Its not an FMCG, its not even anything we consume or purchase. Its not a product or service, but something that would easily qualify to be a “company” or a “corporate.”Most of us don’t even think of it as a brand – but considering the spending on advertising, brand-building, public relations, events and media over the last two years – we would all agree that the most expensive “brand” in the country today is none other than “Mahinda” – yes, the President Mahinda Rajapakse. No one has adored more full-page-colour advertisements in newspapers than “Mahinda” in the recent past.
On outdoor circuits, “Mahinda” easily beats the greatest locations and biggest spenders.
On public relations spending, “Mahinda” easily beats the biggest brands.
His typical budget for a single event could easily exceed most of our annual budgets.
He’s got the largest battalion of “brand-ambassadors” promoting his image from Hambantota to the Parliament: the latest addition to the well-rehabilitated and gel-groomed Sinhala terrorist is the former Tamil terrorist from the Wanni jungles.
His brand adorns t-shirts, caps, walls, and all around us – he even almost made it to an airline that carries the “Mahinda Lotus” in its wings.
Beyond the box, keeping in line with the traditional street-performer – he’s got a court jester too in Mervin Silva...
There is not a single communication channel this brand has not explored or ignored.
The brand team knows the power of Word-of-Mouth; and he’s got the biggest number of mouth-pieces harping his good. Talk of brand “influence” and we all know how that works in the island. Leave aside the physical influence, even in terms of design, his influence has crept into corporates including Sri Lankan Airlines templates too, where we begin to see the “Mahinda Wave and the Lotus” at the bottom of the page..! The whole country – including the fashion-savvy (or so I thought) Colombo crowd – seems to imitate his shawl around the neck... No other Sri Lankan brand has been successful in international image building as “Mahinda.” His international profile makes him look like the savior of our times. On World Economic Forum, “Mahinda” has been advocating peaceful resolution of the Middle East situation as the President of Sri Lankan Committee for Solidarity with Palestine over the past 25 years, WOW! All facts, well presented – a true testimony for successful image building. The result? “Mahinda” gets invited for global forums and speeches and his brand team is doing a fantastic job. I’m sure the team must be eyeing the Nobel Peace Prize – if only “Mahinda” manages to “liberate” the suffering Tamil community from the grip of terror... Kudos to brand building! Even though I do not agree with MR’s “Brand Values,” I sure cannot ignore the “Brand-Value” “Mahinda” has gained in such a short period of time.