Organizations, leaders can learn big from perfectionist imperfect behavior

One of the most awaited movies of the year bombed big time at box office. Do you know many shows of Lal Singh Chaddha has to be cancelled because of no audience in the theatres? Box office failure is not greatly associated with Amir Khan movies but this time analysts quoting Lal Singh Chaddha to be the biggest loss-making Bollywood movie of the year. This is interesting because post Lagaan movie, Amir Khan has created a niche for him in the Bollywood. He may be doing fewer movies but those were critically and commercially successful.

This brings me to my next point- For many large, big brands corporates, there are lessons in the failure of Lal Singh Chaddha. Here is the thing- we will discuss the key take ways of everything that conspired in last two and half months of this movie release.  I am personally not interested in success or failure of Lal Singh Chaddha but one brand failure can be the greatest learning for others in the market.

Do you know what went wrong with one of the most awaited movies of the year? Despite strong star cast, perceived big brand value of Amir Khan and heavenly marketing spends, why it bombed at box office?

Before, I tell you that failure was a long due considering the way, Amir Khan was treating his fans in last few years. Let me tell you that, the brand of Amir Khan and Kareena Kapoor have enjoyed audience love for years.

The hammering of Lal Singh Chaddha has highlighted important questions and learnings for organizations especially the bigger one who enjoys great time with customers.

Let’s quickly touch upon the learnings

  • Personal brand influence product success or failure- For any organization, personal branding of its leaders is key to success. Tata’s enjoy great amount of goodwill among its customers because of the strong personal brands of its promoters and leaders. The most important key of building a strong personal brand is that it cannot be faked. Amir Khan press conferences are complete mismatch with his actions of his personal life. He talks on woman empowerment but has divorced twice and if rumours are to be believed, he is all set to marry third time. He talks about patriotism but openly seen supporting countries who are not in good terms with India. It sends confusing signals to the audiences who have become more aware than they are in the past. It’s imperative for the leaders to maintain a positive personal brand both online and offline to ensure success of the product. Organizations should make mandatory and take strong actions against the leaders who deviate from the core principles of the organization.
  • Product adaption is an art- There is no shortcut to success. If you think that you can copy a successful product and earn revenue, then you may be wrong. Adaption of any product is an art and must be carefully studied before copying. While Tom Hanks starrer Forest Gump movie was based on policies adopted by the US government, there is no history of similar policies in India. It questioned a non-existential policy, and many believed that it showed Indian armed forces in poor light. If you try to run a false propaganda in the name of creativity, it will surely backfire. Amir Khan paid the price running false agenda. The successful company geo-adapt products but modifies it to meet the requirement of the local country. McDonald’s almost reinvented their products for Indian markets. It is one of the reasons that helped McDonald’s to succeed in Indian Markets.
  • There is no favorable timing for launching a product- This can be debated but the fact is great products find it ways to success while poor product fails despite favorable situations. Lal Singh Chaddha released at the beginning of festival season and a long weekend of Independence Day. Despite that it failed miserably. Historically, Bollywood movies witnessed great success during this period however this movie bombed at box office. So, whenever you think of launching a product, don’t only bank on favorable timing as other things have bigger say in the success.
  • Consistent communication – In modern day digital age, interpersonal communication is key as consumers have multiple sources to get information. They are influenced by many factors that can be beyond purview of your product communication strategy. Brand leader’s comments on political and religious topics are scrutinized by the consumers. If one does not agree to the consumers viewpoint, then it’s advisable to keep away from these controversies. In real life, Babita Phogat is an ardent follower of Lord Hanuman. Worshipping of Lord Hanuman is an integral part of his life. she says that her every act and success is due to the blessings of Bajrangbali. She never wrestles without seeking blessings of Bajrangbali. But in the name of creativity, Amir Khan removed this aspect of her life in the movie and smartly downplayed it everywhere. In PK movie, Hindu gods were ridiculed. While Amir Khan do maintain on records that he equally respects all religions, but his actions doesn’t argue well. As I said earlier, confusing communications will only take consumers away from you. Leaders must strategize for long term view and effective communications plan with the consumers.
  • Customer do have alternatives– Monopolistic bigger brands do live on a false premise that consumers don’t have alternatives. You may be the market leader but remember, consumers always keep looking for alternatives and when they find right options, they will ditch bigger brand because of poor attitude.  For long, Bollywood movies are the leaders of the Indian film industry. Similarly, few stars like Amir Khan took success for granted so much that they begin to believe that whatever movie they make, audience will queue up in the theatre. However, in last few years, regional cinemas have flourished, and Bollywood is facing heat from regional cinemas. Organizations must understand that they will not be market leaders forever if they treat consumers poorly. To be market leader, they constantly need to include consumers in product planning.
  • Don’t take your consumer for granted- There is an old saying that never let success get to your head, but star cast of Lal Singh Chaddha seemed to think otherwise. A few months ago, Kareena Kapoor ridiculed audiences by saying that it’s audiences who are responsible for nepotism. She went on saying- Do not go to watch movie. Her arrogance didn’t go well with the audiences. History is testimony that its consumers who make you superstar and its consumers who causes your fall from the top. The high handedness of Amir Khan and Kareen Kapoor of audiences is one of the biggest reasons that Lal Singh Chaddha failed miserably at the box office.  Leaders must avoid being arrogant at any point of time as no consumers don’t appreciate this kind of behavior. You may have a great product or a big brand, but a bad behavior will always drive consumers away from you. Its paramount to stay humble.

One man’s failure is other man’s learning. Lal Singh Chaddha movie was rejected because of arrogance of Amir Khan and Kareena Kapoor. The biggest lesson for the leaders from the failure of Lal Singh Chaddha is to stay humble. Leader’s behavior is a deciding factor for the success of the product and the company.

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