Sunday, January 19, 2014

Brand Blessings from Ganesha

India is a religious country with multiple beliefs, practices and festivals. According to Hindu mythology alone, there are 330 million Gods and Goddesses.

But there’s one of them that stands out – Lord Ganesha. Or Ganpati Bappa, as he’s called lovingly. Or The Elephant God as he's called by fascinated tourists. Very few Gods enjoy the popularity and celebrity status as Ganesha does. What makes him so special? I’ll attempt to answer that from a brand POV, rather than a religious one.

Cut-through – Among the universe of so many Gods and beliefs, Ganesha seems to be a clear favourite and his appeal transcends differences of religion, sects, caste and languages. No wonder you find an idol of Ganesha in every third car or house or office desk

Democratic Customization – Ganesha is like an open-art-source. There are millions of visual representations of him in different avatars, clothing and situations, etc. Artists (both amateur and professional) take the creative and divine liberty of using Ganesha’s visual appeal to make their own point. Even in Sarvajanik Ganpati Mandals that host large Ganesha idols is shown in various forms – sometimes dressed as a common man, sometimes as Spiderman, but never has he used divine influence to punish the artists that took those liberties. It seems like he is waiting to be used as a source of inspiration and help people express themselves


Solves a Problem – As Vighna Harta (one of his names which means Obstacle Remover), there is tremendous faith in the ability of his worship to clear hurdles. Thousands walk miles, sometimes bare feet or stand in long queues, without food or water, to show their devotion and in return, seek a solution to their problems

Owns an Occasion – As a remover of obstacles, he is remembered right at the beginning of any important task to seek blessings for success

Creates Anticipation – Although there are temples dedicated to him, along with a day of week (Tuesday) it is not an exclusive claim. He is part of the 10-day Festival Club, in which people leave their work, vices and pleasures to enjoy an environment of festive celebration. Ganesh Chaturthi is the when people bring his idol to their homes, offices, housing societies and play host to their favourite deity for 2-10 days. They prepare sweets, savouries and delicacies to please their guest. The end of the festival makes of one of the world’s largest religious congregations. Ganesha idols from across are brought to water bodies and immersed by emotional and teary-eyed devotees. They call out his name pleading to return soon the next year

Connects People – Those who host Ganesha, invite family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, their friends’ friends, their relatives’ relatives and everybody else for darshan (viewing). They serve prasad (snacks with a divine touch) and allow socializing with otherwise strangers. The Lord opens doors to new opportunities and relationships

Mobilization – It was in India’s Freedom Struggle that Lokmanya Tilak discovered the power of a ‘social celebration’. The movement encouraged people to co-host Ganesha as a society in public places instead of small families in houses. This allowed mass mobilization of people to communicate with each other and test collective strength. Till date, this form of celebration continues and is used for mass communication

Below The Line Experiential High Embedded in Culture – Ganesha’s roots are in age-old Indian mythology, but the 10-day cultural and social extravaganza is a modern-day phenomenon. Processions have people dancing not just on traditional folk songs but even on disco beats with hi-quality sound speakers. It is open to adaptation and liberally flexible to allow new tastes to blend in. This flexibility allows making the festival more inclusive as young people, migrants and others find celebrate in ways they are familiar with. For instance, one of the popular processions plays electronic music and is called Trance Visarjan.

Is a friend more than preacher - Unlike other Gods and deities who are on a pedestal so high that it is respected more than loved, Ganesha is a friend. A children's movie symbolizing this status is quite popular

I am sure there are more connections to be drawn and marketing lessons to be learnt from Ganesha. 
I don’t know how many brands live up to these subtle, derived and indirect teachings of Lord Ganesha. I think Google follows most of these. 

Any other…? Feel free to add to the list.

Pudchya post-var lavkar ya…

No comments:

Post a Comment