Friday, March 02, 2007

Seeing things differently

India is a rising star in the world economy. Industry pundits have enough to say about India’s growing stature as a superpower. Amidst all this hoopla, one question is bugging me for quiet sometime now. Do we (the people) really envision the future? Like most common people I’m trying to imagine possibilities. Therefore am thinking loud.

As an advertising professional, I often come across mission/vision statements of several companies in India. Surprisingly almost everyone has the same statement, proudly displayed in their reception/ conference area. Almost all the mission/vision statements have similar words; words like innovation, best quality, create value for customers and stakeholders, care for environment and society, become market leader, grow through diversity etc. etc. If you were given these statements and the company logos separately and asked to match them, am sure you wouldn’t figure out for the life of yours which belonged to whom. These statements are uninspiring, boring and meaningless because it is not a guiding philosophy either for the employees or for the consumers.

A vision must guide and bind a company in everything it does. A vision should always influence and inspire a company, internally and externally. A vision should always connect with its customer. Great brands have always had a great vision. And it is this vision that has inspired them to become the truly inspiring brand that they are today.

Here are few examples of truly inspiring visions:
Apple – Tool for creative minds
3M – Continuous innovation
Nike – Your aspiration and you
Pedigree – For the love of dogs
IBM – Solutions for a small planet

Often these simple yet powerful statements have transformed the company in all its aspect. Unfortunately in India you’ll hardly come across a company which has a unique vision. One reason which I feel is the failure of the management to see things differently. You first envision then you get to doing. Most Indian companies are too busy with doing things differently rather than seeing things differently before they begin. And if at all they see, they see a leaf as a leaf. But to a biologist it is cell structure, to a photographer it is an object, to a sweeper it is dirt, to a child it is toy, to an artist it is a canvas, to a gardener it is his labor of love, to a lover it is a tickling device, to a country it is national symbol and so on. Notice the difference? This is how you really create an inspiring vision.

No doubt Indian companies are going global. We still don’t have a global Indian brand. (For Christ sake don’t say Infosys and Wipro) In advertising we often run in search of that one big idea which will transform everything. But do we inspire our own people through our vision? Do we see things differently and translate that into our everyday thinking and working style. Until we find a truly inspiring vision for ourselves we might not find that one big idea which will transform the lives of others.

2020 vision for New India is to become a Superpower. What does superpower mean to you? Do you see India differently? Do you see a Made in India tag written on every product around the world?

Am I seeing things too differently these days? ;-)

No comments: