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Can Movies Be Termed As BRANDS?


I might fall into a niche category of people who are just not interested in GOT. Now, if you don’t know what GOT stands for you are one of us. GOT is "Game of Thrones".

As a marketer, it is of vital importance to know what is the current THING in the market. We may not like something (in my case it is GOT) but what if our customers associate themselves with it and want to be known by it? This is where most marketing professionals take a hit, they don’t listen to their customers (including myself at times).

The current season of Game of Thrones sparked a curiosity in me which resulted in a question “Can movies / web series be termed as BRANDS?” The question looks very simple but you don’t get a clear answer to it. In this post of mine, I have tried to answer this question based on the comments I received on one of my post on LinkedIn and my observations over the period of time.

To start with, let’s go back to basics and learn what is the definition of a BRAND?

The American Marketing Association defines a brand as “A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.(This definition is good enough to pass your examination, nothing more. Period)

I love to define a brand as ” the sum total of all the experiences one has with a product or service over a period of time”. Apple & Microsoft have a rich history associated with them, Harley Davidson has become a cult and much more. Now let’s try to fit this definition to movies. The Sum total of all the experiences a viewer has with a movie (like Godfather, Terminator, Sholay, Andaz Apna Apna) over a period of time.

With the above definition, I can term a movie or web series as a brand. But, does it also fit into key branding concepts? I will try to unfold important branding concepts like brand architecture, brand extension, brand equity, etc. with respect to movies.

Applying branding fundamentals on movies:

  1. The “Branded House” – To simply put, the company is the brand. All products and services within that company are subsets of the parent brand. A good example of a branded house is the TATA Group. They may have different companies/divisions/verticals (Tata Nano, Tata Swatch, Tata Salt, etc) but they are known for their parent brand’s ideology. When we talk about movies, we have different production houses like Walt Disney Pictures, Warner Bros Pictures, Yash Raj Films (YRF), Dharma Productions, etc. Every production house has made a position in the mind of the consumer. For example, A Walt Disney movie will specifically cater to children. Similarly, a Dharma Production film will keep romance as the central theme of the movie and will cater to similar audiences.

2. The “House of Brands” – In this type of architecture, the focus is on sub-brands rather than the parent brand. Proctor & Gamble is a perfect example. In the house of P&G, there are dozens of brands such as Olay, Vicks, Gillette and Head & Shoulders just to name a few. Each individual brand has marked its position in the mind of the consumer. In movies, a production house may be known to make different genre movies thereby catering to different audiences. Houses like Lions Gate, 20th Century Fox, Rohit Shetty Films, Vishesh Films, etc.

Brand Extension – “Brand extension is leveraging a well-known brand name in one category to launch a new product in a different category“. In case of movies, the sequels can be terms as brand extensions

I had initiated the same discussion in one of the groups in LinkedIn and below are few really good points that were shared by fellow marketers. Here is the link

Question: Can a movie be termed as a BRAND?

Answer: Hell Yeah….

A movie can be termed as brand if it covers these aspects if not all at least few:

The movie should have emotional connect with the audience.

"Ye haath mujhe dede thakoor…….”

A movie can be termed as a Brand when it becomes CULT classic.

“I’m gonna make him a offer he can’t refuse”

Becomes a cash cow (by selling copyrights) for production house over a period of time.

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

Strong Recall.

"Mark idhar hai, main Teja hoon”

Be relevant (in sync) with current times.

“Senorita, bade bade shahero main choti choti galtiya hoti rehti hai”

To sum it up, if a movie is able to connect with its audience, generate money for the houses in the long run and has a strong recall it can be termed as a brand.

Do share your thoughts on the same.

#Brands #Movies

#Branding #Marketing #Dubai

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