Brand makeovers HUL , UTI, Videocon, Bajaj and more

Brand makeovers HUL , UTI, Videocon, Bajaj and more  

In business, treading the ‘new look’ path is imperative because such makeovers, sometimes make a huge difference to the brand. If nothing else, it keeps the brand’s image alive as a contemporary one.

Over the last decade, brand logo changes that have taken place across categories seem to have followed a pattern or have been instigated due to significant reasons. Here’s a close look at some of the major logo makeovers in the last decade.

There are many brands that don’t change for years. Fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies such as Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), Dabur and Godrej have been run as heritage companies. So have their brands. The dilemma with most heritage brands was that the mammoth loyal user base had got used to the historic look and feel. That was what kept them from changing for a long time.

However, even heritage brands need a makeover, sometimes desperately. In the words of Ashish Mishra, chief strategist and head, Water Consulting – the design arm of the Mudra Group, “The last decade-and-a-half saw many of these, invariably threatened by a challenging, new competitor or shrugging off the past and making themselves over. The new identities were driven by a compulsion to convey technology and aesthetics to sustain leadership in their categories.”

Looks Matter

Dabur came up with a new face in 2004, Hindustan Lever became Hindustan Unilever (its popular soap brand – Lux – had already undergone a facelift in 2004) with a fresh, new logo in 2007 and Godrej went in for a makeover in 2008 after 111 years. All of this made news. Though not strictly an FMCG company, Mishra feels that Godrej’s “new brand identity was conceived to align it to the progressive future. The hope and optimism, brightness and cheer were values chosen to offset a old and ordinary past.”
The banking sector has seen re-branding on an extensive scale in the last decade. However, it was restricted mostly to public sector banks. The first bank to go in for a re-branding effort was Bank of Baroda (BoB), in 2005.What also tipped the decision was the fact that it caters to the NRI Gujarati community, and, among Indian banks, has the largest number of branches overseas.

The public sector banks had a big motivator in the form of private sector banks. The latter’s modern and smart approach was beginning to swallow the consumer share of the latter. The private banks were attracting the young, the public sector banks were clearly not.

Sujata Keshavan, founder of the Bengaluru-based Ray+Keshavan (it is part of the WPP Group now), which redid BoB, understands that the youth is important, and they seek smarter brands. “Earlier banks were not seen as brands. To be number one now, they have to have the young people love their brand.” Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) Bank followed BoB’s footsteps in 2006 as did Unit Trust of India (UTI) Bank that went for a massive makeover by becoming Axis Bank in 2007. Union Bank and Canara Bank too embraced a new look in 2008.

The automobile sector also saw brand alterations. Ford and Hindustan Motors went in for new visual expressions in 2003. A change in logo in 2004 was a significant one for Bajaj Auto – it came after about 40 years for the brand.

Recently, the Rs 5,000 crore conglomerate Videocon, went for brand refreshment. The new ‘V’ has two animated green, lava-like shapes called Chouw and Mouw, both of which have distinct identities.
The telecom brand Airtel changed its logo thrice in the last decade. In 1999, it got its first new logo with the tagline – Touch Tomorrow. In 2002, it went for a switch in identity for the second time, and its tagline changed to Live Every Moment. The third logo change was incorporated in 2005, and it was about Express Yourself. The logo for Bharti Enterprises also underwent a change last year.

The beverage players wanted a change too. PepsiCo changed the logo for Pepsi and Mountain Dew in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Coca Cola also changed logos for Fanta (last year) and Thums Up (this year). Two brands of Shaw Wallace & Co – Haywards 5000 and Knock Out – saw a refurbishment in logo in 2005.
Britannia changed the logo for six brands within the last two years. Three of them – Marie Gold, Treat and NutriChoice – came up in 2007. Tiger Biscuits and Pure Magic had a new logo last year. Bourbon wore a new look this year. Ashwini Deshpande of Elephant Strategy+Design, the agency that re-designed the logos for each of these brands, says that it was in line with Britannia’s new line of thought of refreshment.

On the bandwagon

Even media had its share of makeovers. The daily, Hindustan Times, underwent a change this year. It was not just a change of logo incorporated by the brand, but also a change in content, layout and design. Channels like Zee, STAR Sports, STAR World, STAR Movies, Animal Planet and Discovery, unveiled their ‘new’ look.

Not to be left behind, associations and agencies too thought that a makeover was a good idea. The Advertising Agencies Association of India went for a logo revamp in 2005, as did Tribal DDB. The Media Edge was rechristened TME with a new logo. Mindshare and Rediffusion Y&R got a new logo in 2008. Retail giant Shopper’s Stop had a brand makeover in 2008, and also had a new logo as part of the effort.
Brands in the aviation sector, apparel segment, and across other categories, have gone in for a change in logos in the last 10 years quite willingly. With categories evolving and brands looking better, the decade that went by, has seen it all.

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