Why CEOs can't have Tapioca & Fish curry
Its now been three times. I am talking about literature on Devita Saraf, CEO, Vu Technologies. The first time was Devita's article on why we should welcome the recession and my response was to disagree. The next time was an article on Innovation in the WSJ (Note, Hemant's struck a discordant note). I thought it was really an interesting read. The third was a feature in the Corporate Dossier, courtesy Economic Times.
Its this feature, titled 'Wanderlust' that got me thinking. Thinking about why brands must, in the public space, state only what suits their identity. Of course, in no way am I suggesting Devita's answers to be ones that are aimed at building a certain identity, but the fact is, they do.
For example, when asked about Gourmet delights, the answer's Sushi. A great traveller moment is Bali, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. Nature's trail is Rainforests in Bali. Let me state again, I ain't doubting the answers, I am just pointing out that they are befitting a CEO.
The contrast I guess is me. Gourmet delight for me would be Tapioca and Fish curry. Traveller moment would be, when in college I rode my bike long distances. One across the Bandipur forest, travelling from Bangalore to Cochin. Nature's trail would be hiking in this place called Vythiri in North Kerala and getting leeches as company.
Now how boring are those answers? Befitting a proffie? I don't know. But surely not CEO material.
Why I admire brands is because they are never free to do what they want and that isn't easy to handle. Because they are always in the public eye. And so they have to watch what they do and say. A wrong move and there's negative publicity. It takes practice to perfect what becomes visible material in the public space. Brands that have grown over the years are ones that have managed this public space well. How I console myself the lack of a brand halo is, at least it lets me eat my tapioca and fish curry in peace.
And that I guess is worth it.