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In the 21st century brands are the most important corporate assets. According to Interbrand, the top 100 brands (worldwide) are currently worth US$1.2 trillion. Millward Brown concurs. Sometimes, brands suffer from unintended consequences. When the Corona pandemic broke out, one of my favorite brands “Corona” took a hit.

They make the Corona cigars and the drink from malt and hops. The ‘Trump’ brand has lost its shine. So much so, in bridge tournaments teams no longer bid “Three no trumps”; they would much rather prefer to play 4 spades, or 4 hearts.

Years ago, when the hurricane Katrina hit the south eastern coast of the USA and devastated New Orleans, the then queen of Bollywood, Katrina Kaif, must have faced a few consequences. Katrina, in my reckoning, can whether any storm.

Maria Sharapova is the ambassador for many brands. When her steroid abuse issue hit the media, some brands abandoned her. Maria makes a great brand ambassador – when she is playing on court, nobody is watching the ball.

The politicians and others ruling Islamabad have little awareness of the word “branding”.

The first item on agenda should be to create “Brand Pakistan”. An international rollout would cost US$1 billion. Perhaps the honorable Moeed Yusuf can look into this – after all proper branding is a national security issue.

India launched the “Shining India” campaign 15 years ago.

Then came “Make In India”. Then “India Everywhere”. The latest is very relevant. Indians are everywhere. All those entrepreneurs and industrialists who have fled India for major corporate misdemeanors and now taking refuge in various countries, including my casual acquaintance Vijay Mallya (the king of good times).

Dubai, across the Khaleej, is famous for over the top branding.

They want the best, the newest, the largest, the latest, the biggest. The house of the Al-Makhtooms is on top of everything. If you are a super car collector, you can go to Dubai and find abandoned Porsches, Lamborghinis, Alfa Romeos, Bugattis, Ferraris, Bentleys, etc. All abandoned and covered in sand. The makers of these brands must be suffering pains of anxiety.

The “Emirates” brand (Airlines) became the most valuable brand from the Muslim world. There were Emirates football stadiums, cricket stadiums, extravaganza galore. Emirates even ordered about 150 airbus A380s.

Now the downturn has grounded most of them. Management history tells us that Singapore Airlines has had the best branding success ever, amongst all airlines.

In the age of instant communication and social media, politicians and political parties have to be conscious of branding.

The Sharif brothers have a few negative branding attributes. NS shows his 70-year indulgence in nihari, brain masala, paya, lassi, gulab jamun, etc.

When he inserts his right hand in the lapel of his coat, it is a gesture reminiscent of Napoleon Bonaparte.

The younger Sharif, SS, must realize that orange hair is no longer “in”.

In his bush shirt and solar hat, he should pose beside Kim’s Gun, lower mall, Lahore. It would do Rudyard Kipling proud.

The very honorable PM, IK, is one of the most valuable personal brands in the world.

During his ‘Jet setting’ days, his multiple celebrity friends were also ‘brands’.

If only I could interview Mick Jagger for an insight into the parties in Bali and Martinique.

(The writer is the former Executive Director of the Management Association of Pakistan)

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

Farooq Hassan

The writer is a former Executive Director of the Management Association of Pakistan


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