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Home > Business > Special

Hutch or Vodafone? What's in a name?

A G Krishnamurthy in New Delhi | October 05, 2007

What I've liked:  A very good change indeed

A name change is quite a tedious thing. And nearly all companies undertake the same exercise to go all out to assure their customers of the same fact -- that nothing has changed, except the name. So amongst the plethora of work all making the same declaration, it is quite difficult to be memorable.

The recent 'Hutch is now Vodafone' ads manage to make their presence felt not just by their sheer quantity but also because of their remarkable simplicity. Not laboured or contrived, these little ads carry the same unpretentious charm of all Hutch work.

Whether it is the pug returning from his walk to discover a whole new home or drying off, or the little boy helping his friend over a wall, the message is uncomplicated and uncluttered.

Simplicity, though at first glance appears to be easy to execute, is perhaps the toughest of all exercises. It takes a keen and very experienced eye to identify only what is needed, and more importantly it requires a great deal of courage to keep the not-very-necessary out of the communication, especially when marketing funds are involved.

Not many teams have this kind of spunk, which is perhaps why the Hutch (now Vodafone) ads have always been special.

What I've learned: Nothing is as dangerous as little knowledge

Whether it's the proverbial "is it a rope or is it a snake" dilemma or just everyday casual conclusions that we jump to, nothing is as detrimental to human progress as those assumptions we make and decisions we take based on incomplete knowledge of a person, thing or situation. It is perhaps the best argument we have for keeping an open mind, always.

Can we ever know the whole truth? Perhaps not. But conclusions drawn from incomplete information and hence ignorant can definitely be avoided simply because we shoot ourselves in the foot every time we do so.

Take, for instance, a story often repeated from folklore, of the ten who tried to cross a river. They inched their way forward upon realising the water was only neck-deep.

Exhausted with relief, they sank to their feet on the opposite bank and when they recovered, one "wise" guy did a head count and came up one short (he had neglected to count himself).

His friends checked as well, and came to the same conclusion. Panic stricken they looked around for the "missing" tenth, until a passing stranger counted all ten of them and put their foolish little minds at rest.

I must confess that I too have been prey to incorrect assumptions drawn on perception rather than reality. I used to believe that the best performers could come only from the IITs or the IIMs.

My deductions were simple: they were sifted from millions of applicants, trained by the best and hence had to be the best� Two and a half decades and many experiences later, I stand corrected. Little did I know then that academics is just one of the parameters responsible for performance!

There is another assumption which I was guilty of, i.e. superstars make their living on past glory. I have learned since, that not all of them do. Life sent one such much acclaimed celebrity across my path who had the enthusiasm and eagerness of a junior, in his desire to keep producing award-winning work.

Both these experiences served as valuable eye-openers to help me realise that perception can be quite the trickster who leads you up the garden path to your own end!

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