The Brand is a Forgetment

Marketing Gyan with Harish Bijoor

My quest for a definition continues. The best I have to offer as of now is just this. The brand is a thought! A powerful thought that rubs shoulders with thoughts of all kinds in a person’s head. A head without silos that stock and file methodically! Instead a head in which the thought of Dad swims in tandem with the thought of an Old Monk rum and the thought of your girlfriend swims along with grace and finesse with Red Tape shoes!

The brand can therefore be a positive thought. A negative thought even! Positive thoughts hold the potential of converting into revenue some time or the other and negative thoughts hold the potential of stymieing future revenue for a long time to come!

Managing both these sets of thoughts, positive and negative, is the task of the brand manager then. The complexity of this task dawns large on your head when you discover that the brand is a thought in a consumer’s head. A thought that lives individually and independently in a consumer’s head. The thought of Citibank could be a positive thought in one head, just as it is a negative thought in another. What more, the size of positivism of the thought in one Citibank-positive head is certainly different from the size of Citibank in another Citibank-positive head!

Brand managers live complex lives. As many of us who are married will understand, managing one head and the varied thought in it is itself so difficult! Imagine managing the thought of the brand you handle in 40 million heads all at one go!

Micro-managing the brand is the challenge ahead of the new generation of brand folk. The best of technology initiatives will need to help. This help at best will be a negligible input to the process of brand management though.

Smaller micro brands with smaller volumes and tinier needs to occupy the space of smaller sets of minds will be that much better managed than larger brands that need to live in millions of heads. The challenge of tomorrow is therefore exciting!

As I close this oblique piece on the brand and its very definition dug out of its DNA, offering a scary micro task ahead of us for the future, I must remind you that the true blue brand is a thought. A thought you need not think about at all!

Let me explain.

The brand that has actually arrived on the horizon is a brand that makes you forget its choice altogether. The true-blue brand is a 'forgetment', if I am allowed to coin that word.

The true-blue brand is one which does not burden your choices and decisions at all! Look at it this way. All of us make decisions every single day. These decisions are about all kinds of things. It is about which school to put your kid into, how much pocket money to start your six year old on? Where to invest our hard earned money? Which flat to buy? And of course fifty decisions everyday demanding choice of toothpaste, 'atta', rice, tea, shoe and whatever else we buy for our everyday need!

The true blue brand is one which does not demand your decision at all. The real solid  brand is one which does not burden you. The truly solid  brand is one that is a ‘forgetment’ really.

When you are really confident of the brand, you stop making choices. All other competing choices go out of the window. In your own little head, there is just no debate! If you want to buy a car, it will be a Corolla! If you want an air conditioner, it will be a Voltas! If it is a shoe, it will be a Bata! Not by choice, but my conscious default. No one to shake you on this! There is just no debate.

The real brand is one that comes with a pre-made decision in your head. There is just no debate on whether you will buy it or whether you will buy another. It is a pre-made choice. It comes with the hard-disk literally by default!

A brand is a brand when it does not trouble you to decide for it or against it!

Think about it.

Harish Bijoor is a Marketing and Brand strategy specialist and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. Follow him on @harishbijoor, Email: