Yohani the trend | Daily News

Yohani the trend

August 15. I was flipping through the local channels on a weekend and suddenly heard of a Tweet by Amithab Bachchan. Specialty was, Big B (Amithab Bachchan) has Tweeted about a Sinhalese song. Alas! I have already missed half of the news. I was struck by the amazement and rushed through the Google to look for this Tweet and the Sinhalese song.

“Manike Mage Hithe Mudhu Ee Nuraa Hengum Yawi, Ewilewi” amazing. A close up of Yohani appeared beautifully than ever and her voice penetrated deeper into my heart. There was something special beyond my comprehension. Was it the lyrics, melodic structure, the simplicity or the authentic feelings projected throughout the visuals?? Blimey. I was totally struck and was so oblivion to what was happening around. All I wanted was to listen to ‘Manike Mage Hithe’ once more, every time.

Millions of music lovers were taken by storm almost overnight. The song became a viral hit and created a sensation with 128 million of views on YouTube, being used in millions of Instagram reels and many more renditions in various languages. The song has been searched for thousands of times on social media platforms and ranked number one in iTunes top 100 in Sri Lanka, India and Maldives, Top viral 50 in Spotify India and Spotify Global, to name just a few.

Refined fan base

Yohani’s songs were not for everyone. She enjoyed what she was doing and she had a sizable fan base who loved her work. She had many other cover versions as well as her originals but most were confined to her fan base only. The massive success of ‘Manike Mage Hithe’ brought Yohani to the limelight and we all started giving our own interpretations to her success. How was this possible? How this song from Sri Lanka took the whole world by storm? Was it a pure play of luck? Was it the Big B’s Tweet?? A

testament of music not having cultures or boundaries? Or is it just another sensation and a social media fad?

An article on Khaleej Times quoted Jogiraj Sikidar, the founder and director of Malhaar Center for Performing Arts and a Hindustani classical vocalist, “Yohani’s track reminds me of ‘Kolaveri D’ or ‘Gagnam Style’ which amazed a huge fan following on the Internet in a flash. If your music moves someone, it will work always, irrespective of its lyrics”. But, to what extent is ‘Manike Mage Hithe’ a dance track which immediately syncs our body frequency with the beat and makes us dance? Like what happened with Gagnam Style and Shape of You. Is it really like-to-like?? To me, Yohani’s cover is more of a soulful and heart touching one with a stir of emotions striking in every time I listened to it. Simply it was ‘remarkable’.

Little over a month has gone since Yohani performed in Hyderabad, India, appeared on Big Boss and ‘Manike Mage Hithe’ reached its pinnacle. In my belief, now it is a good time for a post analysis.

With all due respect to the tireless efforts and great talents of Yohani, Satheeshan, Sangeeth; the producer and the team, few concepts in innovation and marketing domains can be borrowed to explain the whole success and hype of ‘Manike Mage Hithe’. In my belief, I consider these to be the insight for marketers, which will assist in ensuring they have the next hit brand, product or the service in town or simply across the world.

Diffusion of innovation, quite old social science theory explains HOW; the pattern and speed and WHY an idea or a product gains momentum over time and diffuses through a specific population or a culture.

People as part of the social system would adopt the new idea, product or a behavior as the end result of the diffusion. The diffusion happens systematically from one group to another; from innovators to laggards. However, this adaptation requires a perception, that the idea, product or the behavior is new or innovative.

High tech products

‘Crossing the Chasm’ is an expansion to the Diffusion of Innovations model and focuses on the specifics of marketing high tech products during the early start-up period with significant and lasting impact.

There lies the ‘chasm’; a greater gap between Early Adopters and the Early Majority. Anyone expecting high growth and success needs to ensure they go ‘mainstream market’ by crossing this chasm. It is important because mainstream market is where the largest portion of consumers are found. But, crossing the chasm is not easy in practice. It is not as simple as stating it.

According to Godin, a brand or a new product/service offering is nothing more than an ‘idea’ and any idea that spreads like a real virus is an ‘idea-virus’. He highlights the importance of being something ‘remarkable’. The role of ‘sneezers’ in spreading the ‘idea-viruses’ is the key to cross the chasm and for success. Just like the Covid-19 spreads from one infected person to hundreds more when he/she sneezes, the idea-virus gets spread every time a sneezer sneeze, making it multiply and go viral.

