What can Shahrukh Khan do for West Bengal? Other than being the face of the state, he may play his part in building a ‘Brand Bengal’. He is expected to lure investors and industrialists to the state that has come out of more than 2 decades of communist rule. Didi seems to be trying to do too much in too little time. Bengal’s image is not an easy thing to repair. It has been tarnished over a long period of time, partly due to the same people who are in power now and trying to do a patchwork. With Shahrukh Khan as the ambassador for West Bengal the stakes are pretty high. Comparisons with Amitabh Bachchan and Gujarat are only fair, although Bengal neither has the infrastructure nor the progressive outlook as that of Gujarat. If people say that it is going to be an arduous task to help improve the image of the state, true, but then it only becomes more challenging and we wish that King Khan emerges as a hero.
Here are some things that SRK must do:
- SRK should get involved in the entire branding exercise and leverage his experience of working with KKR. His buzz generation skills (Remember Ra.One?) can also come in handy.
- Go beyond just being a poster boy and try to take a role of a brand evangelist
- Use his persona to woo the dissidents. Maybe he can show his versatility and wit to create a character that portrays a progressive Bengal but not end up caricaturising the Bengali culture
- Knowing of the King’s flamboyant nature, he must be careful in handling the media in the state
- Use his social media profile to talk about his role – giving it a youthful appearance.
When Narendra Modi Tweets about the rise of Gujarat as an auto manufacturer’s hub, we are reminded of how political heads have become spokespersons for their state. A chief minister, speaking about the economic and industrial growth of the state brings a lot of credibility to the claims made, but is it only a one off thing or a consorted effort of the state’s Public Relations machinery to attract investments? Gujarat has definitely created a brand of itself when it comes to that. Last year’s campaigns by the Gujarat Tourism Board, bringing in a bigwig like Amitabh Bachchan, as the brand ambassador, is proof of the seriousness in efforts. Also the ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ summits present a pointed case study on how a state can be successfully turned into a leading investment destination.-
One Public Relations Learning West Bengal can take from here – with bringing SRK aboard, Mamata’s role does not end. She needs to build her own image as a mature and wilful leader.
Hong Kong, Canada and Incredible India
Although most of the efforts to build a brand out of an international destination are largely concentrated around better campaigns targeted globally, but with the shifting economical landscape many foreign destinations have started targeting a little more specific crowd. Recently Hong Kong tourism got Indian author Chetan Bhagat and Canada brought in Akshay Kumar as their ambassadors. Very clearly, Indian tourists are spending more and hence it is a good time to lure them by roping in an Indian star. Now we should also start thinking whether the Incredible India campaign should also get country specific international stars as ambassadors or ‘all iz well’ with Amir Khan. –
One Public Relations Learning for SRK – He is a non cultural ambassador for WB, hence the entire ‘Bangla’ population will be waiting to see how a non-bong sells Bong-land to the world. He better pull up his socks; they still remember he fired ‘Dada’!
Written by Koustubh Bhattacharya for Image Management