I must first share three things with you. One, I have taken a long time to read ‘STORM THE NORM; by Anisha Motwani. Two, Anisha Motwani is a friend and a fellow Marketing Buzzer, a thriving community of people with ideas and opinions. Three, I have earlier recommended the book on social media based on my belief on people involved with it. Anisha (author), Santosh Desai (foreword) Ranjan Malik (afterword) and review by people I respect; Prabhakar Mundkar and Ambi.
Having read the book, I am left with mixed feelings.
‘Storm the Norm’ scores by providing us a window to understand Indian Businesses. Not using a set template it does not allow you to settle in a comfortable pattern.
It is really the foreword by Santosh Desai that sets the tone. Anisha in her introdcution explains the approach and the process. The afterword by Ranjan helps to place the cases in right perspective. A short but classical STORMING model by Ranjan Malik explains the framework. Creating a new value proposition. I would ask to read all these three chapters before you read the cases.
The book promises 20 Brand/ Business Stories. If by stories we understand cases with background information, then the word ‘stories’ in subtitle seems justified. I was expecting that the cases (that what they are) were written more like stories, but this is not the case.
It is a great book for the students in Management and people with interest in business, positioning, communication and branding.
Regular follower of Indian Business may find the curated compilation a bit weak and bland. It is advised that they should read one case at a time and reflect before moving to the next one.
Marketing with an accepted, usual, templatised and standard approach is the NORM. It leads to sameness and complacency. Some brands make extra efforts and religiously follow the insights as well as stand by their gut feel. These brand end up breaking the code, redefining expectations. They STORM THE NORM.
The book is a collection of Business Cases, sub classified into three categories- entrepreneurial businesses ( PVR, Make My Trip, Mirchi and Real) , challenger businesses ( Tata Tea, Sprite, Axis bank, XUV500, Kurkure, Honda, Sensodyne, IDEA, Ford EcoSport and Fiama de Wills) and legacy businesses ( Cadbury, Kissan, MTR, Raymonds, Saffoa and Times Of India).
Personally I found the Challenger Business section more interesting. Here was fights of unequal’s. Like Hindi films, mental clapping happened when the underdog succeeded.
Anisha shares at the start that she has just curated the cases, they have been written by people involved with the businesses. I as a reader would have liked this differentiation if they were written a lot more purposefully and narrated like a story. This democratised way had led to polarised quality of case presentation. Unfortunately it breaks the rhythm for me. Many may really enjoy this format.
In the second edition or sequel (both are bound to happen) I hope to see better-produced photographs and references. There is no point in printing ads where one cannot read the copy or refer to TVC with out storyboard or links to watch.
I understand that it could have raised the price of the book. Maybe the team could have given access to this material on their site. If I know my printing, adding a colour annexure at the end would not have phenomenally increased the price. This could have made it easier for many who have not lived through these transition or who do not remember the referred material.
Cases or stories- the debate can continue. Do read the book. As a marketer or as a student there is enough for you to get charged and relook at your business or life.
STORM THE NORM, by Anisha Motwani, Rupa Publications. INR 500 Pages 284.