26 Nov 2008

An Apple for an Idea

People at various levels of society have a marked perception shift in their approach to doing everyday things. It seems that at a subconscious level, the way everything we do is a symbolic extension of what we are or where we stand in society's scheme of things. And the way brands are built today - its just capitalizing on this view of things.

Sometimes when I get bored with daily monotony - a visit to the neighborhood supermarket serves to improve the state of things. Not that I set the cash counters ringing with purchases. Nah ! for me - its more of observing people's shopping habits or checking out the newest brands & ideas.

Yesterday I paid my usual honorary visit and was exiting when I observed these two souls sitting on the bench outside the supermarket. The contrast was perfect - one seemed to be the affluent IT worker in some top 10 Indian IT organization - clean-shaved & attired in blue-collar formals. The other one - seemed to be some distant cousin of the neighborhood pan-wallah - long twirling moustache & a scraggy beard. The common thing was that both had come out of the same supermarket but unlike me - they had made some purchase. The former held a neat polythene bag in hand, filled with fruits. To kill time he had an apple in hand & it was evident that he was gonna eat it. The latter had two apples held in one hand - one of which it seemed he would also devour.

What next happened, triggered this entire chain of thought in my at-that-very-moment vacant mind. The blue-collar was trying to do something with the apple - remove that annoying fluorescent sticker - that seemed to be attached to the apple with "fevicol-ka-jod". He kept trying with his neatly trimmed finger-nails but that sticker wouldn't budge. Scraggy Beard on the other hand seemed to be chatting with his cousin on the mobile about how "biziness" was now very slow & so on. He just rotated the apple in his hand, with the sticker facing up, opened his mouth & just bit away about 5% of that apple - with the sticker on it & spat it out on the pavement. Task done - he proceeded to savor the apple. Blue Collar observed this - but probably it was his social standing - he could not do it the simple way. He still kept fidgeting with the sticker.

Isn't this perception shift exactly what advertisers exploit? The social strata difference, the level at which their products can be placed. So using their product subconsciously implies that you are counted in that strata of society.

So if I needed to exploit the situation here and build a business, I'd very soon patent my own "Apple-Sticker-Remover(ASR)". As you guessed right - it would be priced high. I might also add in a royalty mechanism by which mobile companies etc wishing to use ASR technology in their new age mobile devices would have to send me a cheque with lots of trailing zeroes on it.

Well - an apple definitely seems to have potential. If it has inspired Newton to discover the laws of gravity, here it inspires me to think about the ways of business in the modern world.


  1. You said it very well. Ideas can find ways to one's mind at any place in this world.

  2. Very good observation Giju. Nice analysis and comparing it with the Newton is nicely tied with the thought process. Key mantra is " pragmatism", apply it and most of the time it serves the purpose.