What is the truth?

At times I am flabbergasted at what I hear on TV talk shows in India. If its NDTV and the show's hosted by Barkha Dutt, in all probability Barack Obama would be mentioned. In glowing terms. I get to hear characterisations like 'transformational figure' and 'consensus builder'. Most Indian audiences seem to agree and join the paenic chorus. It irks me no end. But then I realise, just as I think Barack's a disgrace, the others think he's the saviour! And we are all steadfast in our beliefs.

Now, where does the truth lie? Or what is the truth?

The answer; for you, the truth is what you believe. Because in most contexts, there isn't anything called the truth. Of course, as usual there are exceptions. There exist unquestionable truths. But they are few and far in between. Most contexts fall into shades of grey. The 'black and white' scenarios are rare. Greys rule.

Marketing's where the characterisation of truth the way one believes it, applies. What's the truth about a brand? Its what the consumer believes. That's the gospel truth. Great marketers are ones who can either construct this truth for consumers or align it with what's by default already believed and can't be shaken. When Dove tells you that it 'creams' your skin, do you believe? Does the target segment believe? Of course, they did and they do. That's why Dove's one of the iconic brands around. Contrast that with a brand that tells you that it cares, and the only response to that is a smirk on your face.

Brands that win with consumers are brands that are believed. Consumers believe, not necessarily because its the truth that the marketer lays bare. Instead its a truth that's constructed keeping in mind the consumer. Its only a stroke of genius that can conjure up this truth for one who then turns a believer.

That's why despite what I feel about Barack and the disaster that he is, I marvel at his ability to have constructed a truth that a majority fell for, hook, line and sinker. After all, didn't he win the contest to the White house? Folks, that's what marketing genius is about.

But then again, is the 'real' truth dawning?


Rajiv S Perumal said…
Well sir, as far as I know you have followed the US elections to the end and your in sync with the US political scene as much as anyone else...
Now that this article has a bit about Obama, I thought it would be apt to ask your opinion about something that I felt about his current actions..
By threatening to end the tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas and trying to be the so-called 'saviour of America', he is sure called the 'popular guy' of sorts...
But don't you think this protectionistic move of his opens a window for possible Indian companies going global and entering the US market. By this, may be Indian companies would employ Americans(at a lower wage though) and generate jobs in the US... From the present actions of Obama, I guess he would'nt mind this.. But its sad that US, the fore-runner in bringing in globalisation is actually back-tracking and resorting to protectionism...
A plus for India in the long run! (that though is only if any Indian company has that kind of a vision and capability)!

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