Some fundamentals first....all products have a certain lifecycle and the same can vary ie increase if re-positioned, re-packaged, else the same would die a natural death. Eg. Pantene, Lux, Pepsi and even Colgate are the brands which had to go through this phase for survival amidst stiff competition from new players in the segment. Even a giant like State Bank of India has to pass through this phase given the stiff competition from young banks like ICICI, HDFC, AXIS etc. You keep seeing Bank of Baroda, Union Bank etc changing their branding, positioning, logos etc. Al Ries and Jack Trout - the management gurus have shared some great cases on Positioning from the international perspective.
Some products do not require the same and are always a hit – eg. Maggi, Thumsup etc. The same yellow package and snacky branding for the former and the same simple black cola drink with a thumsup logo emphasizing on strongness or ‘’dum’’ positioning for the latter which still keeps the same alive and any tweak in the perception or positioning of the same could be fatal.
Now, taking this fundamental to our Bollywood – Not all actors are like Shahrukh Khan or Aamir Khan who could play a college kid as successfully at an age of 40 as successfully at an age of 20. Anil Kapoor still can play a young guy as compared to the old stooping Jackie Shroff. But all are not lucky enough like the Maggi or Thumsup to have a strong intrinsic brand value within. Many actors are smart or foresightful enough to understand their product life cycles and shif their positioning – like Akshay Kumar moving from action towards Comedy, where his peer Sunil Shetty still got tagged as an action hero and died his natural death. Diversification is not an answer, but complete shift in the positioning is. Look at Amitabh Bachchan. He too failed miserably trying to woo actresses post Agneepath in movies like Indrajeet, etc. He died almost a natural death till he repositioned himself as a different product like a senior police inspector in Khakhi or a senior role player in Black etc. And he changed his segmentation from the Big Screen to Television (KBC). Re-positioning and segmentation saved the Big B.
The Biggest example is Rajnikanth. He knew well in advance in his career (post Hum) that he does not want to die a natural death like his counterparts like Mithun, Govinda (He still lived longer, due to his niche), Jackie Shroff or Rishi Kapoor. He made his style a strength and his silly stunts of popping a cigarette, or his sunglasses or similar unhumanly possible stunts became his strengths and the brand relived post repositioning with super hits in the South and even International markets with movies like “Sivaji-the Boss” and now, the forthcoming “Robot’’.
Well, following the same principles of management, here comes Salman Khan with DABANGG ! (*) Sallu knows well that he is almost on the wrong side of the age so he cant do the college kids role.
Sallu knows that he is a little naughty one or not so serious one to get considered as a “cause-for-actor image” like Aamir, Ajay etc.
(*) He has his SWOT analysis in mind, knows his strength and what roles he can do well with.
He has experimented and tasted failures in his recent tries like Yuvraj, Veer, Hello, God Tussi Great Ho and many recent ones.
(*) He knows his competitors like Ranbir Kapoor, Imran Khan in the young genres and the inevitables like SRK, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn (btw, these also have shelf lives).
(*) And more important, he knows his segment – The rural India…sounds different ? But, that’s the fact. Not just youngistan and young girls crazy after his body and attitude are his audience. This will be proved with Dabangg with a release around the eid and the rural segment targeted.
Well, quickly on the movie DABANGG – well since theres not much to write – Dabangg is a good movie for Salman Fans and gives you a treat of a Rajnikant flick. First, the meaning of Dabangg - Dabangg means someone who’s power is dominated on everything. Most of the time, this term is used in UP, Bihar. Eg. “Raja Bhaiyya ek Dabang neta hain”. This way people in the area show respect for the person. Its like “Todu aadmi, Pahuncha hua khiladi or Stud-Champ” etc. Those who are Dabangg are never afraid of anything/anybody. They do whatever they want to do.
The movie would do good given (1) the Segment (Rural markets; Tere Naam was a Super hit), (2) the timing (Eid, Ganeshotsav, Weekend) and (3) even in the Metros the game of first 3 days especially Holidays will help gain the scores for the movie with the first show at 10 in the morning houseful ! The attitude would be “3 days holiday – atleast lets go and watch the Salman flick !” Don’t go by any great ratings as Taran Adarsh and Masands of the worlds are all fixed. From a movie perspective (story, screenplay, direction etc) its 2/5 and from just entertainment perspective 3.5/5 !
Nothing to take away from the movie - a time pass Masala movie - equal to Singh is King, Hey Baby and much better than Khatta Meetha, Tashan…..Am sure this will be a better performer at the Box office than the recent flops of Salman like Yuvraj, Wanted, Veer, Hello, God Tussi Great Ho …. It’s a good decision Salman, to go on Ranji track and repositioning your brand and segment rather than choosing a dead end like Sunny Deols and Sunil Shettys of the world…and thanks for making me revisit the strategic fundamentals of Positioning, Segmentation and Re-positioning !