Manosh R. Sengupta, is a branding baron credited with having parented India’s celebrated brands such as IDEA Cellular, Wipro-Acer, Reliance mobile to name a few. He has also been associated with the top advertising agency, JWT, and is the man behind creating the iconic Kingfisher jingle “ooo…lalala…leio”. Manosh currently operates through his single-entity advisory setup, ‘brand-@itude’, offering Strategic Consultancy and Perspective Enhancement Training..
Q. What is branding according to you?
A. Brand for me is a human life, built on a set of values, the emotional connect that it has with its stake holders. Its what creates the value for a brand. If you look at it from a human life perspective, its exactly how we look at our lives. So for me a brand is a human life form. Branding is a process of taking this human life form, nurturing it, nourishing it to become a big star.
“We are always talking ‘to’ and not talking ‘with’. That’s where most of our communication gap comes in.”
Q. How to successfully merge business solutions with creativity?
A. I don’t think there is any conflict between business needs and creative solutions. The creation of a brand is not a self-indulgent journey. There is a brief that the business has to achieve some goal. To achieve it there are various products that help. That product has to be marketed in a way that gains acceptance. To create the acceptance you have to understand the consumer. To understand the consumer you have to dig deep into the person’s psyche and insight. Saying something witty and funny doesn’t make a brand. If you understand the consumer and are able to bring out an insight and you demonstrate to your client that I believe it cause I have gone and met the consumer, I have spoken to him/her I have understood her and I feel this is what they need, therefore this part of your product will fulfill their need in this fashion.
Q. How diverse is branding across different market sizes?
A. If in a huge multinational company where the advertisement budget is big, the campaign objective is not met, the impact is not that deep. But for small investors, spending ‘x’ amount on an ad has to ensure him of sales of at least 5x in return to compensate not only for the ad but also the rental, salaries and raw materials.
Q. Do you think our current education system leaves ant scope for creativity?
A. Asking questions is the first step to discovery, sadly today the education system is all about cramming. So from a crammer one has to go to a learner. One who can adapt to change when required. We are all victims of the education system, but some are able to break out of it only because they are not constrained by the morals of the society and they don’t judge. It is all about breaking out of the shell. Going out of your current curriculum.
Q. How do you deal with different global values in branding?
A. We talk about changing values across the globe, but values never change, they are timeless and exist across cultures and generations. It exists in all societies across the world. How they are expressed changes over time and place. That’s where cultural nuances come into play.
Q. As a branding stalwart and a master of communication, how do you effectively relate to people of new generations?
A. Hypothetically, maybe, my grandfather may not have entered the room when my great grandfather was there, he would possibly speak to him through his mother. My father would never sit in front of his father. I would always stand up if my father was in the room. My children, forget about not standing up, they have taken away my favorite spot on my couch. But do I feel disrespected? No. The fact that they ask me how my day was on returning home, shows the concern that they have for me.
With each generation, the attitudinal expression changes. If I insist that they treat me the way I treated my father then there will be a disconnection. I have to go beyond the behavior and understand that there is no disrespect in it. You have to understand that they are living in a different time and if you have to understand that you have to respect that time.