It is the Global Brand Forum 2008 themed “The Maverick approach to brand building” held on August 14th and 15th where nearly 700 delegates from the corporate world around the globe have converged to listen to some of the world’s greatest thinkers and creators like Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia and branding guru Al Ries. The yearly event now in its fifth year has come to be known popularly as “Davos of branding” for its high benchmarking standards and quality of speakers. Among the line up of iconic speakers who are going to share with the audience their vision and wisdom on branding and businesses is also an expert speaker with a difference – an enlightenment specialist, a spiritual master and an international best selling author, Vikas Malkani.
When the spotlight turns on Mr. Malkani, the audience is spellbound with his opening remark “Global Brand forum is the most spiritual organization in Singapore’. And for the next one hour the enthralled audience listens with rapt attention as he unravels to the forum the definition of branding, being a maverick and success in his own spiritual language.
Branding as he defines it is being yourself, looking inwards, to know who you are and what you can do for the world. The mind he says is the incubator where branding begins. Understanding yourself, creating an identity and letting it grow to occupy the mind space of others so that they understand who you are is the key to branding. Millions of companies and individuals around the world tend to forget these basics and try to copy and follow what other companies or individuals do and in the process just end up being followers and not leaders, he rues.
To be a leader or to nurture a leadership quality in oneself is to build one’s own authenticity and to understand that no one can be like another he adds. He expounds his ideas with metaphors from Greek Mythology. To that end he posits that a maverick is a right brained person who transcends the rules, learns from others, drops the past and creates his own identity .That is because Malkani asserts that each one of us is unique and special and each one of us needs to shine.
His intrigues the listeners with his unique expansion of 5Cs – constant and clear communication, communication and communication – a quintessential element for a company to grow and create an unforgettable brand. He further exemplifies the role of labeling oneself to understand one’s own inner light and purpose.
Truly, his own journey in the corporate world as a spiritual master and maverick brand ambassador has been remarkable. Coming from a traditional Indian business family, at age 29 he had a life transforming enlightenment, after which he left his job as a CEO of a company to pursue the path of spirituality under the guidance of Himalayan guru Swami Rama. Subsequently he set up SoulCentre Academy in India and Singapore which has since last ten years trained hundreds of corporate professionals through corporate seminars to attain greater success, abundance and happiness in life. His academy’s most sought after program SoulKids teaches life skills to children creating transformations from within. His latest book, “The little manual of happiness’ shares with others what he himself learnt from spiritual masters.
His techniques are simple and ecumenical, but primarily follow ancient Indian wisdom of Sanatana dharma which essentially encapsulates the precept of life into four facets: Kama(who am I and what I desire), dharma( finding the purpose in life or mission and work for excellence), artha (enjoy the fruits) and moksha (become free ). So in real essence spirituality can be practiced anywhere whether workplace or home he says.
Ancient wisdom finds relevance to real world living and therefore his trainings are so much popular for being very simple, effective and practical.
India Se meets Vikas Malkani in the Global Brand Forum for a chat.
- India Se: Spirituality is meant for personal growth, happiness and success. Is not branding, a term that is associated with business and consumerism, contradicting spirituality?
V.M.: Spirituality means becoming whole or complete and branding is very much a part of spirituality, as each one of us needs to be his best and tell the world who he or she is and what he or she can do for others. Branding is for greater success but is not about competition, business or consumerism. Even Jesus Christ, Buddha and Krishna were brands who offered their teachings as their products. Branding is just about telling the world what is unique about you or your product whether it an individual, a company or a country.
- India se: There are many schools of spirituality and enlightenment. How did you come to this platform for business and brands?
V.M: I don’t know about what other schools are teaching but I am very clear of my purpose which is to help others to achieve their maximum potential by using simple, practical and effective techniques in whatever they are doing whether organizations or individuals. The Enlightenment Specialist is the brand given to me by the people or the world around me.
- India se: How do your techniques help in branding? Can you explain a little bit more on that?
V.M.: The simple techniques I teach which also include meditation enhance creativity in people irrespective of the gender, by becoming calm and peaceful. Through these techniques I help companies and individuals to identify and enhance both components of their branding– the core qualities or the authentic part and the other part which is variable and has growth potential.
- . India Se: Has your Indian background influenced in your spiritual awakening? Do you find Hindu philosophy more relevant to the present day life?
VM: Growing up in India listening to mythological stories, learning everyday about so many different religions definitely influenced my spiritual awakening. Being Indian provided the privilege of being open minded and adaptable which helped me learn from other cultures, traditions and beliefs. I learnt from everywhere, east and west, north and south. I am proud to be an Indian and for my teachings I have adapted ancient wisdom which existed when there were no religions and are relevant even in the present day. They are Sanatana dharma’s four basic purposes of life, kama, dharma, artha, moksha.