Every good marketing strategy has a strong narrative behind it. The challenge for marketing professionals is to create and guide this narrative as it develops. This task may seem daunting especially when it comes to guiding and developing a narrative which has already been released to a target audience. Having a good starting point will help make the development tasks easier to manage.
This is where Bollywood comes in, start with a tried and tested formula and put in some twists to make it your own. A Bollywood movie is a recycled product through and through but every new movie can make it big depending on how well it follows the formula.
Disclaimer: I am very fond of Bollywood movies and life would be seriously lacking without them, so keep them coming.
Here is the marketing process parallel making a Bollywood movie:
Start with some ‘visible’ big names: It never hurts to have a big name actor or actress in the movie. Your visible big name can be a celebrity endorsement, super bowl for the launch event, big social cause like cancer cure, providing clean water etc. you get the idea.
Pick a story close to the heart: This is how you frame the content, don’t take this to mean you have to be serious or sad in your message. Just make sure the message is emotional and connects with the audience. The ‘actor’ (aforementioned person, event, cause etc.) should experience/live the story.
Best example I can give you for this is car commercials shot in the most beautiful places on the planet and just one car driving on peaceful roads. This might feel fake/over-used now but it’s still a go to strategy for major manufacturers. In this strategy the scene is your big name actor, car is your product, and Freedom your story.
Add a twist or two for personalization: This is where a marketer has to be most careful, as you will be adding to something tried and tested and this will decide success or stagnation of your campaign. On the flip side don’t ignore this step or you will fail to differentiate your product from all others.
Be careful to background check your twist to guarantee it does not hurt audience sentiments, something you find funny could be offensive to your neighbor. Make the twist as original as possible. A good way of doing this is to venture into the unknown, use things that are not part of the daily human experience and this will help you craft an original twist, depending on what you are trying to sell this may not always be possible.
Lastly, always be ready to adjust: In Bollywood movies this is mostly done by giving actors press kits and talking points, so the film can be positioned around whatever is negatively impacting box-office sales. Edits and re-shoots are also possible but quite expensive. For a marketing campaign adjustments can be making sure a big name is ready to come to your rescue, or that you have a social cause that can be help out to show your product is not about corporate greed. (Apple did this in 2012 by releasing a report showing how many US jobs have been created by its products and announcing they will bring more production to the US in the future.)
So go forth and direct your own Bollywood blockbuster, don’t forget me in the credits.
Until next time,