Planet Bollywood
The Big, Bad Brand of Bollywood (Overview & Analysis)
- Naseem Javed           Let us know what you think about this feature article

There is really nothing wrong with the brand "Bollywood", except that the Indian film industry has become far more powerful and far-reaching than anything else like this in any other country of the world, and even larger than Hollywood. In hindsight, decades ago, who in the right frame of mind would have picked up a blatant sidekick named "Bollywood" as a cheap copy of "Hollywood", a theme that has already been further diluted and abused by hundreds of other adventurous film industry brands all over Asia, from "Ollywood" to "Jollywood", creating confusion and ripping away the original centrality of the true brand?

There is only one Silicon Valley, one Eiffel Tower, one Disneyland, one Wall Street one Times Square and only one Piccadilly Circus; the other sound and or look-alikes are just desperate copycats. What India needs today is an all out war on all fronts to tackle these copycat problems, and accept higher grounds with global leadership mandates to create brand new original world-class, global potential iconic identities.

Today, Walt Disney is only dancing in heaven, after seeing how Disneyland has created hundreds of similar copycats from few mega sites to hundreds of single flywheels with two guys in gorilla outfits, jumping around in similar named theme parks. What's wrong with people, and why do they prefer to go on their hands and knees, sneaking, picking, cutting and pasting from some one else's well established original brand idea while patting themselves for their smartness and accepting this form of suicidal-branding, a kind of a self inflicting identity wound which never heals and never allows to become a super icon.

Surveys have proven that copying legendary icons only kills brilliant original ideas into obvious copies looking deadbeats and eventually ending up in oblivion. The black and white proof of this global phenomenon is already sitting on Google.

Without a doubt, there is no country with a film industry, with the size and dynamics of current Bollywood, which on a global scale, not only attracts a larger audience and more attention than any other force in the marketplace, but also carries the most global influence. This six billion dollar industry will double again in size in a few years, and is just trapped in a dumb brand identity with no direct connection to Mumbai, as the name Bombay is just passé.

The real Hollywood on the other hand came about in 1887, when the founder Harvey Wilcox, Daeida's husband, drew up a grid map for a town which he filed the county recorder's office on February 1, 1887, the first official appearance of the name 'Hollywood'. He named it after the "Mass of the Holy Wood of the Cross". During the last half-century, all over India and including Asia, the number one practice of branding has been based on picking up names from Western Yellow Pages, "just let the fingers do the branding tricks". Hence, hundreds and thousands of Western Names are blatantly copied, which in turn, have kept beautiful and original local ideas buried as sidekicks to Western identities.

In the course of human development, countries do come up with amazing and original ideas, like the invention of Silicon Valley, which not only incubated a global revolution of e-commerce and also, the demise of hundreds of copycats from silicon woods to jungles, rivers, roads and oceans. Watergate germinated "thisGate" and "thatGate". Historically, it can be proven that any copycatting on any scale fails big time, and accidental naming invites accidental cost, creating injured name brands which cripple long-term marketing, eventually fading away. Open any old magazine and the proof is right there.

The global complexity of billions of name images floating on e-commerce has turned this issue into a science, and the art of fondling a dictionary is now lost forever. It requires tactical understanding of corporate and business naming rules, trademark laws, global domain management systems and international marketing issues. It demands an in depth understanding of languages, translations, connotations, perception and human interactions with words as well as memorability, type-ability, protectability and dozens of other related issues. Create an open dialogue, conduct in-depth audit, test the five star standard, available on the net, demand practitioners with all these skills in your boardroom otherwise your image and mega identity program will simply be doomed.

The old mass-advertising model is dying, very fast and a new style of marketing and online access marketing offers extremely unique opportunities to become a successful brand with the smallest budget, in the shortest period of time with maximum impact. But once again, these sophisticated processes cannot be confused with general-logo-based-branding as global icon building and name branding is a very special art.

The Indian film industry has a bright future and will continue forward, but as the media blurs and the meltdown continues, the term Bollywood will diffuse into a low-tech brand perception of colorful-dance-routines-based-cinematography that has become the lead identifier, but hopefully the new leaders of the industry will re-establish brand new global iconic identities based on world-class standards. A great future for the Indian film industry lies ahead.

Naseem Javed, is on a crusade to create local brands out of GCC. He is a new and powerful voice in this region on global image positioning and mega corporate name identities, while raising serious questions on the root causes of why GCC does not have any respectable, globally recognized local brands. Naseem has personally created global name identities which, when combined, receive a turnover of $40 billion per annum. He founded ABC Namebank International in Toronto and New York over a quarter century ago. He is currently lecturing in Middle East.


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