I cant do Kims dress code. Annas maybe

Image branding is not just for people – it is for companies too.  In the early 2000s the big companies all had a live TV show about their financial results on CNBC as soon as they were public. These companies were in Delhi or Mumbai where the channel had recording studios. I worked for Infosys, based in Bangalore, where CNBC did not have the facilities for a live broadcast. Nor could we pre-record because that would involve unpublished sensitive information.

A less determined brand mastermind would have given up, but not Mr Narayana Murthy the iconic co-founder. He built a mock studio and got me and a colleague, Deepak Padaki, to dress up like news anchors and record the show which was then flown to Delhi the next morning so as to be available as soon as the results were published. Nifty, eh? And they paid for my outfit for this show.

Marketing Takeaway:

If you think something is super important for image branding your business, find a way to get it done!

Of dress codes and wigs

This week CreditAccess Grameen announced its Q4 results – a Y-oY jump of 86%. In conjunction with the Board Meeting they invited us directors to come dressed in black suits with white shirts. Simple, you’d think!

I then realized that I haven’t owned a black suit since my fake anchor days. I settled for a sort of dark grey and white suit with striking asymmetric stripes. Most of the other directors also struggled to get themselves into a black suit.

Do you have to be a non-conformist to be an independent director?! Maybe.
Research finds that under certain circumstances, people wearing unconventional attire are perceived as having higher status and greater competence.
Let me dig out my red sneakers (google the Red Sneaker Effect) for my Board meeting next week with PolicyBazaar parent PB Fintech 🙂

I wouldn’t last a week in Kim Kardashian’s brand office – there’s a mandated dress code of neutrals to control their image branding! Clothes are a big part of our brand identity and changing that isn’t easy. The transformation has to be real, and internal.

Recommended read: Brand Strategies of Bappi Lahiri, Rahul David and Indira Gandhi

Marketing Takeaway:

If you’re looking for a spiffy brand makeover, remember that you’ll have to spruce up your internal processes and personality to match this new look. Or do the brand transformation AFTER your internal processes and operations have outgrown your outdated brand image.

What’s in a name?

The inhouse teen fashionista is a big fan of Lululemon sportswear. Having recently opted for Business Studies as an elective in school, she asked what was the meaning of the logo and name, being sure – as only a teen can be – that there was an elaborate backstory. There wasn’t. Here’s the case study I wrote on Lululemon after that research.

Marketing Takeaway

The overall brand identity matters more than the individual components.

Also read: Challenger Brands Can Market Without Money

What about your digital image branding?

However spiffy your IRL identity is, today, people will judge you by your digital identity. When was the last time you googled your name? Have you checked what ChatGPT says about you? As an aside, there is a fear that AI generated content will fare poorly in SEO. Quite likely. But SEO itself will decline in the face of ChatGPT and AI. AI will do most of the initial phases of hiring – even for senior roles.

Many of us are wary of the internet, worried about the loss of privacy. Well. I used a search today to figure out how much of personal data is out there. Sit down, grab a glass of water, and try it abc.net.au My love of food has contributed to my downfall – Freshmenu and Zomato are amongst those who exposed mine as per the tool.

Marketing Takeaway

Relook at your personal brand from the new AI lens. Interesting factoid – Anna Wintour (of Devil Wears Prada fame) has been the editor of Vogue magazine for 30+ years and hasn’t changed her hairstyle ever. On the other hand she has embraced Tiktok influencers even inviting them to the Met gala last year.

Speed of Change
AI is insinuating itself into all kinds of jobs. Really fast. Keep an eye out for your space and see how you can integrate the use of AI into your persona.


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