Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mythology MUST influence brand strategy

This is ABSOLUTELY THE MOST FASCINATING AND VISIONARY IDEA in retailing! Cheers to Mr. Biyani and his team for their bold and ever so bohemian stance. For a developing country like India religion is a a very strong element of who the people are.

"You need science to validate art. But without art, science has no meaning. As CEO, you must keep Kama (creative spirit) and Yama (control) in proper and constant balance in your firm."

Greek mythology (which Western management gurus and motivational speakers heavily borrow from) won't work in India for two reasons: first, Greek myths center on a single character and adulate individual heroism (Heracles, Odysseus, Achilles, etc). Second, they promote absolute values (good vs. bad). But Hindu myths like Ramayana are cast with multiple heroes and imbued with relative values (e.g., Hinduism considers a bad action acceptable if animated by a good intention). In the highly diverse and complex Indian society, internal and external marketing stories won't sink in unless they embody "collective heroism" and non-Manichean values.
  1. "Whole brain" marketing and communication techniques that combine both art (gut feeling, sociology, and even mythology) and science (analytics, business processes) are key for shaping new markets and keeping employees engaged.
  2. As Western companies go after global markets that are increasingly complex and diverse , US and European firms must adopt and adapt stories from Indian mythology to inspire and engage customers and employees
A very interesting and engaging management conversation for sure and given Future Group's success in India, as a marketer I thinking an equally engaging marketing strategy!