Monday, 23 September 2013

5 branding lessons from bodybuilders

Gym: A hotbed of branding ideas. (c)
Being a gym freak and a brand enthusiast, I always compare the learning at the gymnasium with the steps of building a brand. Here are some nuggets of knowledge I learnt from gymming.

Try doing opposites
Super sets – doing a mix of exercises without rest especially involving opposite muscles – build muscle faster. Practised by Arnold Schwarzenegger, it helped him win Mr Universe title for five years and Mr Olympia for seven years. In bodybuilding doing opposites at a regular interval enhances your muscles' growth.

However, doing opposites is a totally crazy thought in branding where brand managers strive to create a consistent brand image. Ever thought of Coca-Cola producing a whiskey? Well, sometimes it can work wonders. A tooth paste brand can sell a tooth brush, a shaving cream brand can promote an after-shave and a tea brand can market its own brand of cookies.      

Heard about the Post-it invention? Actually Dr Spencer Silver wanted to develop a super-strong adhesive for 3M. However, he accidentally created a "low-tack", reusable, pressure sensitive adhesive that brought a revolution. It was used to create the ubiquitous sticky notes. And the rest is history.

Tweak your regular regimes
In bodybuilding you need to deviate from your regular workout schedule, at least once a month. If you tweak your regular regimes, the muscles get teased and you grow muscles at a faster pace.

Similarly, innovation doesn't come from regular work. Had Nokia kept on producing galoshes, it would not have delved into cellular phone making business. Again it kept producing the regular cellular phones and had to be left behind in the race of producing smartphones. Eventually, it had to be sold out to Microsoft.

So, the message is – keep on tweaking the original. Never stop thinking outside the box.

Diversify your portfolio
For developing a particular muscle you need to do different sets of exercises impacting different muscle parts. It helps the muscles grow uniformly. Can you grow biceps just doing barbell curls? Never. You need to do preacher curls, concentration curls, dumbbell curls and hammer curls along with the barbell curls for beautiful biceps.  

Likewise, you need to build a portfolio of diverse products to build a stronger brand. Earlier it was thought that indulging in diversification would make you lose focus. But the times they are changing. Take example of Samsung – it not only produces home appliances, TVs, cameras, laptops and tablets, but is a leader in smartphone business.

Diversifying your portfolio decreases the risk of sinking down. It has become a truth in the tumultuous market.   

Warm up is necessary
You might have heard from your trainer, "Don't start lifting weights without proper warm up."  You must do the warm up exercises before the main regime to prevent sprains and strains.

So is the case in branding. Before launching a brand, the most important thing is building a story around the brand. These days, gossiping in Facebook and Twitter is good to create a buzz prior to the launch. Like teaser ads in earlier days, the word of mouth creates excitement among the consumers and your brand gets a warm reception.

Concentration is of the utmost importance
Concentration curls are very effective and peak your biceps, especially the outside part. It's called "concentration" because you need to concentrate on your biceps contraction while doing this exercise. Not only in case of biceps, you need to concentrate on the movements of each muscle while gymming.  

Like in gymming, to create a brand, you need to concentrate equally on each spheres of human experience. Be it the public sphere, where you move from one place or activity to another in the physical and virtual worlds or the social sphere, where you interact with and relate to one another. Be it the tribal sphere, where you affiliate with groups in order to express your identity, or the psychological sphere, where you connect language with specific thoughts and feelings.

So, now don't you feel bodybuilding and branding have lots in common? If you can relate more examples, you are welcome to add to the list. 

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