Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Sherlock Holmes’

Branding is a term which originates in the realm of marketing management but is generally applicable to any product, service, entity or person which stands out amongst the crowd and calls out for any Unique Selling Proposition of its. It could be applied to countries, movie directors and even to some fictional characters from literature!

Here are some examples which demonstrate this point better.

Countries

 

 

After the Trump era (2016-20), studies have popped up claiming that the USA has slid down significantly on its soft power in the world. Same is said to be the case with many other countries where brutal suppression of dissent has become a way of life and where human rights have been trampled upon.

China keeps expanding its soft power by promoting movies out of Hollywood exposing the world to its culture. India offers spirituality and its own culture to the world.

The movie Eat, Pray, Love (2010) illustrates the point rather well. A heart-broken heroine travels through different countries. She discovers the true pleasures of the table in Italy, the soothing power of payer in India and the inner peace and balance of love in Indonesia!

Movie Directors 

Apart from other celebrities, those who wield the megaphone in the movie industry often exude soft power.

I confess I am a movie buff. Quite early in life, I discovered that a movie should be selected for viewing not based on its cast but based on its director. Each director has a distinctive perspective on life, and the manner in which he/she presents a theme is as unique as, say, one´s finger prints. Admittedly, the core brilliance of a movie is determined by the producer-director duo. But the unmistakable stamp on the narrative is that of the director. The script, the screenplay, the music, the camera work, the background score, the sets, the costumes, the editing, all these transport us to a different realm for a limited time.

To put it simply, if you sit down to watch a movie by either Steven Spielberg or Gulzar saheb, you know what to expect. Seeing a movie which is directed by, say, David Lean, is as much enriching an experience as seeing one directed by either Hrishikesh Mukherji or Basu Chatterji.

Over a period of time, a movie director builds up a brand equity for himself. It comes from the uniqueness of his style, the choice of his scripts, consistency in quality of his directorial ventures and sheer attention to detail in all the departments of movie making. This earns a well-deserved respect from the discerning viewers, crowned by some degree of commercial success.

The CEO of a Dream Merchandise Factory

A director’s role in shaping a movie would perhaps be comparable to that of either the CEO of a company or the conductor of an orchestra. A CEO’s mindset determines the business strategy of a company. His style of functioning and his value system permeates across all levels of the company. Likewise, the conductor of an orchestra blends the notes of stringed, percussion and other instruments, creating a symphony which is unique. Like a CEO guiding a company or a conductor presenting a symphony, the director also balances the strengths and weaknesses of his team members and comes up with a movie which is entertaining – and possibly educative – in the social context.

A director surely knows how to touch our heart-strings in a meaningful way. In the process, he delivers deep messages, whether social, political, economical or the spiritual kind.

Some Literary Brands

Those of us who have admired the exploits of Sherlock Holmes and Reginald Jeeves are occasionally overawed by the kind of popularity these literary figures enjoy. Both may be fictional, but the influence they exert on our consciousness is exemplary. One would not be wrong in perceiving both of them to be brands in their own right.

Sherlock Holmes: An Honorary Citizen of Meiringen

Ever heard of the charming Alpine town of Meiringen in Switzerland? It is a municipality in the Interlaken-Oberhasli administrative district in the canton of Bern in Switzerland. Ringed in by snow-covered peaks, it is located on one of the most important trade routes through the Alps for centuries.

One of Meiringen’s attractions is the Sherlock Holmes Museum which recreates the detective’s abode at 221A, Baker Street in London, besides Victorian era memorabilia. The nearby Reichenbach Falls are where, in The Final Problem, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle made his hero suffer a premature death at the hands of his adversary Dr Moriarty, only to resurrect him later in The Adventure of the Empty House on persistent demands from the detective’s fans. Well, quite some time back, it had granted an honorary citizenship to Sherlock Holmes.

It stands to reason that the town had granted an honorary citizenship to Sherlock Holmes. A certificate to this effect is displayed in the museum. Also, at the base of the falls, there is a rock inscription to this effect!

When one picks up a Sherlock Holmes story, one is assured of good value for one`s time and effort. Backed by hard-nosed judgment, insightful observations and above-par analytical skills, he delivers. Go to him with a mystery and he demystifies it. His methods and skills have provided clues to investigators in many countries. He is utterly reliable. He delivers. These are the very attributes which go on to build up a brand.

