There is a prevailing notion amongst marketers of every hue and persuasion that marketers are meant to be the guardians of their brands. By creating brands in their image, instilling in them values, coaching them to success, mentoring them to compete with the world outside and grooming them for greatness, marketers often assume the role of parents to the brands in their custody.
This notion is often inverted in the real world. Rather than be parented by a marketer, a brand is often parent, mentor and guide to the marketer willing to listen and learn.
In a world where marketing hubris can often compel marketers to think that they define a brand’s fate, it is often the perceptive marketer willing to be mentored by their brand that helps it chart new territory and rise to greater and hitherto unexplored heights.
This is a difficult perspective to adopt because it means submitting to the brand’s intrinsic qualities and adopting the idiom of those who define a brand’s true value – its consumers. But doing so, with the added responsibility of enhancing the brand with the marketer’s own ingenuity gives it new meaning without diluting its core or corrupting its genetic code.
In this respect, the relationship between brand and marketer is no different from that between parent and child. The brand as parent, the marketer as its progeny – is learning, imbibing, interpreting and re-inventing the brand’s own persona. In marketing as in life, the analogy is even more complete when corresponded with the six stages of the parenting process.
The brand through its various stakeholders anticipates the arrival of a new custodian. With an expected change of guard, calculations about the possibility of impending change are made and a brand’s evolutionary direction is forecasted by those who watch it closely.
During the first few years, the brand’s stakeholders begin comparing their forecast and assumptions about what the marketer would be like and how the brand would evolve, with reality.
e brand, in due deference to its lineage and in keeping with its pedigree, defines the rules that the marketer must adhere to. At this stage, the marketer begins to challenge convention but the brand’s own strictures rein in the marketer’s urge to alter the brand’s evolutionary status.
As the marketer matures during her time working under the tutelage of the brand, the balance within the relationship nears a stage of relative equilibrium. The brand begins to become concerned about how their custodian perceives them – have they grown and adapted as their marketer had hoped they would? Are they adequately equipped to take on the challenges of the changing brand order and the competitive landscape or will their marketer alter them irrevocably.
The brand’s long cherished beliefs are contested by the marketer’s convictions about which direction the brand should pursue. While the brand continues to be anchored in its origins and impose its authority, an adult relationship is formed between brand and marketer with greater consensus-building around how the brand should re-engineer its world view in order to be better poised for greater glory.
The brand finally agrees to tread the course charted by its newest custodian. While being constantly tethered to its essence and fundamental strengths, it grows to imbibe new meaning through the marketer’s interpretation of its more contemporary form and function. Even as the marketer moves the brand towards new ground, the brand and its stakeholders evaluate the brand’s progress and the experience of its evolution in its entirety.
With the Godrej Master brand and the various brands that constitute its portfolio, this process of parenting has ensued and helped create a better understanding of what it takes to build a brand without breaking the covenant it has made with its most loyal adherents . Whether we look at the Godrej Master brand itself, or other brand franchises within the Godrej group, each has acquired new meaning and relevance that has been built on the unshakeable elements of its equity. These brands have taught their marketers important lessons about what it takes to excel at creating powerful propositions that can augment their equity and outsmart their competitors at the same time.
By understanding each stage in this unique relationship between brand and marketer, marketers bequeathed with the brands that take them under their charge can impart their own signature to a brand and shape an indestructible bond between themselves and their consumer. That is, after all, the ultimate test of marketing excellence.