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The Branding Scam

Welcome to the world of ‘Branding Scam.’

Before we understand the actual scam, let us take a while to understand what Branding is.

Simply put, it is a name or an image that is projected for the consumer to create a differentiated presence, imagery or perception to attract and retain consumers.

Nike does it with the swoosh and the line ‘Just do it,’ McDonald’s through their striking yellow M on a red background, Jaguar with its raring to go Jaguar and the list is endless. Along with imagery, the brand is also about perception. It could be about the country of origin, the founder, quality, pricing or some feature. iPhones are known for their brilliant camera, Tesla for their future-oriented streak, Jio for their unmatched offers.

Now, let us come to the Scam part.

What imagery does the name Morris Garage evoke?

Certainly British and a motor company.

You are right.

To further accentuate the imagery, the brand uses the legendary British character Sherlock Holmes played by Benedict Cumberbatch.

All so Brit—stylish, iconic and with a rich legacy. No wonder, pre-booking got the brand 28,000 bookings. They had to close the booking, as the production capacity was not ready to handle this kind of demand.

How many of the 28,000 eager to own the legendary Brith brand MG would still have booked if they were aware of the brand being a Chinese one?

Shocked?

Yes, MG is owned by SAIC Motor, a Shanghai-based Chinese state-owned automotive company. Would you have bought a Chinese car, that too without market report and feedback? Surely not! Chinese products are perceived to be of low quality, not to be trusted and cheap. Surely, a perception not suited for a car brand. So cleverly, they used the genesis of the company to project a Brit lineage, concealing the Chinese part.

By the way, now both Land Rover and Jaguar are Indian brands.

No wonder the sales are on a decline.

A host of brands use their lineage, source, plant location even their names to project a visual that is far removed from the actual product or its quality.

If used smartly, it can surely do a lot of good but if you slip, well, God is with you.

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