Padma Bhushan Jagjit Singh and Marketing Mix

 | November 28,2011 01:56 pm IST

Marketing Mix, a term coined by Neil Borden in 1953 refers to four different elements viz. Product, Price, Place and Promotion that are absolutely essential in the making of a brand.

Marketing mix serves as a blueprint for marketers as it guides them to developing brands that have a innovative product solution, affordable price, accessible place and suitable promotion communication for the customer (Exhibit-I).


Marketing Mix

marketing mixSince the turn of the new millennium, we have often come across the term ‘celebrity branding’ that discusses how the various marketing concepts related to products have been successfully applied to personalities who command large fan following in the market place. Celebrities now-a-days need to market themselves well in order to sustain the competitive pressures in the marketplace. It ‘s no longer just about talent as far as celebrities re concerned but also how the personality behind the talent along with the talent is marketed. Marketing of celebrities leading to the development of durable celebrity brands have mainly come into being because of the celebrity management companies like Nimbus, Globosport etc that have mushroomed in a big way across the length and breadth of the country.


Just like product marketers, personality marketers too need to be guided by the marketing mix. Many times, it has been observed that it is either the celebrities themselves or the marketing agencies behind the celebrities who assume the responsibility of designing a suitable marketing mix. In case of celebrities, it is their talent and the way they exhibit their talent that comes under the purview of ‘Product’. The price/fees they command in the market place in lieu of their talent is what ‘Price’ is all about. The accessibility of a celebrity by his/her target audience is all about ‘Place’ while all the promotion campaigns related to the celebrity that showcases the differentiated talent of the celebrity is what is ‘Promotion’.


This article speaks of Jagjit Singh, the legendary ghazal singer of India who passed away in October 2011. Although the passing away of the ghazal maestro has left a deep and an irreparable void in the musical arena of the country, his music is sure to stay on with us for years to come. There are several reasons why the maestro ruled and continues to rule our hearts despite the presence of myriad ghazal singers in the country (past and present). If we carefully look at the reasons, we find that they can all be clubbed under the head ‘Marketing mix’-something that the maestro consciously or perhaps unconsciously employed to see to it that he created strong differentiation in the marketplace.


Prior to the emergence of Jagjit Singh in the musical sphere of the country, ghazal was looked at as something exclusively meant for a select group of audience. It was felt that ghazal singers mainly needed to be Muslims who would be able to do justice with the Urdu lyrics of songs. The common music listeners in the country could never ever perceive ghazal to be a part of mainstream music in the country. Jagjit Singh changed all that. He designed his offering/product in such a way that ghazals became hummable even by the common man on the streets. Ghazals were likeable and were listened along with other film songs. Jagjit Singh introduced a distinct attitude to the style of singing ghazals. His renditions along with arrangement of orchestra ensured that ghazal got a distinct melody and became a product that was marketable to the masses. Ghazals were introduced in a big way in Hindi movies since the late 1970s by Jagjit Singh in movies like Arth, Saath Saath and Prem Geet which took ghazals to greater heights of acceptability among the masses.


Whether it was the prices of tickets for the live concerts or the music cassettes and cds that were launched in the market over the years, one aspect was noticed. That is a high value pricing strategy was followed as the price-quality grid (Exhibit-II). In other words, what Singh offered was of high quality and the price charged for it was medium. The value for money concept was well defined for the audiences.


The Price-Quality Grid
Price Quality grid


When we speak of celebrity accessibility, we refer to how easy it is for the target audience of the celebrity to access the offerings of a celebrity. Also how easy it is for the aficionados of the celebrity to get to see him/her perform live. The ghazal maestro ensured that his cassettes were available in every nook and corner of the country. Also apart from performing live in some of the most exclusive forums in the big cities of the country, Jagjit Singh ensured that his performances took place in smaller towns and cities of the country too. The enhanced accessibility resulted in more acceptability of not just ghazals but also Jagjit Singh as the leading exponent of ghazal singing.


Jagjit Singh was no doubt a visionary and hence he anticipated years ago that soon a time will come when every celebrity in this world will need to keep a buzz around oneself in order to survive competitive onslaughts and large scale media proliferation. If a celebrity does not create the right sort of buzz, he or she is doomed to be forgotten not just by the industry but also by his/her fans. An excitement and anticipation needs to be maintained by a celebrity around oneself so that he or she never fades into oblivion. Promotions of concerts and music launches were always there and with the coming of the Internet and satellite television in the country, Jagjit Singh chose newer avenues of promoting himself and his offerings and thus staying in touch with his target audience.


We thus conclude that Jagjit Singh was not just an impeccable ghazal singer and composer who took the art to newer heights and thus in the process got rewarded by the government of India – the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian honor in the country but also a witty marketer who acknowledged the fact that art for art’s sake cannot command large scale acceptability until and unless it is marketed and packaged properly and that too in tune with the changing social, economic and cultural milieu of a country.