Branding, is it an Inception?

by in Brand consultant, Branding, Brands 

What’s the most resilient parasite? A bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm?

An idea. Resilient, highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold in the brain, it’s almost impossible to eradicate. A person can cover it up, ignore it but it stays there. Information is forgotten. But an idea fully formed and understood; that sticks in there, somewhere.

This opening statement of the movie ‘Inception’ reminds me of the first lessons my advertising guru taught me. We are always trying to play with these so called ‘ideas’ in branding or communication. ‘Inception’ is all about that game. Good brands are created out of these inceptions of ideas in the minds of their customers.

We always say that emotional connect makes the customers act and rationalisation helps them to justify their actions. So emotions work better in most of the communications, when we try to connect to the customer and create a positive inclination towards the brand. This is the exact strategy what they have used in inception and it is evident in the statement of Cobbs.

The subconscious gets motivated through emotion, not reason, so we have to translate the idea into an emotional concept and plant it. We could split the idea into emotional triggers, and use one on each level”.

They did the inception successfully by piggy backing the emotions of Fisher: "My father accepts that I want to create for myself, not follow in his footsteps." These positive emotions act powerfully in favour of the dream architects. Not just that, the dream architect always insisted on placing the idea deep in the subconscious levels of the mind for better inception. We always try to achieve these in our communication strategies.

The reason for the failure of the inception by Eames was like most of the communication strategy failures we see around us. The insight/idea were not planted deep enough and the inception addressed superficial issues. To be effective, a communication or inception should always be based on the simplest and the basic insight of the consumer. Eames was not in favour of direct inception of the idea to break up the monopoly of Fisher’s empire because of his previous experience. He says, “There you’ve got various political motivations, anti-monopolistic sentiment and so forth. But all that stuff’s at the mercy of the subject’s prejudice you have to go to the basics, the relationship with his father”. Fisher’s inception was done below three layers of dreams for a better reception. These are the most difficult task we face during the preparation of communication strategies.

The subtlety of the changes what we are trying to make in the subject’s psychological layer is also very important. Possibility of resistance by the projections or perceptions is very high as the changes become aggressive. Ariadne was attacked by the projections of Cobbs in the dream training because of this reason. This principle is very much applicable in real world communication scenarios, where we have to handle the projections and perceptions of the TG.

Inception speaks about the responsibility of communication and branding professionals towards society also. Haven’t we come across similar statements like the following about branding and marketing?

 “This isn't the usual corporate espionage, Mr. Saito. This is inception. The seed of the idea we plant will grow in this man's mind. It'll change him. It might even come to define him”

We can see an extreme case of dream addicts also in the pharmacy of Yusuf.. The old man says “They dream to be woken up… the dream has become their reality…and who are we to say otherwise?” This is a classical state where brands give the reason to the existence/identity to the consumers. Consumers are in the dreams experience the lives of celebrities and kings when they use brands, ultimately that becomes the hope for their existence.

In short we can see inception of communication and branding principles everywhere in Inception. It’s a good guide for strategy inspirations, if you can dream and analyse within dreams and inceptions.

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Ajeesh Njarakkadan
P(x) is an advertising agency in Bangalore, Brand and marketing consultants in Bangalore, Cochin, Ernakulam, Kerala. We believe in creating out of the box branding and ad solutions for our clients.
Ajeesh Njarakkadan

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