'Being Human' is a rare exception, where a successful brand has been created with association of a Bollywood celebrity. Salman Khan has nurtured the brand carefully which has grown from strength to strength with his patronage. Salmans charisma coupled with some clever marketing ideas makes this brand tick.
Measurement of success of a brand can easily be gauged from the relative ease with which the fakes are available in the market. From this perspective, Being Human, the brand promoted, owned and endorsed by Salman Khan is a very successful brand as anybody and everybody who is conscious about brands and fashion has the desire to own a brand displaying the brand name “Being Human”.
It is one of the apparent paradoxes of the world of cinema in India, that with such a phenomenal fan following in the country and around the world it has not been able to create, cultivate, nurture and foster brands in association with the icons who dominated and continue to dominate the day to day life of the average Indian cinema fan, Being Human the only exception.
Is it owing to the fact that the consciousness about a brand is not of the same levels in the country as it is there in other parts of the world and therefore the fraternity from the world of cinema has been rather sanguine about developing a brand around a cinematic persona? Not really, as the consciousness about a brand in the country is quite manifest, apparent from the branded shops mushrooming even in the mofussil parts of the country what to talk of the cities and the metropolitan cities.
From the sense of pushing a brand and creating an awareness about it to let it evolve and gain acceptance, the kind of efforts that Salman Khan has made for his brand Being Human, has not been done by any other brand promoter. After he started his brand, he took a conscious decision to create awareness about the brand by wearing it day in and day out at various public forums that he appeared at. Besides, those who are associated with him were either cajoled to push the brand by wearing it, or were pushed to do it, whatever be the case; this effort created a buzz around the brand and the followers took it up.
It also goes without saying that tremendous fan following and the goodwill that Salman Khan has among his fans was also a catalytic factor in establishing Being Human brand as a brand worth aspiring for, and worth being flaunted about. To push the brand further, Salman Khan incorporated his brand identity into his twitter account as well. Salman Khan also leveraged on the goodwill that he exercised in the industry among his contemporaries to use them as brand managers in fashion shows to push his brand, and the icing on the cake was involving small children from the film fraternity to create a buzz around the brand, as Salman Khan had done in one of the fashion shows were he picked up Sushmita Sen's daughter to promote the brand. Salman Khan has been rather a lucky fellow in the Hindi film industry that he has worked with one of the most successful female actors across the time span and he has used his charm among them to catwalk for him to promote Being Human.
It might be considered as one of the most successful brand building exercises around the persona of a star, and that too without involving marketing whiz kids or without a punch line as its tag, but its success was an outcome of the fact that Salman Khan otherwise was not in the business of endorsing and pushing brands as his fellow actors have been doing for quite a long time. So for him it was rather easy to launch a brand of his own and let his fans take it over from there to establish it as a brand which is now the talk of the cinematic fraternity.
The title of the brand also is an extension of the kind of charitable works that he is associated with and therefore its acceptance was rather swift and fast. After all, at the back of the mind we all aspire to Being Human, and there is no other fashion brand in vogue presently which rides piggy bag on charity and could this also be one of the reasons why the brand “Being Human” is slowly but firmly expanding its horizon. Indeed, the concoction that Salman Khan has brewed with his iconic brand Being Human, of weaving a synergy between fashion and charity is one of the few rare examples of such kind.
Endorsing or being associated with a fashion statement, brand or an event, but for the participants and the associates is always viewed through a prism of guilt, but this kind of exercise is not associated with “Being Human” at all. For the fans of Salman Khan, his loyalty to the brand that he has promoted is also a motivating factor. Though Salman has endorsed other brands, while endorsing Being Human, Salman Khan has ensured, that it's an extension of his own brand identity, so that the message of the product is never diffused, as it happens in case of most of the endorsements that the film stars of his ilk do.
Comparing the efforts made by Salman Khan to promote his brand and the efforts and the energy that is devoted to build other brands, one thing becomes quite apparent that the brand building exercise with a brand is never a concentrated effort. The manner in which RA.One games were publicized is a telling pointer to the fact. Till the time the movie was not released focus on games associated with the theme of the movie was the talk of the town, but once the film went away, the associated image building exercise with a product was also consigned to the bins. One is also reminded of the efforts in this direction made when Krrish was released. Quite a lot of merchandize associated with the brand was released, but within a month of the film being released, the merchandize started being offered at a discount. Once the price tag associated with acquisition of a brand is diffused, the longevity of the brand becomes a discounted commodity. Being Human, on the other hand continues to go from strength to strength. In the third season of KBC where Big B had invited Salman Khan, he had consciously chosen to wear suits with his brand tag being displayed with prominence. He derives pride from his brand.
It is this pride which is lacking in case of other efforts to build up a brand around a film star, or a film and is not allowing another brand associated with film to develop. May be, the success of Being Human would inspire others to have a relook into the whole process and build up another brand like Being Human. It is high time the same is done and is done on an urgent basis.
Bolly Guru started writing features on cinema with a challenge thrown by a friend to underline that cinematic writing is not a serious stuff. He thinks, cinema being the mirror to and of the society, if one wants to interpret with societal and the managerial tools, and also by factoring in the aspirations and feelings of common man, it can indeed be a serious business. Through this column, he would try to address the same, by bringing in the historical premises, the managerial jargons as also the earthy wisdom of the laity to facilitate a discourse on cinema. Bolly Guru will engage the readers to chip in with their views to make the cinema viewing a serious issue, but with a tinge of humor. The author may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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