Thursday, August 27, 2009

Is Love THE NEW CEO, In Recession-Driven Times?

Okay guys, chew on this. It is arguably, the single most powerful emotion on planet earth that has inspired dreamers, poets and lovers to scale new heights of creative self-expressions. Even in 2009, it continues to melt hearts, transform and enrich lives lending it more meaning and resonance. It comprises four simple alphabets that has the power to make your blood pound, pulse race, heart thud n’ gallop, head spin and reduce you to a light headed freako! Yet, this magical emotion is allocated officially just one day in a calendar year – 14th February, to celebrate its importance!!

While hard-boiled cynics are cool with this line of thinking, “love is an indulgence and luxury in these competitive and recession-driven times;” the truth clearly lies elsewhere. Never are you likely to see more people (consciously or subliminally) longing to invest in more emotions, spirits, inspirations and feelings in the way they conduct their business and life than today. Unfortunately, they have one major problem – they are totally clueless how to go about it. How to dovetail magic with logic? How to convert traditional transactions into relationship-building? How to translate heart to hard-sell?

It’s not that difficult, really, say for sensitive and smart marketers. But for this, let’s get back to basics first. Chuck those corny, bulky reports, statistics and research studies into the trash can and give love a chance! Learn to leverage this divine quotient as strategic devices for an enduring emotional connect with customers, business partners, colleagues, team-members, and watch your bottomline fly upwards.

If you don’t believe it, then consider this, you paranoid, skeptical, nervous, pin-striped frat! It is a proven fact that love allows even a smart and sharp communicator to escape from the dreaded ‘commodity trap’ and evolve into something different by the simple act of placing brands where they should belong – emotional centre-stage. This is a sacred space reserved for such charismatic brands (a la Pepsi, Coke, Apple, Reebok, Nike, Hutch, HDFC, Airtel, Archies, Lux, Surf, Asian Paints, et al), which inspire fierce passion, loyalty and are off-limit and non-negotiable to the dangler of carrots. Another thing is that a sharp, new-age communicator knows that the paradigm shift has begun in the right earnest with love (read emotion) as a critical decision-making component, chucking reasons to the back-burner. The first leads to action. The next leads to conclusion and no prizes for guessing, which side is winning!
Fortunately, the sensible and sensitive practitioners are placing mystery and mystique back to where it belonged. Vibrant examples of this are Starbucks, Barista and Café Coffee Day. They have slung out the impersonal, corporatised passion-trimmed-into-efficiency model and replaced it with a strong, personal and emotional connect. The agenda is no longer about consumer contact, but hanging out; no longer about taking notes, but taking the pulse! The recent Airtel series (Love mein koi cutback nahi hona chahiye) along with Tata Sky and a few others reflect this aspect dramatically.

In this never-ending battle between head and heart, it has been noted that the so-called wise men have researched whatever there is to research and what they couldn’t, they safely ignored. The truth is that everything of value cannot be measured, leading the brilliant Ashish Nandy to say, “We are in grave danger of valuing most highly things we can measure. As a result, we are in danger of being totally wrong instead of approximately right!” This is a task researchers need to address sooner than later. Shouldn’t the shift be more towards counting the beats of your heart, rather than fingers on your hand? Faith, Trust, Belief, Loyalty, Commitment, Bonding… Love, as never before is unquestionably the towering CEO that presides over them all. And the sooner the dumb corporate world recognises it, the better!