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Smart Business Lessons from Bollywood Actors

business lessons from actors

Why Bollywood? I am so bored of it! This post sounds cheesy! – If you are thinking these phrases, let me assure you, I am in no mood to glorify Bollywood, the actors or their movies.  Rather, my focus is on smart business lessons startups can take away from leading Bollywood actors.

We are no strangers to the opulence of our actors and the money that the actors earn through their various revenue streams (movies, brand endorsements, production houses, concerts, cricket teams…the list is endless). It is easy to say that these are established actors and have nothing to offer to fledgling startups who have limited resources at their disposal.

However, if we take a moment to analyze what some of these actors consistently do well over time, we will know what makes them so successful.

The Brand tenets of Shah Rukh Khan

1.       Use every opportunity to be visible – Who can be better in this than Shah Rukh himself? He is seen almost everywhere all the time. Be it doing a live show, on the cricket field, on TV promoting a product or appearing on business forums, he is everywhere.  Startups need to imbibe this trait. Be as visible as you can; on any forum possible. It is important for people to recall you more and more. But do it smartly – refer to Dr. Omar Merlo’s post and read the social media section.

 2.       Appear Knowledgeable – I recently read this Times of India news about Shah Rukh’s speech at the AIMA, where he imparted advice on failure and success to top management professionals in the industry. And I was quite impressed by the way he spoke and delivered his thought. Simple yet powerful. I have heard Shah Rukh speak at Yale too, and it just made me realize one thing – To make people listen to you, you need to establish yourself as a well learned person. This is very important for every startup. You need to establish yourself as an authority so that when people talk to you, they know you will deliver something great. We all know how content marketing is important for sales, so why not be one? (Example: HubSpot Blog)

 3.       Make Friends – This again brings me to Shah Rukh’s appearance at the AIMA. He admitted that the organizer of the event is his friend. Entrepreneurs need to go out and make connections and friends.  Being well connected hastens your learning curve, can get you the initial customers, funding etc. (Silicon Valley consistently produces great companies because of stronger connections between people).The point not to be overlooked here is that only noise without signal is not sustainable. While being well connected may help you grow faster, you can be sustainable only if you also have a great product or service at the core. The more goodwill you have in the industry, the more opportunities come your way.

The Innovative Marketing tactics of Aamir Khan

4.       Think Innovation – I am a big fan of Aamir Khan when it comes to his marketing strategies. Who can forget the garb he puts on for several months before the release of his “once-a-year” movie? If you recollect his movies in the last 5-10 years, you will understand what I am saying here. Aamir can be seen in the same make-up as his character in his upcoming movie, everywhere he goes. By using this cost effective yet innovative strategy, he builds curiosity and immediate recall for his upcoming movie. Every startup needs to find out cost effective and innovative yet subtle ways to reach target audience. (Check how Shutl did it in the UK here).

The approachable Amitabh Bachchan

5.       Use Social Media Effectively – Mr. Bachchan is one of the most prolific users of social media (especially twitter). He makes it a point to tweet frequently and updating on what’s happening in his life. Startups need to do this effectively. Without appearing to be tweeting excessively, make it a point to be available to your audience. Your users need to feel that you are approachable.  Social media is a great enabler to establish connection with your consumers. (Example: James Altucher on how he leverages Twitter, blog and Quora for his own brand)

Playing to one’s strengths – Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui

6.       Identify your core competency and leverage it – These actors restore the faith in the fact that, even if you are competing with bigger brands, which have bigger budgets, you can always find your niche where your strengths lie and nail it with powerful execution. Play to your strengths, make your niche target market adore you, and soon you would not need to compete with the biggies. (Example: BabyOye vs Flipkart)

Do you feel startups can learn more from actors? Do give us your opinion in the Comments section below.



Raunak Guha – Co- founder

Raunak holds an MBA in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Imperial College London. Prior to starting, he was working as a Business Development Executive with a Financial Analytics SME in the UK. He has been very active in the startup eco-system in London and possesses a deep passion to foster entrepreneurship globally.

He can be contacted at +91 9008 639 690 and his email id is:

Raunak’s past article(s): Find them here.


Article Name
Smart Business Lessons from Bollywood Actors
When we think of Bollywood we think of opulence and pomp. This article explains how startups can learn from leading Bollywood actors about marketing, positioning and branding.