Ashish Mishra
Guest Article

Brand new trajectories and iconic moves

Positioning has now become a static status quo, as people’s expectations change faster than brands and businesses, says our guest author.

In the erstwhile world of relatively higher permanence, it was fine for brands to mark out their differences in the customer’s mind versus peer group, by taking on a unique qualifier as their positioning. The new world has never-ending discontinuities, and creates a constant flux of expectations.

Positioning is irrelevant. Brands need a dynamic thematic as their trajectory to deliver the radical ideology. Positioning was an adjective. Trajectory needs to be a verb.

Whatever Jio does is driven by its purpose to transform India through a digital revolution by connecting everyone to everything everywhere. Asian Paints is moving towards its ambition by helping people create beautiful homes.

But apart from the thematic, what are the constituents of this new trajectory?

Constant discovery of the new, curated or real, magnifies desires and aspirations. People’s expectations move at a pace that’s much faster than businesses and brands. Quite simply, incremental moves keep you in the game, but it takes ‘iconic moves’ to stay ahead of expectations.

These iconic moves prop up the trajectory through a few powerful and ‘edge of today’ initiatives, which disrupt the competitive landscape and deliver unexpected delight to customers.

When the world was beginning to acclimatise to ‘green’, GE made an iconic move through ‘Ecomagination’. Sephora created a store as an iconic move that changed the concept of beauty. Mini disrupted the traditional perceptions of a small car by creating the first small luxury car. Amazon, upon its introduction, exceeded customer expectations through Alexa.

Closer home, Jio was Reliance’s iconic move. Jio World Centre was Jio’s iconic move. Tata’s takeover of the national carrier Air India and JSW’s bold leadership in sporting talent, stand out as iconic moves in the recent years.

ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel’s creation of India’s first New Age Makers Institute of Technology (NAMTECH), is a proof of how new brands are beginning to adopt these strategies early in their journey.

And, above all, at a country level, the National Payments Commission’s UPI is an iconic move. It has put India at an exemplary position in driving growth through the breakthrough payments solution, in spite of the country’s complex and diverse demography.

(Our guest author is Ashish Mishra, CEO, Interbrand India & South Asia.)

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