Father of 360

Updated: May 30 2012, 02:39am hrs
Like a lot of marketing and advertising ideas, the genesis of 360 lies outside of advertising and marketing. 360 emerges from mass political movements.

Think of it. 360 is a very important number these days in agencies and marketing circles. Every agency has built up or is in the process of building up its 360 capabilities. Words like activation, engagement and influence make their appearance consistently in client briefs.

It would be interesting to investigate the genesis of 360 in this context. Like a lot of marketing and advertising ideas the genesis of 360 lies outside of advertising and marketing. 360 emerges from mass movements; mass political movements.

Brands and mass movements have much in common. Both emerge from ideas; simple ideas. Be it freedom, equal rights, free speech, happiness or creativity. Great brands have at their core a well-defined philosophy so too do mass movements. Both use symbols, rituals and slogans to involve people and change behavior. The greatest proponent of this, the father of 360 is none other than the father of our nation. All of what Gandhiji did between 1914 and 1948 is testament to the power of 360. And one can, with the advantage of hindsight draw up the key tenets for a 360 degree campaign.

Know your audience

One of the first things that Gandhiji did when he came back to India after spending 20 odd years in South Africa was to travel the country, see India and understand the lives of Indians. What he saw changed the direction of the Indian freedom struggle. He saw that the masses of India were not involved in the much nuanced debates on Home Rule. He saw that the educated elite of India were disconnected from the reality of India. He understood that unless the masses were involved and issues that determined their abject poverty dictated the direction of the freedom struggle, India would never be truly free. This was his great insight.

Live your philosophy

Gandhiji articulated his philosophy as Satyagraha or Truth Force and he combined this with the ancient Indian ethos of Ahimsa. His commitment to this was complete. Nothing that he said or did strayed from his core philosophy of Satyagraha.

Galvanise action around key issues

Salt Satyagraha and the call to boycott foreign goods are just two among the many issues around which this great man galvanised the entire nation into action. Both these causes and indeed each of the others that he focused on were at once full of cultural meaning and fundamental to his overall objective. Home spun was an answer to the crippling blow that imports had dealt to Indian artisans and weavers. Burning of foreign cloth served as an oath by fire to everyone involved in the cause. The Salt Satyagraha proved to the nation that no power can come in the way of the resolve of millions of Indians.

Adopt powerful symbols

His austerity and his attire were powerful symbols. Symbols that connected him to average Indians, symbols that helped him be one with his countrymen. The Chakra, the symbol that is associated most with him served many purposes. It had a fundamental economic and developmental message. At the same time it also helped answer a very important question from the point of view of his supporters what can I do

Unleash the power of words

No campaign line can possibly come close to the power that he unleashed with two simple words Quit India. The directness of it and the intent were for all to see. It inspired the nation to further action and told the world that time was up for the Raj. The lives of great men and women can teach us all something, even to those of us in this most unGandhian of fields. And sacrilegious as it may seem, this act of connecting a great soul to something as material as advertising and marketing helps in isolating what makes a mass movement or a 360 program tick.