Ray+Keshavan | The Brand Union – Meeta Malhotra
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Ray+Keshavan | The Brand Union – Meeta Malhotra

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Meeta Malhotra on how a logo is only one element in an overall brand experience

Meeta Malhotra on how a logo is only one element in an overall brand experience
—Expert Talk in The Economic Times

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    Ray+Keshavan | The Brand Union – Meeta Malhotra Ray+Keshavan | The Brand Union – Meeta Malhotra Document Transcript

    • A sian Paints has unveiled its new brand identity and logo, with ac- tor Soha Ali Khan at “Colour with Asianpaints”, the Asian Paints consumer experience and décor consulting store. The new logo reflects a more meaning- ful and personalised engagement with the increasing number of interior décor consumers in the home, retail and com- mercial segments across India. Asian Paints is now a complete décor and de- sign solutions company, having also launched the first branded home paint- ing service in the world under the brand name ‘Asian Paints Home Solutions’ and the colour inspiration concept store. THE CHANGE WAS INSPIRED BY RESEARCH INSIGHTS THAT REVEALED THAT: ● Upward mobility of the urban middle class has been rising quite rapidly over the past several years – which has resulted in a higher involvement and willingness to invest in home aesthetics. ● The emerging professionals group consisting of double income profes- sionals or younger influencers such as teenagers/young adults prefer de- sign and décor companies that assist the makeover process through colour guidance, paint process guidance and related services. ● The home makeover process that in- cludes tiling, upholstery, furniture etc. cuts out a significant portion of the home owner's budget. Hence, the paint category has immense poten- tial to use colour in an innovative and creative manner to provide more de- sign and decor solutions than ever before. Commenting on the new brand iden- tity change initiative, Amit Syngle, Vice- President Sales and Marketing, Asian Paints Limited says, “The change in our brand identity signifies our intent to es- tablish a deeper connect with our cus- tomers as well as ensure that the Asian Paints brand is able to stir the con- sumer’s imagination, ignite their creativ- ity as well as expand their vision to a new vista of possibility. Our new logo conveys those elements with the flow- ing ribbon formation that creates the ‘AP’ design highlighting the easy flow, smoothness, dynamism and possibility that our solution and offerings will pro- vide. As part of our effort in creating and managing inspiration, we go the extra mile in enabling consumers to de- sign the home of their dreams.” Syngle further added, “Our aim is to start our interaction with customers by providing inspiration or managing the inspiration of the customer. As part of the process we must ensure a system- atic and seamless one-stop-solution for colour and décor guidance, best labour practices, on time and efficient service delivery and follow-up knowledge on maintenance of their newly painted beautiful homes, thereby alleviating the pain usually experienced in the home renovation process. Ideally the transfor- mation of a consumer’s home is where we would want to extend our partner- ship through products and services.” >> pg 02 WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2012 S udarshan Dheer, the white pony-tailed 75-year-old granddaddy of Indian graphic design, looks spiri- tual at first glance – serene, simple and minimalist, much like the work he has produced over 35 years in the business. Many Indian corporates like Hindustan Petroleum, Titan Industries, IDBI Bank, Kissan Jams are among the 100-plus companies whose logos and brand identities have been de- signed by Dheer. He has also published and edited The World of Symbols/Logos & Trademarks – India. Excerpts from a chit-chat with R Sridhar You have been the brain behind so many of India’s best-known logos? How does it feel when you look at them now? Well, I normally try to disown a logo mental- ly the moment I make it and the client accepts it. Disown? Yes, it’s necessary to do that. To stay detached. Often, companies later change logos without informing me despite there being an agreement that I will be kept in the loop in all fu- ture logo changes. That must be difficult, especially considering the effort you put into creating the brand identity. Well, there is a lot of effort that goes into creating a brand identity. The challenge is to deal with moving time. After all, nothing is static. There are so many competing products in the mar- ket today and people’s needs and de- sires keep changing. Hence, the think- ing needs to be global and the design local. The focus is not to create a mere design; it is to create a differentiation from the consumer’s point of view - a differentiation that is original, unique and relevant to the corporate