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Shombit Sengupta
Founder - Shining Emotional Surpul

A mega brand pulley strategy has the advantage of being able to drive a category and to own a market territory. Creating a mega brand pulley needs strong organisational coherency, an attitude of discipline backed by high quality processes. Such a pulley has to be built with a strong latent concept which surprises the consumer, goes beyond its traditional character and has a strong rational and functional support.
A mega brand pulley must have long-term vision, at least ten years, with the brand anticipating the latent perspective of the market. Its tactic must be to achieve short-term and mid-term goals. The mega brand pulley can be established only if it has a measurable content of rational, functional and emotional substance. This substance has to be created in every deliverable, whether it’s a product or a service. Each deliverable can be split into its Rational, Functional and Emotional content that go beyond its basic characteristics.
0. Hygiene factor: The basic rational and functional elements characterise the price sensitive commodity market.
1. First mover advantage (short-term): When a deliverable has rational and functional content upgraded from being hygiene factors, a small layer of emotional content can be created.
2. Strategic advantage (mid term): When the deliverable has the justification of upgraded rational and functional content, adding a significant plus point can increase its emotional content layer which is emotional plus.
3. Strategic leap advantage (long term): In a deliverable justified with significant rational and functional content, adding a comprehensive plus point can create an unlimited and sustainable layer of emotional content which then becomes emotional surplus, a value beyond expectation.
What is Rational, Functional and Emotional Content?
Rational, Rational Plus and Rational Surplus: Rationality is the non-visible part of any product, such as it being defect-free, which gives the brand its good reputation. In a car, for example, engine performance is not visible; in a food product, the quality of the ingredient is not visible; which is why it is rational. The customer would realise a brand’s rational, rational plus or rational surplus content only on experiencing it after consequent usage.
Functional, Functional Plus and Functional Surplus: The value-added visible part of the product is its functional usage advantage that the customer can evaluate prior to purchase. It’s a specific benefit that needs to have a tangible and visible character. In the car example, external functions like easy driving, quick pick-up and comfortable seating can be tested during purchase and are visible. A food product can be tasted to discover its functional, functional plus or functional surplus.
Emotional, Emotional Plus, and Emotional Surplus: Emotional Surplus can be built on a deliverable with a surplus value only with the addition of its rational and functional content. Without having rational surplus and functional surplus it is not possible to reach the platform of Emotional Surplus.
After adding rational and functional surplus content in a product, bring in latent aesthetics that can leap to form the emotional surplus value so as to connect the proposition to the end user. This creates long term sustainability of the brand with the customer. For example, a car’s creative latent styling and out-of-the-box concept can increase its emotional surplus content when rational and functional surplus has been added; in a food product its packaging design, the product’s visual character and its out-of-the-box concept can create emotional surplus content when the rational and functional surplus has been added.
A business strategy can be uplifted when these 3 steps of value engineering have been mastered.
A Few Examples of Mega Brand Pulley
A mega brand pulley can be created under 3 different contexts:


When a brand has traversed many decades of existence and proved its substance, its awareness becomes like a public domain property. Such a brand is very often subjected to a huge attack from low priced competition.
Alternatively, a competitor¹s innovation can totally shift the market. For example Tinopal, the clothes whitening powder, has been made redundant by detergents like Surf, Ariel, Tide, Nirma, Rin which have whitening ingredients included in their products. What can be done in this context?
Kill the brand? Get going with fresh new brands? Or reposition the brand?
In this situation, repositioning the brand with a “rupture strategy” is the ideal way to go because the brand name already has awareness in the consumer mind. It may have lost its contemporary feature with both commodity and innovation products flooding the market. But its awareness is still there in its particular segment of laundry products. As Tinopal is semantically not a meaningful name, it could have taken a strong high ground concept of cleaning as the pulley, backed it with products with rational and functional surplus benefits, and then catered to different segments of the laundry market.
Saffola was initially a heart “problem-solution” brand. The brand concept of “The Heart of a Healthy Family” was made its pulley so that its benefit radiates holistically to the whole family rather than solving a heart disease problem. “The Heart of a Healthy Family” is an elevated brand positioning because every human being will always need this benefit for all time to come. It can never get lost in the long term. Supporting this with rational and functional value, the brand has been extended with a range of products. So Saffola has now become a very good mega brand in its category.
In fact the concept is so strong that it can be stretched to other categories. The brand has overcome its association with oil for heart disease.
Brooke Bond’s pioneering tea expertise since 1869 makes it an invaluable, legendary brand of India. The dormant strength of this treasure has now been powerfully brought alive to make Brooke Bond a mega brand that will cheer the senses of all consumers yet again.
The repositioning of Brooke Bond gives shape to a strategic and creative leap that translates the brand’s dormant value into a mega brand that goes beyond the consumer’s expectation. A strong concept, “Brooke Bond Cheers your Senses,” has been used as the mega brand pulley that will carry the load of the three Brooke Bond brands in the market - Taj Mahal, Red Label and Taaza. The semantic concept of cheering your senses has been transposed to a visual icon that comprises the deeper meaning of the alchemy of tea, combining its positive value with the unique value of Brooke Bond.
Vitalinea is a brand from Danone, the European food corporation. Initially it was a local French brand called Taillefine which has existed since the sixties. A new trend of “light” food product for slim bodies started in the seventies. It was a problem-solution market that targeted women and sacrificed taste. But the eighties saw psychological rejection of diet products as consumers demanded products with taste. Yet diet food had a market so Taillefine was repositioned as a weight management brand in 1989 with the value of 0% fat and highly tasty products. The 0% positioning was so powerfully relevant that the brand could detach itself from only yoghurt and ladder to other dairy products, as well as integrate Danone’s two other verticals of water and biscuit with the same concept. The mental benefit of 0% which translated to consumers as “no sacrifice of taste” has been used by Danone in the Vitalinea name for the international market. The 0% weight management pulley was so strong and latent that today it has proved Vitalinea to be Danone’s highly profitable and successful megabrand with a strong differentiating character.

