We are all familiar with the challenges and opportunities when two business brands merge, as demonstrated over time. A similar scenario exists in the case of personal brands, especially in the context of marriage. Welcome, then, to the world of ‘Jodi Branding’ – a strategic approach for two great brands to form a larger third entity, way above individual influences.
From a consumer perspective, there are certain valuable differences between the merger of transaction brands and human brands, which must be carefully understood. The former usually means that the previous identities cease to exist, replaced by a greater whole or, equally usually, by the imposition of the dominant identity. The latter suggests certainly that the original entities still perform at their own merit, as unique professionals, while the joint expression is responsible for a larger set of duties, both at a material and a higher-order level of impact. Currently, most celebrity associations are marked purely by enhanced PR mileage or advertising endorsements but not much else, which is what this strategy entails.
The first leg of any ‘Jodi Branding’ approach is to formulate an Integrated Brand Proposition, an expression of character and intent that defines this joint entity, inspired by the established roots but aspiring for a larger goal. For Deepika and Ranveer that goal may well be ‘Entertainment that spreads happiness’ drawing from their prolific abilities and equally, having a view on the mental health cause. If they seek otherwise, the proposition can well become ‘For the love of craft’, two fine actors choosing their combined worth to be an expression of creativity and imagination. While the joint proposition is drawn from the individual strengths, the cumulative intent must be way above such elements, an aim to exercise influence that befits the coming together of two such overwhelming entities.
The second leg of this approach is for the brand to identify the sustainable areas of impact, stakeholder engagements that will amplify the worth of this entity. It can start with the contribution to development of professional worth, especially when both parties emerge from the same profession. So, this combo can easily incubate an online talent school, where acting skills are tested and honed, in the comfortable confines of your home or college hostel. Thus, breaking a crucial barrier in the quest to stardom, the restricted access to the decision-makers in this industry, tainted further by the #MeToo allegations on such screening processes. Another idea can also be the formation of an on-the-tap entertainment app for those with mental health issues. Essentially, a go-to-companion that eliminates the need of another willing human in the process of mood upliftment, the choice of content customised as per requirement of the customer.
The third leg will be pure-play business opportunities that the combination can go for, for the sheer purpose of enhancing net worth, for self and the brand. Just recently, Shikhar Dhawan and his wife Aesha launched ‘DaOne’, a range of furnishings, inspired by his exposure and her aesthetics. Similarly, the Deepika and Ranveer ‘Jodi’ can open a fashion venture which can be inspirations that blend North and South India, amongst many other creative opportunities. They can also position themselves as Joint Brand Ambassadors for categories where their integrated proposition will make sense. An obvious yet lucrative opportunity is the establishment of merchandising range, which can be developed in collaboration with Amazon. ‘Dee-Ra’ exercise gear, sporty tees, suave accessories and much more, including holiday packages inspired by their honeymoon.
The fourth leg of such a strategy would be measurability, the ability to constantly track the value of this combined entity and not just as individuals. It must have a societal dimension as well as a monetary measure, the expectations from such an entity surpassing simple box-office potential. By constant customer tracking its shape will evolve and if the couple decides to have a baby, the cumulative entity will acquire a fresh dimension.
Just as Deepika-Ranveer, the ‘Jodi Branding’ strategy will work for every accomplished couple interested in carving a legacy beyond just individual professional acumen. They can be from any vocation or career, not just showbiz, when each is a genuine super-achiever in the chosen craft. A genuinely win-win prospect, when the intended impact is truly wholesome, and the integrated branding proposition is driven by compelling insight and purpose.
(Shivaji Dasgupta is the Founder of INEXGRO Brand Advisory and can be reached at: email@example.com)
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