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Creating brand’s cultural relevance through contradictions
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Why creative briefing doesn't work
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Accidental brilliance? Looking at #Dhara Jalebi 20 years later
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The clash of Indian masculinities
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Is the future of big brand ideas dark?
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Isn’t it time the hotel industry borrowed a trick from Airbnb?
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A different kind of a hero
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Gol gappas or gold medals? Which side of #Dangal are you on?
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Strategic importance of vulnerability
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Goose pimple stuff: All time awesome campaigns in India – I
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Well played sir!: All time awesome campaigns in India – II
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Mobiles, mobility and the importance of guilt
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Return of the angry young man
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Who’s your enemy?
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Six pack abs, designer stubbles and tattoos
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Are we falling in love with Samsung`s geeky authenticity over Apple`s hype?
(Posted 12th September 2014)
Is your brand missing in your brand’s social media strategy?
(Posted 15th April 2014)
Brand rejuvenation: is your brand trapped?
(Posted 27th March 2014)
Aren’t the new age brands being outdated in their brand thinking?
(Posted 12th February 2014)
Why brand managers should spend more time on jokes and cartoons…
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Why the cricket team’s loss bothers the parent in us
(22nd January 2012)
Shallow shlacking: why Hindu’s campaign gets the buzz
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Shall we stop targeting our audience now
(5th February 2012)
How do you sleep at night?
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Is there a problem in your insight?
(25th January 2012)

Are we falling in love with Samsung`s geeky
authenticity over Apple`s hype?

Recently a friend’s rant against Apple 6’s new launch caught my attention. As someone who extensively uses Apple and Steve Jobs as examples of great brands in lectures, this was inconvenient for me! Had my friend not understood the ‘brand’ Apple? However, as he explained his views, I noticed that the voices taking a pot shot at Apple were only growing. And most of it began to connect with my own experience with Apple though I had overlooked them so far.
  1. The prices…now, we understand paying a premium for brand’s stature, but when you have to pay for a charger what would get you a decent mobile phone from other brands, you do begin to wonder if you were being a fool
  2. The ‘we are too cool to collaborate/integrate with anyone’ ideology, the reason why I have never bought an imac and actually paid for a pricier Toshiba ultrabook.
  3. My own ipad experience, which is clearly not even close to my much older Samsung phablet.

And so I revisited my friend’s explanation of his views. He was saying the same thing – Apple’s actions are no longer living up to its hype.

When that happens, iconic brands risk losing what built them in the first place – their authenticity.

I could not help but notice the parallel with AAP’s fortune change after Mr Kejriwal’s resignation. When you emotionally buy into a brand’s ideology, the sense of betrayal is higher when it appears that the brand is no longer walking the talk. As they say – hell hath no fury as a lover scorned!

The brand that has seriously given Apple a run for money is about as different as it can get – Samsung. A brand analysts rarely use as an example of greatness, despite it’s obvious business success. Nothing in Samsung’s story telling expresses its idea as evocatively as Apple’s ‘Think Different’ does.

Unlike Apple, Samsung’s offerings straddle from high end to fairly accessible price points. The products integrate well with Android and the after sales service, though rarely required is fuss free and helpful. (I sound like their corporate AV, I know!)

For long I had held that Samsung was good products with poor brand idea articulation. I realised that slowly one had bought into it’s idea precisely because of it. With it’s absence of Apple like flair and honest to goodness quality, Samsung has become the geek who silently does stuff with all honesty. The guy who can’t talk much, but boy does he walk!!

You sense a sincere eagerness to actually improve products and offer them at price points that do not feel exploitative or exclusionary. It brought back a baseline Samsung used many years ago – everyone’s invited!

Today the absence of a well defined idea in brand strategy gets exposed more brutally as the brand steps up on the social media platform. So here’s the nub:

Valuable and humbling lesson for us ‘branding’ professionals. In the long run, what you say, no matter how evocative, will not compensate for what you do. Indeed, your success in articulation might actually backfire, because your audience can smell your inauthenticity.