Sony is a strong mega corporate brand with a dream delivery concept since the eighties that says to customers: “You dreamt it, Sony made it.” The concept was powerful enough to carry the heavy load of all Sony products in a single communication. This load is the pulley, which reduces the manufacturer’s cost for communication and sharpens brand focus in the customer mind. Sony has created a powerful brand pulley worldwide with rational surplus, functional surplus, and emotional surplus, which gave the brand its strategic advantage in different entertainment verticals. The corporate brand stable of Sony has products in many categories and sub brands, all of which leap to a high ground level in the customer’s mind because of its corporate mega brand pulley endorsement. But stretching a corporate brand beyond a limit may lead to loss of brand substance. So Sony bought Aiwa to cater to different markets with different pricing.
Cartier is another example of a corporate brand pulley. Such an old Brand with a high connoisseur image still leads contemporary trends while having watches from $700 to $150,000 or more. Cartier’s intriguing aspiration value and mega brand pulley backs all sub brands like Tank, Pasha, Must and others.
From the basic functional benefit of a biscuit company to a positioning of Eat Healthy, Think Better, Britannia has, since 1997, created the aspiration territory of healthy eating leads to a better mind. This positioning was so relevant that it stretched to a totally new business in the dairy market where Britannia could, very quickly, take a good share of the dairy category. From the organisation, to the trade, shareholders and consumers, the mega brand pulley has created a ripple of the value of well-being in life. Wipro’s Applying Thought provided a high ground positioning from the domestic vanaspati oil market to the global IT market. This Applying Thought pulley connects to the latent perspective of the market with high innovation and was created in a way that different verticals can endorse this positioning to grow their businesses.
If a name has a basic generic connotation that can overshadow the concept of a corporate brand strategy, as was the case of Vam Organic Chemicals, the name may need to be changed. But this does not mean the company’s equity will be lost. The old name of Vam was not fitting its new mega brand strategy of changing to speciality chemicals and acquiring the latent perspective of the market. The change to Jubilant Organosys was in itself associated with loftiness, and its pulley support of Science Active invigorated the total organisation.

There’s always an opportunity for creating a new brand to dynamise the market with exceptional product quality or a new consumption pattern. From inception, beginning with the name and positioning, a new brand strategy should soar on a high ground platform from where the brand can be stretched to different categories to become a mega brand in future.
Nirvana, a high quality speciality ice cream brand, was created for Delta Dairy in Greece to compete with the international Hagen Daaz entering Greece. To differentiate and compete, Nirvana’s positioning of “Melt in the Mouth Pleasure” took the brand to a new dimension of increased market share since 1994. The pulley is so strong that the product leapfrogged from ice cream to the ecstasy of ice cream in the consumers’ mind.
There was a big potential in glucose biscuits, but the market was getting commoditised. Britannia’s Tiger as a concept took the biscuit market to a new platform where the banality of glucose was transformed to an aspiration level which relates totally to the end benefit of strength in glucose biscuits. Britannia’s mega brand pulley stretched to health force through Tiger.
Vam Organics had a me-too adhesive brand called Vamicol. By changing its name to Jivanjor, supported with high quality products associated with long lasting value, the new brand is translating the extreme bonding benefit of its products in adhesive or wood finish for home or industrial purpose.
When all adhesive brands have col in their names, Jivanjor does not take this functional route, but concentrates on its usage benefit to create a mega brand pulley.
A mega brand pulley can save high communication expenses, and at the same time grow the consumer portfolio through rationalising brands. It avoids consumer clutter by not having too many brands in the market. A mega brand pulley can help a brand become international, be a category driver and territory owner, and creating its sustainable awareness in the market is definitely easier.

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