goals, consumers and the times we live in. How do you approach a brand de- sign? I think, evaluate, plan and evolve solu- tions. The logo is the culmination of this process. If you have to succeed in this field, you need to be able to get into the psyche of the client and the consumer. After all, we create designs for others, not for ourselves. I try to transcend beyond senses and go to a deeper level. I keep questioning my- self. The more you question, the more is your intensity to produce good work. So, the entire process is intuitive. Yes, very much. One needs to go in- side to produce a work for the out- side. It’s a process, not a formula. There is no shortcut. A design has to live long. It has to grow in the cus- tomer’s mind. It takes a lot of time to fructify. And how many designs are shown be- fore zeroing in on the final one? About 50 of them. You have been in the industry for so many decades and have seen how de- sign has evolved over the years. What role has technology played in its growth? Technology is important no doubt, but I feel technology should be taken only as technology, as a complimen- tary tool, and not to the human level. Your hallmark has been your simplici- ty of design. Do you have any favourites in terms of design styles? Nothing can beat a logo with a clever mix of design and negative space. The negative and the positive always exist and have to be always taken into con- sideration. SOME OF HISWORKS HP:‘The logo of Hindustan Petroleum stands for the way oil gushes out from the earth.The circle around it is to show even distribution in the country.’ TITAN:“When I visited their facto- ry,every moment, every place and every step,I could find that there is a sense of perfection.The kind of experience I went through while I interacted with each worker and the kind of environment they have created all reflects perfection. Hence there is a sense of symmetry in theTitan logo.” KISSAN: “Food involves the taste of the tongue and the palate.The logo,derived from the‘K’ itself,represents the tongue and palate. In fact,the curve of the letter K is the movement you make when you are applying jam on a toast.” ESSAR:“They wanted to create dynamism and a movement and not symbol- ise a static company. So, through the two red blocks we’ve represented the elements of movement.” One needs to go inside to produce a work for the outside. It’s a process, not a formula. There is no shortcut A discussion on logo change tends to polarise into two view-points. One, which says that logo changes are unnecessary and meaningless and the other which maintains that logo change is at the heart of a brand refresh. Both are wrong. The confusion stems from the fact that logos are the most visible part of a brand. When a brand an- nounces a refresh, the logo is the first thing that catches the public eye and attention. Branding pro- grammes with vastly different ap- proaches – and therefore very dif- ferent returns on investment– are clubbed together under the label ‘logo change’. IT’S JUST BUSINESS Before making changes to any part of a brand, the short, medium and long-term business objectives must be clearly understood. What is the brand change meant to ac- complish? How will this be meas- ured? How will you know if it is a success? Any intelligent brand re- fresh will start with these questions – to which there are no easy an- swers. The biggest mistake brands make is to think about answers from ‘helicopter’, 30,000 feet per- spective. To say we want our brand to be younger and more contem- porary is all very well but what ex- actly does that mean for brand and business strategy? What does it mean for recruitment and training? Does your product portfolio sup- port your ambition? Do your cul- ture and people? What do you need to stop, start or continue do- ing? Have you factored in external feedback? Thought about future trends? A brand refresh can only be successful if these issues are sweated through and examined in as granular a manner as possible. Very often, the process of question- ing will throw up interesting chal- lenges (and opportunities) for the business. THE EXPERIENCE IS THE BRAND When business issues have been sorted through and expectations from the brand are clear, it is time to formulate a strategy that delivers on the brand promise. Again, a ro- bust process will look for detailed answers. Beware of a process that stops at motherhood and apple pie statements that are high on emotional content, but make no reference to how they will actually create impact. I call this being ‘powerpointed’ and it is one of the biggest pitfalls of a branding exer- cise. Effective brand strategy thinks through brand experience as it is delivered across multiple touch- points. It thinks about the nitty grit- ty stuff like messages, service, channels, budgets, timelines and it stays focused on the core question ‘How does my target audience feel after they interact with my brand?’ ALWAYS BY DESIGN Finally, it is time to talk about brand design and its hero – the logo. If brands have remained unchanged for a long period, a brand refresh will more often than not call for a change in the visual identity. This is a natural outcome of the brand needing to align itself with fast- evolving audiences. A visible change in the face of the brand is also an excellent signal of new thinking on the inside. Here’s the all-important rider – if the logo changes, it must be ac- companied by changes in brand experience. Changes in experi- ence, however, take a while to reg- ister and recall. A new logo on the other hand, makes everyone sit up and ask what’s going on. A brand refresh that is supported by a smart strategy will use the logo change to create waves externally and rally sentiment internally. A change of logo serves almost like a line in the sand between the old way and the heralding of the new way. It raises expectations and there lies the danger. If, even after a passage of time, the logo change is not supported by a change in brand experience, brand-led busi- ness growth will not ensue. Like the lipstick on the proverbial goril- la, the brand refresh may turn a few heads but lacks the power to do more. Effectivebrandstrategythinksthroughbrand experienceasitisdeliveredacrossmultipletouch-points EXPERTTALK Beyond Logo Asian Paints gets a new brand identity Meeta Malhotra is Director, Ray+Keshavan/The Brand Union and one of the firm’s two founding partners. She consults with clients across diverse industries to help them craft compelling brand experiences. ‘Design is a process, not a formula’ The new logo reflects a more meaningful and personalised engagement with the increasing number of interior décor consumers in the home, retail and commercial segments across India A logo is the face of a brand. It builds recognition, familiarity, trust and loyalty. A logo is an endorse- ment of quality. Without a logo, a product is a commodity. With a logo, a product becomes a brand. SHAFALIKA SAXENA CMO, Microsoft India A logo is in many ways a brand’s signature. It signals the brand’s category, the brand’s personality, even its price point in some cases. Brand building starts with the logo. KARTIK SMETACEK Group Creative Director, DraftFCb Ulka Amit Syngle with actor Soha Ali Khan unveiling the new logo AMIT SYNGLE Vice-President Sales and Marketing, Asian Paints Ltd The change in our brand identity signifies our intent to establish a deeper connect with our customers Here’s how these iconic logos were born… What’s new? Starbucks Starbucks Corporation is a coffeehouse chain based in the United States. The current company logo, modelled after a 15th century Norse woodcut, is a mixoparthenos, or "twin-tailed mermaid, or siren as she's known in Greek mythology. The compa- ny and the logo have an interesting history. In January 2011, Starbucks released a new version of the logo with a couple of big changes and some subtle changes as well. The two major changes made to the logo are: ● They removed the name of the company "Starbucks Coffee". Their intention behind this may be to ex- pand the brand to beyond coffee. They have been talking about expanding into breakfast and there was also talk of a Bar/Lounge concept. This makes sense if they want to expand but maybe they should have kept the name "Starbucks" and removed "Coffee". ● They also removed the circle around the Siren and the logo now features just the Siren. The logo has some subtle changes including smooth- ing her hair, refining her facial features, weighting the scales on her tail to bring the focus to her face. The logo refinements were done by Lippincott. LG The LG Group was a merger of two Korean companies, Lucky and GoldStar, from which the abbreviation of LG was derived. The LG brand originated from Lucky Gold Star. The company now tries to promote its new tagline "Life's Good". The LG logo has the alphabets, L & G in the form of a face. The symbol consists of two ele- ments: the LG logo in LG Grey and the stylised image of a human face in the unique LG Red colour. ● The letters "L" and "G" in a circle symbolise the world, future, youth, humanity and technology. The symbol also represents LG's efforts to maintain close relationships with our customers worldwide; ● Red, the main colour, represents friendliness, and also gives a strong impression of LG's commitment to the best. MercedesBenz The Mercedes-Benz logo is a simplistic three-point- ed star that represents its domination of the land, the sea, and the air. The fa- mous three-pointed star was designed by Gottlieb Daimler to show the ability of his motors for land, air and sea-usage. It was first seen on a Daimler in 1909, and was combined with the Benz laurel wreath in 1926 to signify the union of the two firms. *ET1M121212/ /02/K/1* *ET1M121212/ /02/K/1* ET1M121212/1R1/02/K/1 *ET1M121212/ /02/Y/1* *ET1M121212/ /02/Y/1* ET1M121212/1R1/02/Y/1 *ET1M121212/ /02/M/1* *ET1M121212/ /02/M/1* ET1M121212/1R1/02/M/1 *ET1M121212/ /02/C/1* *ET1M121212/ /02/C/1* ET1M121212/1R1/02/C/1 Inspiring Change