Gentlemen’s Personal Gentleman

Likewise, Jeeves, created by P G Wodehouse, stands for impeccable service and a capacity to deliver results beyond the expectations of the bosses. The manner in which he helps his boss Bertie Wooster retain his bachelor status is a sterling example of his feudal spirit as also an inner cunning. His methods are often rough, but there is no doubt as to his capacity to deliver satisfactory results. He believes that bosses are like wild horses; they need to be managed with tact and resource.

In the United Kingdom, one is apt to run into laundry and other services which bear his brand name.

Many examples can be quoted from literature, fine arts and other creative fields of human endeavour.

In an earlier post, we had considered the perks of building and sustaining a shimmering brand in the market place. The focus there was on companies and individuals. Examples cited above go on to reveal to us the kind of hard work, consistency of effort and persistence which enable a softer brand to emerge. The essential principles underlying the creation and sustenance of a brand remain the same.

 

 

(Related Posts: 

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2021/03/15/the-perks-of-a-shimmering-brand-equity

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/a-brand-called-jeeves

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/sherlock-holmes-the-honorary-citizen-of-meiringen-switzerland

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/hats-off-to-these-movie-directors)

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

How fortunate we happen to be! If Plum had abandoned dishing out humorous escapades of all sizes and shapes, and instead turned to crime fiction, the universe we live in would have become so very listless and mirthless.

Here is yet another delectable post from Honoria Glossop.

Yet another post you may wish to check out: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/sherlock-holmes-the-honorary-citizen-of-meiringen-switzerland

Plumtopia

Strand pagetPGW quoted this famous character from his third book up to his ninety-third and had a tremendous admiration for Arthur Conan Doyle.

N.T.P. Murphy, A Wodehouse Handbook

On the 15th of October, 1881, P.G. Wodehouse was born in Guildford , England.

Coincidentally, 1881 was also the year in which Dr. John Watson first met Sherlock Holmes. Their meeting was recounted by Arthur Conan Doyle in the first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet (1887).

Some years later, the young Wodehouse became an avid reader of these stories, and his early work is littered with Holmesian references.  In The Adventure of the Split Infinitive , a 1902 short story published in ‘Public School Magazine’, Wodehouse sends Mr. Burdock Rose and his companion Dr. Wotsing to investigate a murder at St. Asterisk’s school.

“Anyone suspected?” I asked.

“I was coming to that. One of the Form, Vanderpoop by name, under…

View original post 770 more words

Read Full Post »

Can a fictional character assume a life and will power of its own? Can he scale heights of popularity and importance greater than those of his author and creator? That is precisely what appears to have happened in the case of Sherlock Holmes, the famous fictional detective.May 2014 379

The Final Problem was intended to be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle´s last work portraying Sherlock Holmes. He entertained a belief that the Sherlock Holmes stories were distracting him from more serious literary efforts. An option available to the author was that of “killing” Holmes and undertake other literary endeavors.May 2014 380

In order to keep the fans of the detective in good humor, the author came up with a plot which involved Holmes saying good-bye with a flourish, ridding the world of a criminal so powerful and dangerous that any further task would be trivial in comparison (Holmes says as much in the story).May 2014 381

All authors walk a thin line between imagination and reality. In 1893, Conan Doyle and his wife toured Switzerland and discovered the village of Meiringen in the Bernese Alps. It was here that the idea of killing Sherlock Holmes at the Reichenbach Falls took shape.May 2014 382

However, Doyle let the detective die in circumstances shrouded in mystery. No revolvers. No air guns. No African powders which emit deadly vapors. No eyewitnesses. No physical remains. No deceptive burials. Simply, a natural setting. Just the footprints in a muddy dead-end path. Signs of a violent struggle which make Dr. Watson come to the conclusion that Holmes is no more.May 2014 383

When one picks up a Sherlock Holmes story, one is assured of good value for one`s time and effort. Backed by hard-nosed judgement, insightful observations and above-par analytical skills, he delivers. He is utterly reliable. These are the very attributes which go on to build up a brand.

Eventually, the brand called Sherlock Holmes proved to be stronger. Pressure from fans persuaded Doyle to bring Holmes back, first writing The Hound of the Baskervilles and then resurrecting him in The Adventure of the Empty House.May 2014 384

Finally, it transpired that Sherlock Holmes had actually won the struggle at Reichenbach Falls and sent Moriarty to his death though nearly meeting his own at the hands of Moriarty’s henchmen. Conan Doyle could plausibly resurrect Holmes, much to the eternal delight and gratitude of the detective`s fans!May 2014 385

Have you come across any other characters in literature which survived their creatorエs attempt to vanquish them?!

