Monday, January 5, 2009

The Phenomenon of Instant Success

By : Sandeep Singh & Gaurav Sood

Rahul Dravid has toiled years to be acknowledged as a cricketing great. Mohammad Rafi became a legend over decades of striving. Amitabh Bachchan painstakingly won audiences through innumerable movies to emerge as a superstar.

Enter the 21st century and we have seen emergence of Abhijeet Savant, crooning songs of Rafi et al and becoming a celebrity in just over a few weeks. Mahendra Dhoni is numero uno in ICC rankings within a few months of swashbuckling batting. Imran Hashmi is a craze in his own genre of films, overnight.

What is happening to this world! Slog, slog, and slog till you succeed is no longer the in thing. Instant success is overwhelming us, be it Page 3 mentions or chart topping Reshmaiyya’s wonders. Brand building is no longer the steady step-by-step incremental layering of emotive imaging and utilitarian suggesting. Allan Greenspan’s case for goodwill and equity of an enterprise being its strongest assets, built over a long time of deliberation by market forces, is a losing proposition here. Apparently, fly-by-night operators seem to prevail.

This interesting phenomenon deserves microscopic evaluation. Being from the advertising arena, naturally our curiosity has been aroused. So what is the pattern? Is it that the recent massive surge in disposable incomes is creating such a huge waiting-to-be-spent money reservoir that it doesn’t matter what it is spent on? Is it that the consumer is taking a risk-taker role, dumping evolved buying decision-making and willing to take a plunge without multi-attributes analytic scrutiny? Is it repression unleashed, wherein aspirational identification is getting enabled via opinion through SMS and email?

It appears to a result of multimedia centered integrated communications coming to age, with set algorithms taking shape. It is like releasing an assembly line production of stars -- InstaStars The starved media is to be aggressively coordinated. PR has tentacles laced into numerous forums through evoking controversy, getting linked to a social cause, signing up brand ambassadorships. The net result: manufacturing of enhanced visibility.

Beyond this is percussive hammering of viewers’ senses so that the brand assumes a larger than life place in a consumer’s choice set. The commitment is to the cashing in on a product from the word go at the time of launch, than waiting for product life cycles to play themselves to the full. There are no qualms in immediately dumping such a manufactured brand for another noveau product. Why would you strive to win customer loyalty when it is a fictional entity anyway?

So, how far and how long would this continue with the SMS culture maturing?

The likes of P&G meanwhile would shudder at the thought of launching products without years of market research and product development. But products with huge intrinsic worth and carefully sculpted brands are still the winners. For, can speculative intra-day trading match the steady earnings of fundamental analysis based long-term investing? This is not to say that these instant successes lack talent, but do they have sustainability beyond the sensational media hype buttress? Sania has to learn to keep her wild shots in, that is the only way to better Martina. And Qazi has to have his ‘own’ song(s).

Let us wait.

(Sandeep Singh, COO, Get.Next.Job, is a management consultant with active placement work in the Advertising and Marketing Communication arena. Gaurav Sood, CSD, Wunderman India, is an advertising professional who has worked with world class advertising agencies in client servicing.)


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