What can a bollywood ‘no-brainer’ teach the ever vigilant, ‘way too well informed’ brands?
Apparently a lot, especially if the no-brainer belongs to Salman Khan.
I have always believed that movie audience is a discernible set of consumers—and by the looks of the power they wield over the success of the end product, by far the most empowered ones too!
Not that this theory found much support or else Consumer Tadka would have had a regular review section, for once offering a legitimate justification for my unrelenting movie/TV frenzy!
But it was not to be and my gleeful suggestion was promptly struck down, in the process, doing absolutely nothing to wean either my conviction or frenzy.
Armed with my conviction and my mother, I landed up at a show of Ek Tha Tiger in the local multiplex. A little late in the day but at least I made it and oh boy! what power boosters it had for my theory.
If this were a review site, I would have been one week too late for talking about this Salman Khan , as always predicted blockbuster. But this is not and when it comes to handing down lessons to brands in any context, Consumer Tadka believes time is definitely not of essence. And to quote (though completely out of context) the ominous but well meaning boards on the winding roads of a hills station I last visited, its better late than never.
Ek Tha Tiger, from the first frame itself had some valuable lessons for the brands in the country—and so I took it upon myself list a out a couple of precious tips that ever so generous Salman Khan offers, albeit unknowingly.
Now only if the brands were willing to listen!
Goodwill Matters, Consumer Loyalty Matters And Whether You Admit It Or Not, Every Satisfied Consumer Translates Into at least 3 If Not 10 More Consumers— Looking at my mother who gushed the moment Salman Khan made his lavish appearance on-screen would have led anyone to believe that she had been a die-hard Salman Khan fan since forever. But, that is hardly the case. Her love for Salman Khan is a pretty recent phenomenon but the consequences have been momentous. Every Salman Khan release is now a pious occasion, to be given due allegiance by every willing/unwilling family member, dutifully being dragged with her to the first show she can manage to watch.
This a capital realization that somehow fails to dawn on most brands in India or else customer care would have been a completely different story. A happy consumer is an asset every brand needs not just because it saves the hassle and ensures loyalty, but also because it means inevitable and obvious word of mouth publicity. And in a country like India where inter-personal relations are extremely dominant and people believe in seeking peer opinion on even the Hawaii chappal they wear, this factor becomes even more crucial.
Deliver What You Promise And You Can Do Without The Gimmicks—In a country where it was once believed that only sex and SRK sell, Sallu Mian went ahead and sold his product without either. To top it, he did it without any intellectual hassle of unnecessary frills like a good intelligent (!?) script!
Not venturing into the Khan wars, the simple lesson that lies here is that delivering what is promised is the crux of a successful brand. Salman Khan doesn’t promise intelligence. He doesn’t promise cryfests. He doesn’t promise stimulating content. All he promises is masala and delivers big-time. Junta is happy!
Ek That Tiger is the case in point. It was never packaged as a stimulating spy movie nor was it promised as a bolly-version of Tom Cruise magnum-opus. It was a Salman Khan fest—mindless action, slick locations and some dialogues (‘-isms’ as we call them) worth repeating and tada! the sure shot success formula was ready.
For all those who went looking for a sizzling chemistry, Sallu Mian managed it with a few benign hugs—the message being loud and clear, for more go check out the flicks with porn chicks. But junta doesn’t complain—a very clear validation of the theory of reasonable consumer expectations. Consumers behave reasonably, in fact, way more than reasonably if brands are true to their core promises.
If only the brands understood that I (or for that matter any consumer) wouldn’t care if I get an expensive set free or not, so long as my telecom services worked smoothly, were fair, did not overcharge and resolved my issues promptly as and when they arose.
Unfortunately, most brands tend to bank on frills to attract consumers, completely ignoring the fact that consumer happiness is directly proportional to the core delivery of the brand and not associate gimmicks. To put it differently, gimmicks may trigger infatuation but a sustained love affair is ensured only if the core promises are kept (which by the way is the most important relationship advice that can be given to anyone—now only if this were a relationship blog)!
Consumer Is The King And Classless. Cater To The Masses And Pay Due Respect—It is an utter delight to sit in a multiplex, the presumed haunt of the sophisticated lot and be treated with whistles and cat-calls. For me, this completes a movie experience.
If I were not an eve or if eve-teasing were not this big a concern, I would have never ever watched a movie but from the stalls of a single screen theater, the heart of the reactions that really and truly matter.
Forgive the pun. It was just to register my extreme discomfort with the frivolous terminology bestowed on as serious a concern as molestation.
Back to the point, Salman Khan unabashedly caters to the masses. So much so, that he brings out the masses that have conveniently hidden themselves behind false veil of acquired class. He is the one who can ring a multiplex with whistles—a feat which is actually not easy in a society that thrives on it pseudo class consciousness. His movies don’t distinguish between multiplexes and single screens. Nor does he disrespect the section of the society that constitutes the majority in the country. He offers them the best—best budgets, best locales, lavish films and at the same time caters to their sensibilities. In other words, his movies pay due respect to the masses and do I need to add that they are richly rewarded would be a gross understatement.
This is a point of realization that is extremely crucial for every brand in a country like India where more than half the population is still grappling for basic necessities. True that every brand has a target group but a conscious effort to be more masses-friendly will broaden the target base and eventually benefit the brands in the long term. I certainly do not suggest that brands should give up their niche. But, it hardly takes too much effort to be more friendly and approachable for the masses, especially considering the fact that in India, a large section of consumers for most brands that do not exclusively belong to the luxury section will be the ones who may not exactly be the niche crowd. Increasing approachability will only strengthen a brand at the grass-root level—a formula for sure shot long term success in India.
Sallu Mian may not be India’s answer to Steve Jobs nor does Ek Tha Tiger has the potential to be the next case-study for management students at IIM. But, not everything was born in a management institute. Salman Khan’s success is borne out of common sense or rather application of it. The points elucidated above wouldn’t be too hard to comprehend or for that matter apply, only if brands bothered to look closely enough. The bottom-line is whether the brands like it or not, in a competitive market, what ultimately separates an average success from a stupendous one is just one underlying factor—consumer happiness.
Don’t believe me—check out the trajectory of the rise and rise of Salman Khan!
(Poster Credit: tanqueed.com)