What is brand ‘Delhi’?

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Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, Pitch Magazine

Dil walon ki Dilli’ recently completed its 100 years. If not the entire nation, Delhiites at least, are going gaga over it. They have all the reasons to celebrate too.
Being an ardent follower of media and advertising, I am just wondering ‘is it yet another branding for a brand that is already big’?.

But as I dive deeper, and try to unravel some of the mysteries of this charming brand, it comes as a new experience for me to look at the city (which I am also a part of) from a new perspective. What make a city? Is it its people or its culture or its infrastructure?

If Mumbai means business, Bengaluru is the dream city… so what does Delhi boast about? So, what is it that this city stands for? What are its characteristics and how is brand Delhi perceived overall? I am utterly confused or should I say, I am bombarded by my own thoughts. The richness of the brand is something that seems very difficult to describe for me at least.

To me, it’s a city of happenings, a political centre stage, hub of media houses, and a great market place. The fast-running metro trains reflect the heart beat of the city. But, what does it mean for others?
The brand can be one of the best examples for marketers to learn how a brand can mean different things to different people.

For Indians, it’s the heart of the country and epicentre of power. It is a symbol of the largest democracy for the rest of world. It is a city of hope for common Indians. But for Delhiites, it is their first ‘Love’, or as our Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit says, “Dilli meri jaan!’. So, I think, it is an umbrella brand, which is a sum total of a number of different brands.

The Commonwealth Games  held last year, and the more recently held Formula One events have just added a little more zing to the city’s lively and diverse characteristics.

If I compare brand Delhi with Bollywood icon, the image of SRK comes to my mind. It is sober, cool, yet very vibrant and full of energy. If I compare it with Hollywood stars, the images of Madonna and Lady Gaga come to my mind.

Its diversity of culture and yet the cohesiveness among its denizens, is a superb example of how a brand becomes a mega brand. It is a metropolitan city, yet living here is affordable to people belonging to different SECs. Despite creating a premium imagery at international forums, the brand has been able to appeal to Indian masses.

Like a good brand, the capital city is very sensitive to the concerns of citizens belonging to different parts of this country. It vibrates on national sentiment and the city takes the national issues as its own. Anna-mania is a live example of this.

As the city celebrates its 100 years, I wonder whether the city has evolved enough to keep pace with the changing times? Does brand Delhi truly reflect the image of India at global platforms?
What should be its attributes in days to come? What brand should it become?

But one thing I can claim with confidence and pride is that the city reflects the spirit of today’s vibrant generation and is the sum total of a ‘Shining India’.

About the author / 

Rahul Sharma

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