It was only in 2001 with the breakout success of Lagaan and Dil Chahta Hai that his Brand Essence became clear, both for himself and his audience.
Let’s examine the Brand DNA for Amir Khan:
The essence for Amir Khan thus was: “All about fresh, experimentative cinema”
Post 2001, Aamir stayed true to his Essence, becoming highly selective with his choice of movies even as Shah Rukh reigned supreme between 2000-2008. That discipline and sacrifice, while being detrimental in short term revenues, was the key to his spectacular success of the following decade.
In contrast, SRK found his Brand Essence 6 years earlier than Aamir with the success of DDLJ, which led to his rise to the top through movies that built on his essence of being a Romantic Dreamseller. Incidentally, Shah Rukh himself probably recognized that truth, which is why he named his new production company Dreamz Unlimited back in 1997.
Unfortunately for him, there are only so many stories that one can tell as a Romantic Dreamseller. This forced him to experiment widely with his choice of movies, creating a dissonance with his core audience. Bit by bit, he lost his magic at the box office.
To summarize, you need to choose a Brand essence that is unique, captures your relationship with the audience and speaks to a consumer’s needs will be relevant for decades. As the Covid-19 crisis creates new opportunities, it will be interesting to see how brands adapt to this new reality in their consumer’s life without giving up on what makes them distinctive and loved.