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Three questions

india Updated: Jul 03, 2011 20:42 IST
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I have always believed that brands do not belong to categories. They actually belong to emotions. So homes jostle with other categories such as cars and insurance because they represent either security or status depending on which home at which station in your life.

I like operating in this comparatively wider perspective because it broadens one's thought process and allows one to sculpt a strategy with greater precision and sometimes more endearing emotions.

I also like to follow strategic templates that are vast in their span and scope. For several years, I was mesmerized by the Y&R Marketing Work Plan. I thought it was magical.

More recently, in a moment of weakness I picked up a copy of a book by Tom Peters (I haven't read much of him, honestly). I came across a section that has three questions. According to Peters, these were the only three things that one had to ask of the brand to be able to arrive at a cogent flight path for its future.

It was simply sensational and ever since I have employed it across all our presentations.

The three questions are:

1. What will be enhanced?

2. What will be diminished?

3. What will be replaced?

Each of these questions, simple as they may sound, is far from simplistic. I utilised them to craft a digital strategy for a heavy engineering brand. Just last week, I adopted it for a financial product.

When you sit down to answer these three questions for, say, a brand of ketchup, it will drive you bananas. For it will force you to throttle the neck of the marketing head to get an answer. But when you do get one, you will have a fabulous story.

Increasingly, in our business, we are often ready with the answers for most of our clients. We rarely ask the rightly resonating questions.

I am so glad that I do not have the answers very easily any more.

Mercifully, what I do have are three great questions.

The writer is CEO, Equus Red Cell.