We are all familiar with the famous African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The truth is, it takes a village to build a brand as well. Because, brand building is almost like bringing up a child. There is pain and exhaustion, bewilderment and sacrifices, but the rewards are manifold.
Brand building is a long term process. It takes patience, tenacity, a long term vision and perseverance to build a meaningful brand.
When you think of the most iconic brands in the world that have stood the test of time – from Chanel to Coca Cola and Fevicol to Nike, what are the common attributes of these brands?
To my mind, they are as follows:
- They are timeless yet dynamic, adapting to changing times without changing who they are at their core
- They are authentic and relevant
- They have a purpose that has a universal appeal and resonates with large masses of people
And while the first and the second set of attributes are very much central to the DNA of Columbia Pacific Communities, it is the third one – our brand purpose that gives us a definite competitive edge and has helped us carve a niche for ourselves and sharpen and solidify our positioning in this category.
At Columbia Pacific Communities, our brand purpose is built on the simple philosophy of positive ageing. Positive ageing refers to the idea of looking at age as just a number and believing that you are as old as you feel. It entails considering age as an enabler rather than a detractor and striving to live a physically fitter and stronger, emotionally engaged, socially connected and intellectually stimulated life. It is also very much about shattering age-related stereotypes that exist in society.
A lot has been said about brands with purpose. According to Kantar Consulting’s Purpose 2020 report, brands with purpose grow 2x faster than those without it. But for us, positive ageing is so much more than a brand purpose. It is our ‘raison d’etre.’ It is what brings us to work every day and is at the centre of everything we do – from our construction design philosophy to our service design and resident engagement programmes, our customer interaction and engagement philosophy and of course, marketing and communication. It is all pervasive and forms the backbone of the brand.
We are committed to the mission of popularizing the concept of positive ageing and making conversations around age, ageing and senior living mainstream in India.
Therefore, positive ageing for us is not just limited to ensuring that our senior residents live a healthier, more engaged and happier lives. It is also about shining the spotlight on the baby boomer generation, giving them a voice and bringing them back to mainstream conversations that they seem to have completely disappeared from.
Towards this, we launched our first brand campaign in June 2019, titled RELEARN, which went on to win several awards including gold and silver trophies at Big Bang Awards. RELEARN aimed at shattering ageism and age related stereotypes and crafting a narrative around our philosophy of positive ageing. The campaign reached over 3 million people, had senior influencers such as Chairman of Manipal University and former director of Infosys T.V. Mohandas Pai, former cricketer Syed Kirmani and fashion guru Prasad Bidapa talk about the perks of growing older. We also associated with donation platform Give India to raise money for seniors in need making it a truly integrated and meaningful campaign.
Since then, we have done numerous social media led campaigns, including the award winning OK Boomer campaign launched in January this year, that called out ageism and highlighted the many pathbreaking contributions of the baby boomers that we reap the benefits of today.
Among our many initiatives to bring seniors to the fore, we held south India’s first senior citizens flash mob during Christmas last year. Nine senior citizens wearing Santa hats, took to the busy streets of Bangalore, dancing to Jingle Bells! The media and the passersby couldn’t get enough of them. We garnered a total earned media of Rs 68 lakhs, and reached over 250k unique users.
Every initiative of ours is designed thoughtfully to pivot around positive ageing. In the run up to World Senior Citizens Day on August 21, bang in the middle of the pandemic, we launched a digitally driven talent hunt for senior residents across our nine communities. Classical dance, music, painting, handicraft, photography and poetry were some of the categories in which seniors participated in. And the talent hunt, titled PLATFORM 2020, was inaugurated by Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, Kiran Bedi.
Of course it created a lot of buzz on social media, garnered a lot of earned media for us as a brand. But what made all the effort worthwhile are the wide smiles and the twinkle in the eyes of our residents. And that, truly, is the power of positive ageing. It is a special narrative being built with a lot of compassion, empathy, passion and joy. And it is poised to become one of the strongest narratives in the country quite soon.
Authored article by Piali Dasgupta, Senior Vice President- Marketing, Columbia Pacific Communities.