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Friday, December 25, 2009

Marketing Education from Momtaz Madam

Sorry to disappoint you but today's marketing lessons are not by any head-turner, heart-throb, drop-dead-gorgeous, new female faculty in any of the private universities of Bangladesh. As far as I know, this madam does not teach business or branding anywhere, neither any business-branding gurus of our country ever considered her to be of any worth to exemplify marketing lessons. She is the queen of her own queendom and some call her 'folk queen' of modern times of Bangladesh---our very own 'bukta faitta zay' singer---Momtaz.

Up Down Left Right University of Business Assministration
Assmission Test, June 2025
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Question: Compare and contrast the difference and/or similarities between singer Momtaz and Bangladesh Corporate Blog and discuss the marketing lessons from Momtaz. (Marks 10)

1. Choice of language:
Singer Momtaz's choice of words in her song lyrics are rather informal and to some extent flirts with weird and/or emphatic expressions. For example some of her song titles, lyric include 'bukta faitta jay' (my heart bursts), 'amar ghum vangaiya dilo re morar kokiley' (my sleep was broken by the bloody cuckoo), 'Bhalobashar dengue jor' (the Dengue Fever of Love), 'Piritir ketha dia...' (the blanket of love), 'Joubon ekta Gold Leaf Cigarette' (Youth is a Gold Leaf cigarette) etc. Corporate Blog also uses informal language of business blogging and very frequently calls politicians and theory-heavy business gurus as 'airheads', 'shitheads', 'idiots' etc. However, Momtaz Apa sings in Bengali while the blog blogs in English. However all of them studied in Bengali medium schools.

2. Target Audience:
Songs of Momtaz Begum target the lower income mass music lovers of Bangladesh. Its unlikely that she will be invited to perform at Le Saigon, Spaghetti Jazz or Kozmo Lounge. Bangladesh Corporate Blog also blogs for mostly students, young entrepreneurs, executives in Bangladesh and abroad. Its unlikely that they will be invited to blue collar corporate events, close door brand prayer sessions followed by dinner and fashion shows.

3. Formal training/education:
Momtaz Apa does not possess any formal degree in music from Shantiniketan or any school remotely linked with music. She got the talent in her genes from her singer father and carried on. She even does not know how to play a harmonium. This blog also does not have any formal structure, its not a company, formal entity whatsoever. The bloggers here did not study business from leading business schools in Bangladesh or in the US. They also have never managed big branded companies in Bangladesh or abroad.

4. Looks:
The choice is pretty much clear if asked to decide between singer Mila and Momtaz. Similarly between the bloggers here (please click) and perhaps Shah Rukh Khan or Brad Pitt.

5. Existence:
Even though established, well-educated and well-trained singers of Bangladesh might frown at the popularity and singing prowess of Momtaz Madam, they can't deny that 'she exists' and she is out there big time. They like it or not, there is a sizeable number of people who like her music and treat her as their entertainment queen. Similary, some like it or not, this blog exists big time in the internet, thanks to high organic search results in Google (70%) and total dominance for keywords like 'bangladeshi business blog', 'bangladesh corporate', 'bangladesh blog'.

Marketing lessons from Momtaz Madam can be elaborated as following:

1. Be a People's Brand:
Singer Momtaz sings as if she represents the mass music lovers of Bangladesh. Most of this group either belongs to the rural areas or the lower income urban population. However, recently students, youth are showing keen enthusiasm to her music mostly because of her candid lyrics, flamboyant voice and 'care-no-one' attitude. So think about how your businss/brand represents, connects to the mass. Many fans of Momtaz consider her to be their relative and a household name, source of entertainment and inspiration. Can you say the same for your brand? Do your consumers consider your brand a naturally inseperable member of their family?

2. Practice Brand Conviction:
Although Momtaz Madam is renowned for her bold choice of words in her songs, it rarely appears to be vulgar. This is because she reflects conviction through her voice, its pitch. As if she firmly believes in what she is singing which enforces the conviction through her performances. Does your brand radiate your passion to serve? Does it appear naturally or seems fake?

3. Preach Comfortable Coexistence:
Momtaz as a brand comfortably exists with other singers not only in the folk music segment but in the overall music industry. She does not seem to show off that 'air of celebrityness' or degrade other so called 'established and trained' singers. She is warm and welcome to any other form of music. This openness has contributed to her brand being perceived as generous, down to earth and accessible, thus adding to her viral popularity. Does your brand exist comfortably with your competition and still the consumers choose you among other options?

4. Have a Brand personality:
Momtaz's voice, composition and lyrics are unique, authentic and people seem to talk about it, either to appreciate or tease, but they still talk about it. These elements signify the 'human-ness' of her brand as a person. Does your business/brand have a face or is it faceless? Can you define, feel its personality?

5. Tickle a taboo:
A key element for a brand to become famous or infamous in Bangladesh is if it tickles any social taboo. It works. If we consider a woman singing not only about mushy love and romantic Bangla songs but actually inferring sexual hints, swear words or using street language and metaphors not many musicians would dare to experiment with, Momtaz did it all and it still works for her. Many of her fans like her because she is daring, she is a music maverick and through her antics she seems to tickle many social taboos that exist in Bangladesh. That is why she is popular, for the right reason or wrong...but she is. So if your brand manages to tickle any social taboo, rest assured your brand will gain the essential word of mouth spread that is required during launch or growth. Sex, polygamy, adultery, contraceptions, nudity, even affirmative women are in some cases considered to be sensitive issues not to be discussed in public. If you do, you will throw stones at the bee-hive.

6. Show your Brand Robinhood-ness:
Personal Social Responsibility (shall we call it PSR, as opposed to CSR?) is at the core of the brand Momtaz from the word 'go'. By setting up eye hospitals, by allying with social agencies, NGOs to spread social messages on health, education etc. Momtaz shows the socially responsible side of her business/brand. She seems to be the Robinhood among her followers, fans...robbing the rich of their fakeness, vanity, prejudice and distributing truth, sincerity, love among the masses...that is what she does. What is that 'Robinhood-ness' of your brand? You literally don't need to steal or snatch things away from the rich and wealthy and distribute it to your constituents but it works if your brand shows generousity, acts of free give-aways and free love...consumer love it. Please don't attempt to steal tins, food grains etc. reserved and meant for relief purposes though, that might have a boomerang effect.

End of exam.

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