Ever since I was a kid, I used to wonder what life is, why are we here and what is our reason for existence? Whenever I used to ask such questions, my parents always used to provide me with excellent answers that life is nothing but a test; we are here to follow guidelines given by God and our reason for existence is still a mystery which only God knows. Beyond this, I was not allowed to ask.

My brought up was such that I was conditioned to accept things the way they were; there was absolutely no room for skepticism. I still can’t seem to tell if I was an obedient kid or just another sheep in the flock.

In the world of marketing they say, “If the customer is not asking questions, that means he/she is not serious about your product.” But, surprisingly, this is not the case with religion. Yes, religion! For me, the best definition of a brand is the fundamental belief of any monotheistic religion: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”. Now that’s what I call a brand. I never drove a Rolls-Royce in my entire life but I know for sure that when I will, the feeling is going to be amazing. Similarly, I have never seen Heaven but I know for sure that by far it’s the most beautiful and extravagant place that the human mind can imagine.

In this age of consumerism, wherever we look, we find a clutter of brands and advertisements. In this never ending race of faith and commerce, religion has become yet another commodity being sold in shopping malls and other markets. 

Religion and brands have a lot similar in them. People love to associate themselves with a certain religion/sect just as consumers like to associate themselves with brands like Nike, Ferrari or Apple. We live in a society where people are recognized by the brand they wear, which is similar to how a human is recognized by the religion he/she follows.

If we look back at history, most of the brands started from a niche and then spread out their branches. Like all brands, religions also have a name, symbols/logos, brand guidelines in the form of a holy book, spokespersons, positioning, target market, etc. Let’s take an example of one of the oldest religions of the world, Hinduism. Hinduism was primarily based on socio-economic classes i.e. Brahmans fell under sec A, Kshatriya under sec B, and so on. Psychographics were targeted on the basis of their professions e.g. priests, warriors, merchants, servants, street sweepers etc.

Speaking of brand positioning, sometimes it backfires - and Islam is the victim of it. Today, Islam is recognized as a destructive religion whereas Islamic scholars claim that Quran and its teachings guide us to follow peace. Sometimes we are not able to understand the motive and aims of the brand we are following. Let’s have a look at Tata Nano’s ₹1 lac car, they positioned their car as affordable and funky so that students would be able to use it for colleges and universities. But that car was mostly bought by people who were above 50 years of age because they felt young and happy while driving it.

A good brand is one that can inspire its consumers. A company may get brand loyalty from its customers if it incites its customers to act in a certain way just like religion, which inspires its followers to be a good human and live up a life in the most exemplary manner. For example, just like any insurance company, many brands promise their customers a better tomorrow due to which customers stick to it. Sometimes brands play with the customers’ mind in such a way that forces them to stick with the brand without any reasons. Same goes for religions, some religious leaders interpret religion in such a way that their followers even forget the basic difference between right and wrong.

Now let’s take a look at the future. We can see that brands are taking over the world. So the big question here is that of all the religions, which one will win this race of brand loyalty? The answer is simple: the brand for which a follower would willingly give away his/her life and which leaves a never ending legacy for its followers.