Sucheta Dalal :Your brand success mantra: Great quality coupled with honesty
Sucheta Dalal

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Your brand success mantra: Great quality coupled with honesty   

May 12, 2010

 If you wish to win the trust of your consumer, integrity and transparency are the order of the day


What is the secret to becoming a legendary brand? Simple—great quality and a lot of honesty. This could be grandma’s success recipe. Think Toyota, Coca Cola, Apple, Cadbury, and you know what I’m talking about. These brands have survived the test of time not just because they sell and service great stuff, but also because there is integrity to their brand image—squeaky clean is a phrase you have come to associate with them. Remember the days when Cadbury’s name was sullied with worms? Not only did they rectify the transgression but also employed Amitabh Bachchan, then associated with solidity and integrity (this was the phase when he had paid off all his debts and his brand equity was at its highest) as its brand ambassador. Remember the television commercial where the Big B was exhorting people to get back to Cadbury and not worry about anything? Eventually people did it and I doubt if anyone even remembers the worms that clung on to the sweetness of Cadbury. That’s the effect of integrity. If you’re honest and you produce a great product, who cares about the ups and downs that you may have had during the course of your journey? As long as you’re honest, everything else is irrelevant.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) was emerging as a formidable brand till the Lalit Modi-BCCI row rocked the boat. Kickbacks, betting, financial irregularities found their way in, just as the IPL was being touted as the biggest cricketing event in the history of the game, especially post Kerry Packer.

We know what Lalit Modi has done to the game—he has created a heady cocktail of cricket, cinema, cheerleaders, controversy, bickering, auctions, grand associations and partnerships… the works. Today IPL stands on its own feet. It is not a cricketing event anymore; in fact, it is not just a sport anymore. IPL is IPL, all by itself. There are players who play test cricket, one-day internationals (ODIs), 20-20s and then there are those who play IPL. Subhash Chandra started the ICL (Indian Cricket League) before Modi and BCCI stepped in but today whoever remembers the ICL? So what was the secret of Lalit Modi’s success? Who could have imagined that 100 plus years from its inception, cricket would shimmer anew in a shorter-sexier version (pun intended)?

But today all that is under the shadow of a very dark cloud. It all started with Shashi Tharoor and Lalit Modi going all out on a tweet-war. Their umbrage and counter-umbrage on Twitter (irony, irony— Twitter itself is among the biggest Internet brand these days but let’s leave that story for another day). And then the ruckus started. Fingers being pointed at each other, income-tax (I-T) raids, ministerial probes and finally the infamous suspension of Lalit Modi after the final of IPL III between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians. The details are irrelevant –did Preity Zinta, Shilpa Shetty and Jay Mehta actually have shares in the IPL before they became co-owners of their team, what is the position of Chelaram’s in the Rajasthan Royals, did Sony bag the telecast rights legally, will Lalit Modi get back at his detractors, is there more than meets the eye?
Irrespective of who the actual culprit is, the IPL has lost its sheen in the eye of the public because now it is being seen as the High Priest of corruption. Whether Lalit Modi will be back as the commissioner or shall the will of the BBCI prevail, IPL is no longer as shining a proposition as it used to be. The powers that be have violated the trust of the public.

IPL is a great example for brands not to emulate. If you wish to win the trust of your consumer, integrity and transparency are the order of the day. This brings to mind a meeting my sales team had with a leading financial services company, a few years ago. We were in the final stages of negotiating a deal with this company, when we received a counter-offer from them. “Delete all our negative reviews,” and for this they had offered us, hold your breath, tons of money. Thanks but no thanks.

 —  Faisal Farooqui

(Faisal Farooqui is the Founder-CEO of, a leading product review and social media website)


-- Sucheta Dalal