Yohani’s cover version (the idea-virus) was released on May 22. The remarkable beauty of the song made some YouTubers do their own renditions in few local Indian languages and they started sneezing a bit and slowly spreading the idea-virus (YouTubers from India will not do a cover if the song was not a remarkable one).

Yashraj Mukhate, a social media star and music producer sneezed a bit harder spreading the virus to 15 million others. Anas Shajahan, a YouTube artist from Kerala made a Tamil- Malayalam cover and sneezed more than the other YouTubers. Collaboration between Anas and Yohani became popular and spread the virus to millions of Tamil-Malayalam music lovers.

A Hindi version came out from Yohani and Muzistar and the idea-virus gained momentum. Couple days later, India’s Bollywood legend Big B (Amithab Bachchan) Tweeted saying ‘Manike Mage Hithe’ was “Playing in loop whole night. Impossible to stop listening. Superb”. That sneeze made ‘Manike Mage Hithe’ a musical pandemic. Multiple other versions had gone viral with millions of views.

Celebrities too jumped on ‘Manike Mage Hithe’ craze. Some notables were a looks video by Madhuri Dixit, Tiger Shroff’s dance act and Parineeti Chopra’s dance act. Literally, no one could understand the lyrics (except for Sri Lankans). But they fell for the ‘remarkableness’. Some directly translated the song to their regional languages. Some opt to give matching lyrics to the melody with their own meaning and interpretations. Recent covers include; flute cover by the renowned artist Naveen Kumar who is best known for his work with great musicians including AR Rahman, Pritam, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Salim Sulaiman and for his flute performance in the ‘Bombay’ theme, ‘Kal ho na ho’ title theme and ‘Zara zara’.

The Indigo hostess’s dance act to the song, violin cover by Carolina Protsenko and a Cajon cover by Prithviraj Sukumaran are the latest viral trends.

Congratulations ‘Manike Mage Hithe’ and Yohani!!! You are now on mainstream and you are a success. Now nothing can stop you.

Melodic structure

Yohani or Sangeeth never imagined or planned for this success. “Absolutely not. We never thought that this would be such a hit. We never planned for it too” says Yohani at an interview with News18, India.

Neither there was nothing innovative or breakthrough. It was a beautiful song with great melodic structure, authentic emotions, with a nice rap and a cute girl singing and featuring in the video. But there was a ‘remarkable’ product. Early music market and the enthusiasts (Innovators and Early Adopters) embraced the song and spread it to millions who followed them.

It is said that, ‘the right of the diffusion curve often looks for validation and references by the segments to the left of the curve’. The recommendations and references by the early market (sneezers and their sneezing) is a necessity to spread the idea and to cross the credibility gap at the chasm.

A remarkable idea with the right sneezers takes the idea to the mainstream market. So, it grows and spreads from segment to segment from the left to right in the Diffusion Curve, multiplying exponentially, ultimately creating success and successful brands. Often, we the marketers ignore this whole process, get easily attracted to the mass market and direct all our marketing efforts on reaching them with a blanket approach.

We often forget the need for having something ‘remarkable’ (it does not necessarily need to be an innovation or the best in class) and the need for a methodical approach to effectively reach our target markets and to drive success.

However, the products with easy mass market appeal are all taken by now and today, even if there is one, it is tough to get the consumer’s attention. Frequently, our messages get diluted among the clutter and go unnoticed. On top of that, today’s consumer has no time to deliberately notice and learn about our brands (unless they have bumped into any reviews and recommendations by the ones they trust and credible than the mainstream media).

In this context, we need to recognize that some of the old marketing practices have gone out of style and many new have emerged including the social networks and influencer marketing. We need to recall the prerequisites for making diffusion possible and cross the chasm. We need to remind ourselves of the need for better understanding the characteristics of the target market that will help or hinder adoption of our offering. We need to focus on the importance of analyzing how quickly the diffusion occurs and how largely it is determined by the way in which our offering is communicated to different segments and the subjective opinions associated with the offering.

Though it was not planned initially, isn’t it the same what ‘Manike Mage Hithe’ teaches us when we analyze everything related to its massive success.

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