Branding the Saint

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Abstract

St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara (1805–1871) was the first canonized Catholic priest in Kerala. He is a well-known spiritual leader, the co-founder of the first and the most extensive religious communities in India, and a recognized social reformer in the nineteenth century. This article explores the representation of St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara as a brand icon for consumer services, including an online matrimonial website. By employing a semiotic analysis, the article investigates the representation of St. Chavara as a brand and explores the dynamic brand identity of St. Chavara within and beyond the domains of shared religious identity. By analyzing the strategic positioning of Chavara as a secular and spiritual brand, this article offers insights into the evolving relationship between religious symbolism and market dynamics. The findings contribute to a broader understanding of the interplay between faith, branding, and consumer behavior in contemporary Kerala society.