The woods are lovely, dark and deep /But I have promises to keep /And miles to go before I sleep…
I went to a school where emphasis on diction, posture and recitation defined poetry. It deserved its indulgence. ‘Cup one hand in another and transport the class to the realm of the deep dark woods’. It was nice.
Book reading had a similar impact. As a listener I absorbed those moments of a writer, as if they were creating their stories right there. Their voice added to my imagination, as did their body language. I would have loved to listen to JK Rowling.
Now imagine that evening when YOU sat at the circus and gulped watching the trapeze act. Then you heard and saw the motorcycles go round and round with absolute steadiness and ease like the swirling dervishes. Trainers kissed lions. Lions caught your eye menacingly. A clown tumbled and fell. It was a part of his act. You laughed in relief that the lions were safely gone.
What a show! What an impact! The circus. In fact, our experience with brands should be no different.
Every brand starts a dialogue the moment it’s launched. It wears its make-up, puts forth its best act and lays out its lines. You often read between the lines, searching for the most interesting story that can make the brand truly yours.
In Kabbalah and Sufi practices, stories and mysticism lead. Expressed through words sometimes. Dancing at other times. Brands that leave impressions do the same.
I love Slash (Guns n Roses ex-lead guitarist) for many reasons. I could never really see his face when he performed. I love him at the chapel in ‘November Rain’. I love his tight jeans & nose ring. And I love that these days, he is sharing the making of his 2010 album on my facebook fan page. Today, he has a
bigger story than
his band and many teenage budding rock stars love his strings too.
Simply put, the aura created, can often linger far beyond the media metrics and time.
A few decades ago, big circus acts performed by TV series like Star Trek used memorabilia, had fan gatherings and masquerade acts. The thrill today is in this drama being a bit of a tease, in non-conforming ways, when most unexpected. I recently saw a sticker on the back of a rickshaw that said ‘CAPACITY: 3 IDIOTS’. I laughed. I’ll watch the movie alright. What does it say?
It’s the same message then and now. Tantalize me. Surprise me. Involve me. Make me want to belong.
Hypothetically, imagine if Samsung had done its brand film ‘live’ too. Where the dancers created a sound and visual show that flaunted colourful and varied world talent. Would you forget?
Imagine if Body Shop tied up with Al Gore and used the power of the digital world to create fans of Green. Believers of Green. Buyers of Green. They took a pledge to stay committed to CAUSE GREEN. Would you forget?
My experience of Switzerland started when I landed at Zurich airport. The train ride from the terminal to baggage was peppered with the sound effects of the cow mooing and its bell ringing. My mind’s storybook read, ‘Welcome to Switzerland, land of plentiful milk and cheese’. I ate a lot of cheese that day.
I love acts. And like the circus, each brand needs to have many acts to create wholesome, unforgettable experiences. Brands always tell stories. And stories well told are box office hits. Take your inspiration from the biggest performers. Enable the brand write its autobiography with drama. Mystic. Imagination. Then set it free. Enjoy.
Sandhya Srinivasan is managing partner and planning director, Law & Kenneth