She is a heroine of a different generation and yet this month, so many celebrated her birthday as if she were still with us. She may have gone long ago; yet, she lives on, for her images just don’t seem to fade. In fact, every time an  unseen or unpublished image of hers is discovered, it makes it to the front page of almost all newspapers. The lady is Marilyn Monroe. Images are very powerful, they just live on and some even become iconic. The face of the Cuban revolutionary, Che Guevera, also being one such image. It’s not just a face. It symbolizes rebellion and freedom,  feelings that the youth just love. Put this face on any merchandise and it becomes a bestseller. The number of T-shirts  emblazoned with Che’s face that have been sold is incredible. It’s ironic that a revolutionary, who rebelled against the  capitalists, has today become the biggest bestseller of the capitalist world.   

That’s the power of these images. They  generate strong feelings. Another image that brings out strong reactions is the Swastika symbol of the Nazis. Recently,  Madonna used it during her tour in Israel. On a giant screen was shown an image of Marine Le Pen, who is the leader of  france’s National Front Party, with a Swastika on her forehead. The party was enraged and threatened to sue her.  Considering the fact that Madonna would be performing in France soon, this was a nice gimmick to get the nation talking  before she arrived! She is one of the few people who understand the power of images, of visual branding, and has used it  consistently over the years to keep her in the news and always ahead of competitors. Be it the cross of Jesus or the  Swastika of the Nazis, she knows how to use symbols to get people to notice her.

It’s also the oldest trick of brand  building.   It’s also the oldest trick of brand building. Brands have used symbols (logos) to distinguish themselves from  competitors and build a unique identity around them. Associating oneself with a unique symbol makes it easy for  consumers to remember you. So on Marilyn Monroe’s birthday, Lady Gaga tweeted a picture of hers dressed as Monroe,  and more than one lakh of her followers (all in the age group of 14-19 years) liked it. The interesting part is neither Gaga  or her fans belong to Monroe’s generation and the only reason they are her fans is because of the ‘images’ they see of  her. These stunning images are the reasons for having ensured that ‘brand Marilyn Monroe’ will never die. And images  re the reasons that will ensure that your brand lives on in the future.


The  most exciting websites in the recent months have been ones that have focused on pictures. One such website, which has created a lot of excitement, is Pinterest. If numbers are a measure of growth and potential, then according to Experian Hitwise, Pinterest is the third most popular social network in the US, just behind Facebook and Twitter. Not surprising then that it was recently valued at $1.5 billion with Rakuten Ichiba giving it a funding of $100 million. Rakuten is the largest e-commerce site in Japan and among the world’s largest by sales. Why should an e-commerce site be interested in a scrap-booking site? Because it affects sales directly. Let’s see how.    

Things have changed dramatically for  interest. In February, no brand was interested in it and then in two months, the number of brand pages increased by 24%. Pinterest links have appeared in retailers’ e-mails faster than links to Facebook, Twitter et al appeared, proving the point that retailers are benefitting from it. A study by Vancouver’s Emily Carr University has found that there is a surprisingly high correlation between ‘pinning’ an image of a product and purchasing it, with more than 1 in 5 Pinterest users buying an item they have ‘pinned’ on their Pinterest boards. Companies are finding it important to keep a watch  n who is ‘pinning’ what and where he is ‘pinning’ it. If a consumer pins a picture of your bike on his board titled ‘Bikes    m considering to buy’, it makes sense to check which other bikes is he considering and get an idea. An aggressive  marketer could even leave a comment on this consumer’s page giving him information about his brand. Similarly, there  could be many ways to mine information and use it.   

There is a shift in the way people are using the Internet. Earlier it  as largely ‘text’ driven, but today pictures and images are becoming dominant. People are using pictures to  communicate. Be it the image you upload on your Facebook profile or your BBM profile or even on your desktop, it’s become a way to communicate your feelings. No wonder that ‘smileys’ and ‘emoticons’ are used most frequently when  e text friends and family, proving the point that communication in the future will be more image heavy rather than text. Marketers need to understand this change and plan their strategies accordingly in order to reach out to the maximum  umber of consumers and make strategies that outwit their competitors. In future, marketers who can communicate with  mages will be the most wanted, for in future, it’s an attractive image that will drive people to your website more than an interesting statement. This is the reason why it has been found that Pinterest is driving more traffic to the websites of  rands as compared to Facebook or Twitter. From TV networks to magazines, interior designers to fashion designers to  ar and bike manufacturers to even writers and bloggers; everyone is out there with their best images to attract consumers. A blogger who was writing an article on which advertising campaign he thought would win at the Cannes  his year decided to use Pinterest and pin pictures and videos of the campaigns; for he found that he could attract more  people to his post this way over just an article.     Read More....

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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