Proximity, the crux of branding
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Kenyans street-danced wildly celebrating President Obama's victory with a red plastic chair over their heads. I reckon it signified that an African has once again won the high chair of world power. That's real mass propinquity. Obama's father was from Kenya, so a world face has entered American elections. For the underprivileged worldwide, African-American Barack Obama has written world history, not any other conqueror that's considered of superior race.
Obama's campaign was clearly a proximity game. He even dissected households by Indian, Hispanic, Catholic, Protestant et al. An incredible 71 per cent Hispanics, 60 per cent below 29 years and below $50,000 income, 55 per cent women, 62 per cent urban, 73 per cent Asian, understandably 93 per cent African-Americans voted for him. I found Mitt Romney's public presence quite opulent. His double-R election identity looked like corporate America, alienating the masses. The day before polling, television showed Romney disembarking his private jet, surrounded by white people. Democrats Obama and Biden mixed freely, looked relaxed without neckties, hugging whites and non-whites alike. Earlier poor Americans didn't resent rich people's achievement. But now Romney was seen as representing the rich, while Obama's charisma brought him close to common people. Proximity is beyond money; in this race Romney spent more than Obama, proving that money doesn't build proximity.
Political leaders come and go, but in business, all-time proximity beyond the company's closed doors is the core of success. When business goes awry, "Fix it with branding" is the fashionable battle-cry in Indian industry. But that never solves the real problem. The brand's first success factor is intrinsic quality differentiation from competitors (
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