A ‘Brand’ New World!

Someone famous said – “your brand is what other people say about you when you are not in the room”

In my modest opinion, I couldn’t agree more. Be it a company or an individual, a Brand Identity far far extends a nice looking Logo and a cool sounding Tag Line. A Brand is a living, breathing, human entity that has a personality, traits that people have strong opinions on,  attributes that are admired, slip ups that are remembered and begrudged.

Especially in a world where we are today, 360*, bombarded by information, vying for a split second of our attention, it is NOT enough to JUST be noticed. Sure, that much your ‘outward’ appearance will get you. But there must be deeper substance, and that substance ONLY comes from 2 things – knowing your Target Audience and making a Genuine Connection with them!

This is no tirade against design. Don’t get me wrong. Design is of paramount importance. But many amateurs, branding services professionals, as well as Clients, tend to focus overtly on Design, the more important ‘meat’ of the Brand Development process, therefore gets sidelined. What should emerge ideally from a thorough Branding Exercise upon an in-depth study and scrutiny of the Target Audience and identifying a GAP in the market-segment (of the concerned product or service) should form the basis of the design and communication. Instead, it becomes the opposite. Invariably, the client, an individual like you or I, comes upon a ‘cool’ name and falls in love with it. There, all logic goes to hell. Relevance to the Product Category, the intended Target Audience, its deeper meaning and connotations, all takes a backseat. And the ‘cool’ sounding brand is birthed, in most cases, to meet its untimely sudden demise, leaving the proprietor wondering, “what the hell happened?”

What happened was simply, no THOUGHT! Branding needs research, focus, logic, and most importantly, a true human-connect to endure, and be endearing. Its a ‘Brand’ New World, and our Brands, need to make a Deep Impact!

TOSSed Salad for the Creative Soul!

I had the privilege recently of getting to know a very interesting couple in Jaipur. Shilpi and Hitesh Adwani. These photographers/film makers have given birth to a silent but potent movement in the city. Their radical, free-thinking school/college/creative playground, The Open Space Society (TOSS), has quietly begun to make an impact.

The couple, and their ‘society’, has certainly made an impression on me. Though I’d met them some time ago,  I finally made my way to meet the two, at TOSS, earlier today. From what I can understand, it is a space that has no ‘boundaries’. Literal ones aside, just as their mission, to espouse creativity; the space has no limits to what can be conceived and created within its liberating campus. TOSS regularly holds workshops in the broad area of the ‘media-arts & sciences’, be it Photo-Book Making or Theater, conducted by carefully selected, highly qualified & experienced, eminent experts. The school also organizes film-screenings and other events, with a slew of exciting, piping hot offerings always brewing.

I’ve always fancied myself as someone who provides an atmosphere for creativity – Shilpi & Hitesh though, have fashioned a living, tangible reality in TOSS, one that quite literally is a manifestation of their creative-karma! Poised to shortly turn into a state-of-the-art, full fledged Media College offering a slew of courses covering the entire Media Gamut, TOSS has to be seen to be believed. Made entirely from reclaimed materials, the air through TOSS is easy yet inspirational, modern yet traditional. To house, among other things, a one-of-its kind Media Library upon completion (very soon), TOSS will emerge as the definitive Media-Studies & Expression destination.

The couple is ingenious, unorthodox, and quietly eccentric (in my view, and I mean that as a big compliment). Just what the city needs to ‘charge’ up the environment. For the young and the young-in-spirit, The Open Space Society must be engaged with. Because here, they don’t give a TOSS about who you are… rather, what you CAN BE! It is then, really, a delectable TOSSed Salad for the Creative Soul!