afaqs!

Guest Article: Harish Bijoor: Brand Tihar Jail

By Harish Bijoor , Harish Bijoor Consults Inc., Bengaluru | In Marketing | June 10, 2011
Tihar Jail is a brand with a very high recall value, and a brand that floats amidst the top five brand names that people in India have been thinking about in the month gone by.

After 53 years of being around, Tihar Jail has attained the status of a mega brand. A brand with a very high recall value, and a brand that floats amidst the top five brand names that people in India have been thinking about in the month gone by.

Now, you are going to laugh about this.

We run a monthly monitor of brands and brand names that make a mark. Across seven geographies. India, included. We do it on the 7th of every month, rain, shine, hailstone or tsunami.

And, guess what? This month's biggest brand in the bag as far as India is concerned is not Bata, which went into a revamp mode, not the generic sounding "2G", which beat "3G" hollow, thanks to all the negative publicity the scam brought home. Not "IPL", which just about concluded on a high, and not "Wild Stone" and every other deodorant brand that went berserk spending money establishing the status of a girl-magnet brand, and not twenty other brands that you and I have been watching on television tell us what to buy and what to use.

Instead, what has floated up in the top five, along with everything else I have just referred to, is an institution brand. Not the IIM, Ahmedabad. Not any of our IITs. Instead, the top brand in the minds and psyches of Indians at large in the month gone by: Tihar Jail!

Wow! Not bad for Tihar Jail. After 53 years of being around, Tihar Jail has attained the status of a mega brand. A brand with a very high recall value, and a brand that floats amidst the top five brand names that people in India have been thinking about in the month gone by.

How does this happen?

I define the brand simply: The brand is a thought. A thought that lives in people's minds. If you were to buy this definition of mine, every thought that lives in a consumer's mind is a brand. To an extent the thought of your Dad floats along with the thought of Amul butter, and possibly 800 plus brands that live top of mind in an average consumer's mind.

In our minds, there are really no partitions that divide brands and keep them aside as brands of people, and brands of products, and brands of services, and brands of institutions. And, if that is so, Tihar Jail in Tihar Village in the West of Delhi, today floats top of mind with the best brands that live and thrive in your mind.

What then, does this mean?

The jail already has its products. Time for Tihar Jail to monetise this opportunity. With its host of celebrity guests biding time, this might just be the time to get things going. Time to get its logo right. Time to establish for itself the status of a brand with a logo, a colour, a slogan, and perhaps, more?

This is a brand that needs no advertising for sure. Thankfully. The brand has been built bottom-up, and totally with inputs of generations. Just goes to show that brands are built with positive strokes, and brands are built with negative strokes. If AIIMS is a brand built assiduously over the years, so is Tihar Jail. With different strokes!

Let's then welcome Tihar Jail to the hall of brands.

And, what's the last bullet to bite? Or, the last shovel of salt to swallow?

A merchandise store at Tihar Jail? A place one can buy Tihar branded T-shirts, mugs, shot-glasses, and more? As souvenirs of a brand that has arrived?

Or better still, imagine a pub owner who thinks up a Tihar Jail theme pub? Wait for more. Brand Tihar Jail is here.

Touché!

(The author is a brand-strategy specialist and chief executive officer, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. Twitter.com/harishbijoor)

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