By Vishnu Makhijani
New Delhi, Jan 3 (IANS) Learn about how to increase your company’s sales without burning a hole in your pocket — through co-branding to create synergy and leverage the strengths of the two entities; then explore a whacky manner in which to increase your happiness quotient; and finally, take in a traveller’s discovery of the Hindu holy city of Banaras.
The IANS Bookshelf promises to keep you immersed this weekend. Soak it in!
1. Book: Co-creating Brands – Brand Management from a Co-Creative Perspective; Authors: Nicholas Ind & Holger J. Schmidt; Publisher: Bloomsbury; Pages: 322; Price: Rs 699.
When Venkat Ramaswamy, the co-founder of financial services powerhouse Edelweiss and one of the pioneers of the concept of co-branding, writes the foreword of a book on the marketing strategy, you can be sure it will contain a mine of information.
“Networked interactions, propelled by the Internet and the forces of digitalisation, ubiquitous connectivity, globalisation, and social media have become the new locus in creating value and accelerating the de-centering of value creation toward the experiences of individuals,” Venkatraman writes.
So, how does one go about it on the ground?
“To us, co-creation represents the reality of what a brand is and how it develops. Brands are loaded with intent by managers, but brand meaning is found by consumers and other stakeholders as they share their thoughts, ideas and experiences with each other in online and offline networks,” the authors write.
This is fleshed out in 10 chapters, titled, among others, The era of Co-creation, Why individuals and organisations co-create, The co-creative brand management system and The practice of co-creation.
“This is a textbook. Sort of….when we set out to write this book, we wanted to do something different: to create a book that you can read end-to-end or dip in an out of. A book that encourages you to explore further the subject of collaborative creativity and brand management. Our goal has been to write something that is substantial yet accessible: connected to the past but forward looking; challenging and credible,” the authors say.
This book truly is a Bible for marketers as the 21st century enters its third decade.
2. Book: A Tricksters Guide to Happy Living; Author: Simran Bhui; Publisher: Rupa; Pages: 149; Price: Rs 295
Trickster – noun – a playful, curious and crafty creator.
“Happy living is not being happy all the time. It’s a journey to happiness that begins when you start living in the question. It begins when you say ‘yes’ – yes, to adventures; yes, to curiosity; yes, to inspiration; yes, to vulnerability; yes, to life; and always, yes to yourself,” the author writes, adding these questions have helped her “find the fun amidst the chaos”.
To this end, for the next 10 weeks, “every day will be a chance for you to add something new to your life. All you need to do is be present. With me. And yourself. If you can, throw away your gadgets while we talk. Seriously. Toss them into the ocean. Or if that sounds too extreme, bury them under a pillow fort. It will be fun to make. And you can even nap inside it later. Do what you must, but spend some time with me. The Internet will wait for you to get back. I promise”. Bhui advises.
Each page of this book will encourage you to write, reflect, do an activity or get your hands dirty. At times, you may even be asked to do things you have never done before. It may get a tad personal, but just stick around. Because, who knows, by the end of it, you may just find out that you are a trickster too!
Go ahead, take the challenge!
3. Aimless In Banaras; Author: Bishwanath Ghosh; Publisher: Tranqebar; Pages: 252; Price: Rs 399.
Author and journalist Bishwanath Ghosh first visited Banaras in 2009 to perform the last rites of his mother at the Manikarnika Ghat.
“She was only 59. She did have a heart condition that was slowly deteriorating, but death was the last thing on her mind when she and my father had set out from Kanpur, about 350 km away, to visit my younger brother who was posted in Banaras. One afternoon, as the three of them were having lunch, she suddenly arched back and died. When the news travelled 2,000 km south to reach me in Chennai, it suddenly struck me that Banaras had been thrust on me,” writes Ghosh, an Associate Editor with The Hindu who now lives in Kolkata.
He pretended he was a writer collecting material for a future book rather than a grieving son – his way of dealing with the last rites. He returned 10 years later to write that book.
“I hadn’t of course intended to time it that way, but its completion happens to mark her tenth death anniversary. As if destiny had decided to extract a timely tribute from me. I feel almost like the son who built a temple at Manikarnika in his mother’s honour to compensate for her motherly duties. So what if the temple earned the mother’s curse and began to lean, it remains a defining feature of the riverfront. Without it, Banaras wouldn’t be Banaras,” Ghosh writes.
As he meanders his way through the city, the outcome is a moving portrait of one of India’s holiest cities but also a profound look at life and death. It’s an uplifting must read.
(Vishnu Makhijani can be reached at [email protected])