P. C. Balasubramanian and Ram N. Ramakrishnan are
chartered accountants who laboriously established their
respective careers outside the finance and accounting
profession. They both perform business and management
P. C. Balasubramanian is one of the founder directors
of Matrix Business Services India. He is passionate
about enterprise and institution-building. He is also an
ardent admirer of Rajinikanth and one of the authors of
the bestselling Rajini's Punchtantra: Business and Life
Management the Rajinikanth Way.
Ram N. Ramakrishnan has worked in management
consultancy for two decades. After a stint with a well-
known corporate house in Mumbai, Ram set up his own
consulting service and currently performs management
advisory in the Arabian Gulf.
A successful brand is all about what it does, not what it says or shows. It delivers consistently positive experiences to its admirers, which come from keeping its promises to them and earning their trust-that it will do its very best, at every point of contact, to deliver what is expected. Like any person, a brand has a physical 'body: Also, like a person, a brand has a name, a personality, character and a reputation. Like a person, you can respect, like and even love a brand. You can think of it as a deep personal friend, or merely an acquaintance. You can view it as dependable or undependable; principled or opportunistic; caring or capricious....
People have character ... so do brands. A person's character flows from his or her integrity: the ability to deliver under pressure, the willingness to do what is right rather than what is expedient. You judge a person's character by his/her past performance and the way he/she thinks and acts in both good times and especially bad. The same is true of brands.
Here's to the crazy ones. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. While some may see them as crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.
That, to us, sums up our Grand Brand Rajini. 'Rajini' signifies a huge, respected, admired, adored, reviewed, tested, loved and even worshipped concept- it is consumed and cherished by consumers of all age groups, genders, communities and religions. Brand Rajini is, in its essence, a unique story. It is about the reaching down and pulling out of an authentic entity. To many, Brand Rajini may appear a facade: but to most, it has the power to create an almost visual connect, instantly communicating to the world the idea of a brand that delivers.
Rajinikanth the actor has outgrown his identity as a successful and talented artist: he is a superstar, a superhero, a respectable human being, a role model, or simply a "Thalaivar' ('chief') to Indians across the globe, cutting across geographical barriers. According to Internet sources, there are over 150,000 fan clubs of Rajinikanth, not counting the Rajini websites-one of which works only when you are not connected to the Internet! The inventiveness of Brand Rajini inspires innovation in the minds of its followers too.
There is no counting the hours that admirers spend recalling their Rajinikanth rendezvous. Common sense and intuition tells us: this is Grand Brand Rajini. For any brand to succeed, it is vital that it delight and captivate its customers. That is possible only when it finds a place in both the mind and heart of customers. Brand Rajini indeed lives in the heart, mind and souls of its hard core fans, admirers and followers.
Did Shivaji Rao Gaikwad, the actor Rajinikanth, the superstar and cultural icon, build a brand called Rajini? Was it consciously launched? How is it still enduring?
Is it merely a result of the fact that it originated in the entertainment industry? We explore these questions, and more, to find interesting parallels in the industry, cutting across borders, culture and habits, concordant with brand successes and failures that have made the branded world today.
Change, as they say, is the only constant in this world.
And Rajini has gone from lungi-clad, beedi-smoking villain to sophisticated digital robot with amazing grace- to create the world of Brand Rajini. We traverse the journey of how this brand was launched, what made it successful initially, what went into the thinking process to make it sustainable, how it tapped into the emotions of people and, finally, how it acquired cult status-giving us the conviction to conclude that Rajini is indeed one of the greatest brands to emerge out of India.
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