B.R.I.C.K : A Business Idea
By Bhartendu Bhaskar
Back in 2016, I joined an organisation called AIESEC, you can google it, it’s the world’s largest youth-run organisation and definitely something I would recommend to every college student. The organisation is built on the sound principle that leadership is the fundamental solution to every problem. Personally, it has benefited me in a million ways, it has been a “practical MBA” course for me. It taught me organisational development, marketing, products management, finances, legal and most importantly, human resource management. A lot to learn for an eighteen-year-old, but in the current world scenario, all the more important. In the years since 2016, I have built on my strategy for running a business - now this isn’t tested, there is no data to back up these principles but I feel they are sound and are common. These are things that people know, and shouldn’t be a surprise to read.
The formula reads,
Brand = (Relevance + Impact) * (Culture + Knowledge), which reads out to BRICK. Hence, the saying Brick by Brick. The ambition of a firm practising such a formula would read out something like this,
“The aim of the organisation is to build a brand that is relevant internally, & externally, while impacting the society in a positive manner, with a team that has a collaborative & innovative work culture while always being thirsty for knowledge”
Back in September’19, as I sat to write the manifesto for my Presidential Election, I looked at everything I have learnt over the past few years in AIESEC & in the various organisations I have had the opportunity to work with. I thought back at what made a customer opt for us, or what made them choose a competitor over us and the answer always lay in one word, “Brand Power”. I had read the importance of brand in a lot of places, but analysing your own experiences provides security no stranger can. I sat down to think of ways to build the brand for the organisation for the coming year and defined CTAs(call to actions), KPIs(Key Performance Index) and MoS(Measure of success) for the same. Having defined all the things I need to do to build the brand, I saw a pattern - I noticed that most of them fit under the four categories, namely, Relevance, Impact, Culture and Knowledge. In the manifesto, I repackaged them to Recognize, Impact 2020, Culturally & Know It All. Further clubbed Relevance & Impact as external factors & Culture & Knowledge as internal factors - from this came the formula you now see. Basically, Brand = External * Internal where External = Relevance + Impact, and Internal = Culture + Knowledge. That is the brief theory and a little background on what had happened before the chapter began. I was elected as the President & in February 2020 I took charge, - we took charge. We, my executive board team, took over the organisation and began implementing the Brick Model.
All our projects covered more than a single category, for eg, we did Webinars - they helped build the knowledge among our members as well as helped our organisation be more relevant to them. We began a project called BRIClass, it was the most effective result of BRICK model. Internally, we were recognised as a good case practice by the International and National Team for BRIClass among other things. BRIClass was a peer-to-peer learning system that we created within the organisation. We gathered the members that had skills to teach, and members that wanted to learn new skills. The concept was simple to enhance everyone’s skills to meet the requirements of the scaling job market. Around 70% of college graduates today aren’t ready to employ, we wanted to ensure the members that are working with us are one of the 30%. We surveyed them, gathered the list of skills they wanted to learn and gathered teachers for the same from the same membership, and began classes. We got external speakers to help boost legitimacy. It was knowledge and relevance together. We ran major external campaigns to raise COVID awareness, to build external Relevance & create an Impact. We raised money to help the population post-COVID hit, to create an Impact. The toughest thing to build in the four is culture, it’s something that takes a long period of time and something that doesn’t have defined metrics. We took a shot at the same, we can’t show you on paper that the culture has developed but our results, our increased productivity, our endless applications to our various roles is evident.
In the month of May 2020, I began a community-based organisation called Felicity. As a writer, I struggled to find revenue-making work and faced difficulty being accepted. The bias against creators stung me deeply and made me create, Felicity Inc. A creators community, one where all artists are equal, where no algorithm will push you down, where growth is equal, where opportunities will be equal and where making a buck won’t be hard. We have existed for a mere five months, and have a far way to go - we haven’t been able to find ways to make money for the artists that associate with us just yet, but we have provided them opportunities for the same. Our commission-free shop has made a few sales and well, the journey has just begun. Felicity follows the same principle of BRICK. We are building our brand by creating Relevant products, things we know our community needs, by creating Impact, we have a social wing that works towards Equality in various ways, we have a very vibrant culture within the organisation - as our members describe it - “it is so wholesome” and lastly, we are helping our members gain new skills on a daily basis, equipping them to be better. This mixture has helped us go from 0 to 5000 followers in five months, with 200,000 hits on our website, thousands of subscribers, thousands of submissions and thousands of artists - we are growing at a pace we didn’t even hope for - but we are able to handle it, why? Because we cared for the people associated with us, and now they are there to help us.
I have always believed in giving, and this entire strategy is dependent on the same. Give to the society, give to your employees and give without greed, or hope for something in return - give because you want to empower them, give to them with both hands. One day, they will build you organisation #BrickbyBrick, they will not tire, they will not stop until they’ve achieved the dreams you once saw. The world teaches you that people are manipulative and that they are selfish but I have seen otherwise, I have seen the world is scared, and all it needs is someone else to make the first move. You stretch your hand to help the world today and just wait for the magic to happen. I understand how this concept sounds flawed, as you are hoping to get something in the end - well, that’s something I am still working on as well.
If you try to do these things, please do let me know how it goes - and if there are deeper researches on this topic and theme - please suggest the same to me. I haven’t really done research on it, just my personal experience.
A snapshot of the Manifesto attached on the next page.