Is Religion An Enviable Brand?


By
Sreejith P R
S2 MBA
Institute of Management in Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram
E-mail:
rgmatthew@rediffmail.com
 


When corporate around the world are fighting with tooth and nail to preserve their brands or launch new ones to our midst through various forms of promotions and blandishments, here is one phenomenon called religion which is among us for ages. Without any of these ostentations it glues people together around the world irrespective of their nationalities; so what essentially is religion and what has made it such an appealing phenomenon?

"The Religion is broadly a way of life or belief based on a person's ultimate relation to the universe or a God or Gods. In this sense such diverse systems as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, and Shinto may be considered as religions. In a more commonly accepted sense, however, the term religion refers to faith in a divinely created order of the world," Nevertheless the above explanation given to religion by Microsoft Encarta may not reflect the dynamics of religions because it is invariably shrouded with an aura of mysticism and magic that has upholded the lanterns of religions for zillions of years.

Nothing has given me a concrete answer to why religion has an overarching influence over our social and personal life. From time immemorial it has been dominating our lives bringing order, peace, ethics, morality, tranquility, civility and happiness but also it had been accompanied by ills such as inquisitions, insurrections, war, misery, exploitation, casteism, corruption and so forth. Even in today's world we are witnessing terrorism and organized crimes of the worst form. In the name of religion, terrorist outfits are overtly and covertly waging wars against state and its subjects to meet their parochial sectarian goals. It has been reckoned as a major threat to the existence of human civilization even after carrying all these virtues and blemishes; religion still commands loyalty and following which would envy any global brand.

To compare religion with brand is a mockery but the inquisitiveness in me is forcing me to make comparison.   If we look at the history of branding, it predates modern marketing and is generally believed to have originated as an agricultural practice of the middle aged farmer; who allowed their cattle to graze on the open. Common lands need some way of distinguishing from their cattle there fore branded their animals with branding iron. Today the world and the market have moved to new marketing realities, now brand is company's most valuable asset.

Role of brand is to identify product with a particular source and is shared by both the ancient farmer and today's corporations. Brand is essentially a way of distinguishing the product of one company with product of its competitors. Brand must have value and also commensurate consistency, and offer a range of emotional and functional attributes, which are value to buyers. Building a brand around a philosophy lasts longer than creating a brand around certain product attributes .A brand is also set of meanings and beliefs, which are operational in a particular context. When the brand steps beyond this cultural context, it finds itself out of place as people out side the cultural context fail to assimilate what the brand harbors.

Brands such as Nike are an exception to an extent as it is deep rooted in attitude and has been traveling across cultures and yet became successful. Brand is a container for a customer's ultimate experience with the product and company; brand simplifies the buying process by differentiating a product on something besides price. Brand is also company's most valuable asset in making loyal users coming back and making faithful followers. Therefore to make an encompassing brand one has to tap universal human truths, which are, based on human nature, love for children and child. In all, the adult is a cultural neutral universal human truth.

Localize the global insight of HSBCs worlds' local bank as an example; last but not the least tap local insight: every person in the world is made up of three primary layers of values; personality, culture and hum nature. A brand needs to know which value level it wants to plug into as the brand needs to arrive at an insight corresponding to the value identified in the product. A powerful insight in to the product context is the surest way to gain brand dominance, for effective branding companies are spending billions of  dollars and scientific disciplined planning  but success has been in bits and pieces.

The formula for successful branding still eludes us marketers, they have failed to create a brand which is truly global in nature and popularity.  So as to create one we have to vivisect mysteries revolving around the truly global brand religion. Since it is a system that transcends culture, national boundaries, ethnicity, language there is little doubt why    it has become the lingua franca of the world. Religion system of meanings and beliefs has no Equals and it has moved untrammeled around the world for generations from one geographic location to another.

So if someone asks me, would there be any that could rival its hegemony in the world then my answer would be emphatic, NO!
 


Sreejith P R
S2 MBA
Institute of Management in Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram
E-mail:
rgmatthew@rediffmail.com
 

Source : E-mail April 8, 2005

 
 
 

 

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