For management experts, herein lies a potential case study: How to make a brand assume a higher stature than the corporate entity which creates it!

(Illustrations from the Sherlock Holmes Museum at Meiringen, Switzerland)

(Related post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/sherlock-holmes-the-honorary-citizen-of-meiringen-switzerland)

Read Full Post »

May 22 happens to be the birth anniversary of one of the greatest wordsmiths of our times – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This year, the family decided to celebrate it by paying a visit to a museum dedicated to him in Switzerland.

Included in the itinerary was a visit to the famous Reichenbach falls. That is where Sherlock Holmes was supposed to have met his end while fighting the criminal mastermind Professor James Moriarty. “The Final Problem”, a short story set in 1891, suggested the death of the greatest detective whose methods have influenced crime investigations all over the world!

The Museum

The small museum dedicated to Sherlock Holmes is located in a quaint little church in the small town of Meiringen. The entrance has a fine sculpture of the detective in deep thought.May 2014 376

A short pathway of gravel leads one to an old building which was originally used as a church. The pathway has stone panels on its sides. These contain beautiful illustrations depicting in brief not only the story of “The Final Problem” but also retirement plans of the detective!

May 2014 374

The basement has several displays which would interest anyone familiar with the life and times of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his legendary characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. The highlight is a faithful recreation of the room at 221-b, Baker Street, just after the two inhabitants have left it hurriedly, supposedly on a top-secret mission of theirs.May 2014 345

In a corner of the room one can spot a cupboard which is full of the kind of books and records the destruction of which would regale many a criminal hounded by the legendary duo in their times.May 2014 364

For the architecturally inclined, there is a map showing the location of 221-b, Baker Street, as also an elevation of the building which houses it.

The display has, amongst others, sculptures of Holmes, the certificate of honorary citizenship of Meiringen issued to him, a set of binoculars, the famous pipe and the hat. The small note left behind by Holmes at the Reichenbach Falls can also be seen.May 2014 356

Uniform of a Scotland Yard rozzer of 1890s is on display, along with some investigative tools used way back then. Articles touching upon the rugby interests and army career of Dr. Watson also enthrall the visitor.

Reichenbach FallsMay 2014 414

“The Final Problem” tells us that in May 1891, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson had stayed at the Englischer Hof at Meiringen. A walk had led them to the Falls, from where Dr. Watson had been tricked into returning to the inn, leaving Holmes all by himself.

Finally, Dr. Watson returns to Reichenbach Falls, only to find two sets of footprints going out onto the muddy dead-end path with none returning. There is also the note from Holmes, explaining that he is about to fight Moriarty, who has graciously given him enough time to pen this last letter.

Watson sees that towards the end of the path there are signs that a violent struggle has taken place and there are no returning footprints. It is all too clear Holmes and Moriarty have both fallen to their deaths down the gorge while locked in mortal combat. Heartbroken, Dr. Watson returns to England.

In the present, a funicular railway takes the visitor up to a platform from where the falls are clearly visible. The place from where Holmes and his adversary had fallen off is marked with a star. One can trek up to the star and also beyond and enjoy the magnificent scenery around.

A Tribute

While climbing the mountain, one contemplates on the ingenuity of the human mind. When used against humanity, it has the potential to give rise to a Napoleon of criminals like Dr. Moriarty. When deployed to protect the denizens against fraud, crime and cheating, it produces characters like Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.May 2014 424

In a way, Dr. Moriarty still lives on even today. He manifests himself in various forms. Criminal deeds, injustice, disparity in opportunities and incomes and corruption, just to name a few. However, one can derive satisfaction from the fact that characters like Holmes and Watson also continue to live on amongst us, represented by forces opposed to the likes of Dr. Moriarty.

The myth of Sherlock Holmes lives on. One marvels at the mental capabilities of a person like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who created a detective who is more real to most of us than any real person we might have ever met.Conan_doyle

Such visits are more like pilgrimages. These are but a form of tribute to legendary authors who live on in our collective psyche and imagination through their works.

(Curious?  Check out http://www.sherlockholmes.ch)

Read Full Post »