Hi Guys, Came across this interesting article by Madhukar SAbnavis-Country Manager-O&M. the question raised by the article is r we losing our Indian identity by trying 2 ape the west in all means???? What have u 2 say?



Why Indian brands prefer 'English' names

In 1998, a prospective employee did not come to Ogilvy for a job

because she was asked to meet a person called Madhukar Sabnavis. She felt a

person with such a name must be pretty terrifying!

Wafah bin Laden struggles to get acceptance in both the West and in

Saudi Arabia. The West hates her for her surname; the Saudis hate her for

her American values.

When a multinational agency wanted to move a section of its office to

Lower Parel in the early 90s, the CEO quite smartly renamed the area

Upper Worli. Parel was a mill area while Worli was a posh, upper-class

locality. The new name suddenly made the inevitable shift a little more


When you have a name like Bachchan after your first name and have a

heritage with it, suddenly it becomes a passport to get your first break

with a big film maker and then get repeat breaks over and over again --

despite a spate of flops, all because of the name. In the past in

Bollywood, many stars like Dilip Kumar, Meena Kumari and Madhubala changed

their names just to make themselves more easily acceptable to a larger


So to say what's in a name in the brand-building process is perhaps not

giving the brand name its due. And to say it is everything is not

giving the other elements of the process of brand building their due. A rose

by any other name may smell just as sweet but would not be a rose!

The name is the beginning of the branding process and branding is a

journey. A brand comprises the name and all the other associations built

on it through the product, packaging and communication. A good start

helps but how the journey is undertaken finally decides.

Yet as often one has to live with a name for life (as most of us do

with our personal names), it has always seemed worthwhile to agonise over

to get an appropriate name that all stakeholders are comfortable with.

Nonsense names give the marketer and advertising agency the flexibility

to craft its character and personality the way they want. While "Nike"

is the Greek goddess of victory, this is perhaps known to very few

people and it is the attitude the brand represents that makes it desirable

-- and that is what communication has layered onto it. So is the same

for a number of other brands like "Lux" or "Liril" or "Chiklets" or


However, it must be recognised that in the Indian context, an "Indian"

name does help to build affinity while an "English" name could help to

build aspiration cues to a larger market. In this context, "Peter

England" as a name is quite interesting.

When the brand offered good ready-to-wear shirts at an affordable

price, the name gave the right premium cues to make it a label the average

middle class "tailored shirt" buyer could wear with pride -- especially

in a ready-to-wear world bombarded with western sounding names.

Similarly when Asian Paints launched a premium emulsion brand in the

early 1990s to compete with western brands like Berger and ICI, the name

"Royale" gave the brand instant luxury cues even before the consumer

saw any other elements of the brand mix. Interestingly, neither forms of

brand names are limiting in any way!

Sometimes good brand names can add intrinsic value to the product being

promoted and make the task of the other elements easier. "Taaza" tea is

a case in point -- it instantly communicates "freshness", a value

consumers seek from tea. Or Tiger tea, which by name connotes strength and

becomes the quickest shorthand for the brand.

"100 Pipers" conjures up naturally pictures of Scotland to a normal

consumer and it adds to the mystique and strength of the brand.

However, such names carry with them the constraints or limitations of

the brand having to operate in a territory defined by the label

attached. And any attempt to shift tracks from natural associations with the

name would require special effort.

So is there much ado about brand names? All that needs to be done at

the start of the branding process is to find a name that is easy to

pronounce, ensure that there are no negative meanings if the brand is being

offered in multi-lingual markets and then build values around it. In

fact, in history, pronunciation has also not been a barrier.

Titan has been pronounced as "Teeetaan" and Hutch has been variously

pronounced as "Haj" and "Hootch". Yet both brands have managed to build

large franchises, living with the mispronunciations. Yet it cannot be

disputed that a name that is comfortable on the tongue can help a brand

in its initial years.

But the challenge in future is going to be bigger. With the

commoditisation of brands, the fragmentation of the media, and the reducing

effectiveness of every rupee of communication budgets, every element in the

brand-building mix will be expected to stretch and work harder in

building a distinct brand positioning.

And a good name can give a brand a "head start" rather than just a

"start", as has been the rule in the past. Just as on the athletic field

more and more science is going into helping the runner get the momentum

to start with -- better shoes and better posture -- the time has come

for brand builders to get a name that can give the brand that extra push

in the market.

"French Connection" in the UK is a great example in this context. When

the brand was re-launched in 1997, it was just a middle-of-the- road

brand appealing to diverse audience with little fashion connotations.

The drama of the re-launch started with the name -- someone very

cleverly recombined the initials of the company to come up with an

interesting (and "unpronounceable") name, FCUK.

And the name was a great starting point for a brand with an attitude --

one of being unpredictable, rebellious, daring, prepared to be

different, not anti-establishment but independent-minded, original, not a

fashion slave, does not want to be told what to wear or how to wear.

Not surprisingly, it captured the imagination of a younger audience.

The name then inspired the creative to spawn a series of campaigns --

fcuk fashion and fcuk advertising. And a third with headlines like "french

connection me", "french connection someone", "french connection

yourself", and "what the french connection".

Besides striking the right attitude, these campaigns created enough

extra noise through the publicity they generated -- from the work and from

the banning the first two campaigns received. And thus a name gave a

brand lot more than just an identifier it is often associated with!

"Kama Sutra" is another very interesting name for a brand of condoms.

Coming from the Indian social fabric, there is a story and a myth

relevant to the category that the brand name communicates and so offers a

great starting point for the branding process. Whether the name came by

design or by instinct one doesn't know, but the fact is it's a powerful


The challenge for marketers and communicators alike in the future is to

get into the fabric of society and unearth or define names that can

give a head start to the branding process.

Something worth thinking about.

Madhukar Sabnavis is Country Manager, Discovery, with Ogilvy and

Mather, India. The views expressed are his own

From India, Chennai
swati good one but the article is a bit long....try posting synopsis of articles u go through...just an advice..... :lol: regards vishal
From India, Mumbai

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