theories and concepts that students need to ‘learn’, but when they find certain practices around them that work wonders, they grow on them. Today, times are such that everyone is constantly trying to sell himself and create a self-brand. Social media, particularly, arouses such opportunities and permits us to live the life of a pseudo-celebrity. [Now that] self-selling in the ‘in’ thing, it is just more than relevant that we learn [about it] from someone who has been there and done that.”

Apart from targeting youngsters, Dasgupta believes companies can learn a lot from the way celebrities market themselves: “These days celebs and brands are not two different things. They are one and same, because they are marketing themselves like commodities as much as commodities are given the face of celebrities. Having said that, brands can learn more about visibility planning from celebrities. Celebs constantly create news about themselves, which make people talk. I believe commodities need to enter […] marketing in a positive way to altogether redefine their PR strategies.”

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