The Illusion & Reality in Marketing

Travelling in a bus in India? A piece of advice, never sit at the back, because if you do there's a good chance your body's skeletal structure will be rearranged. For the worse. You can blame such radical rearrangement on Indian roads. At least up front in a bus, the impact ain't as much.

This morning my bus ride had me sitting at the back. And so currently I am putting my bones back in order. But tell you what, such rides are important for one reason. It puts me in touch with the reality that Indian infrastructure is.

For people, reality doses are rare, or at least they try and make it rare. Especially the rich and upper middle class. Liberalisation has ensured that such products and services are available that cocoon consumers from the harsh reality that living in India is. For the illusion that bathtubs in a few loos are, the reality is a vast majority that stands in queues for a bucket of water. Such extremes are common in a country like ours. It is therefore important for those at the illusion end of the extreme at times to know what its like at the other end.

In the world of Marketing and Business too, illusion and reality is all pervasive. The Ivory Corporate Towers are the illusions, the dusty supply chains and retail ends are realities. For marketers to do, and want to do well, especially those at the top, there has to be a realisation that the heat and dust of marketing chains is where reality is. That is where channel partners and consumers are. Trying to pilot fortunes of brands out of ivory towers is foolhardy. To get a brand right, one's got to be where the real action is. One's got to be where the market and the consumer is.

For me the ride at back of a bus, though perilous, is at times a must. Because its such an act that gets me close to what's real. For illusions you see, are momentary, what's real is what remains.


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