Dalda, Xerox, … IIT, MIT, Stanford… and Twitter…

The amazing success stories behind brands and their products are very interesting. Vanaspati Ghee became Dalda, Photocopying became synonymous with Xerox, and these two brands are such pervasive that most of the consumers don’t even know the product’s actual name. So, what is more important for a manufacturer/ entrepreneur? Is it Product or Brand? Building a brand demands innovation of a different kind. Whenever you think about “Brands”, you can’t afford to miss out IIT (Indian Institutes of Technology). Though the product here is quite different and each one can cash in the brand reputation of IIT to build another brand which in fact makes IIT (Indian Institutes of Technology) the most powerful Indian brand ever created or is it the IPL (Indian Premier League)? India’s fetish with 3-lettered powerful brands also includes IIM (Indian Institutes of Management).

The equivalent of IIT in the USA is MIT or in more politically and historically correct form it’s the other way round. IIT, IIM, MIT, Harvard, Stanford and other top universities across the world attract the crème de la crème of the student populace and are known for their immensely successful alumni. Not long ago, people studying at these places eyed for their dream job and career path which leads to a stable (at least economically) career in the long run. However, in these last two decades there has been a paradigm shift in the psyche of the average MIT/Harvard/Stanford/IIT/IIM/… grad. Entrepreneurship has become socially accepted and a respected career path. These universities have started nurturing the entrepreneurial instincts of their students and venturing out in entrepreneurship has never been so serious activity.

"Let pedigree trickle out, don't spill it out"

Few days back, strategist and management consultant, Semil Shah (@semilshah) tweeted:

This is not the case only with MIT or Stanford, it is obviously a common practice adopted by young entrepreneurs who are naïve about their brand management and try to leverage their elusive and elite degree for touting their business plans and catapulting the popularity of their product portfolio. You can’t blame them too as they are not brand managers but entrepreneurs who don’t have much experience about the capitalistic economy and its dynamics. The degree though helps in building the brand image but can’t be made the only parameter to test the value and need for your innovation.

Shrey Goyal(@shreygoyal) says rather tweets:

Semil Shah further elaborates, “It’s much more effective to quickly introduce biz concept, impact. Let pedigree trickle out, don't spill it out” (http://twitter.com/semilshah/status/12996574589). At this point of time, the coherence in his thoughts seemed to be in sync with me. Great businesses have always solved problems or given us an alternative to do certain tasks.

Another subtle thing which you might have noticed is how I have used twitter. I got the opportunity to interact with an expert like Semil Shah, just because of twitter. This is not the only use of twitter I have come across. Recently, one of my friends got his summer internship by following his current internship employer on twitter, replying to tweets, and having “@” conversations. This prompted the hirer to have a look at my friend’s LinkedIn profile and discuss his internship application and he got the confirmation call.
(BTW, I've changed my twitter handle take a note of this: my earlier was @ashishiitkgp4 which is changed to this (@ashishgourav) do follow me!)

In a nutshell, entrepreneurship should be nurtured from a very early stage of maturity, work on your business plan focusing on the product, its applications, revenue earning model, proper branding and use twitter effectively. Social networking sites have been blamed for privacy intrusions but we need to embrace this medium of communication as this is the need of the hour.

I’d like to leave you with an invigorating video of Cameron Herold, Successful business leader. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCar_sFfEf4)

(Image Source: http://www.leadingedgealliance.com/issues_old/2002/fall/branding/i/branding.jpg)