Thursday, November 28, 2013

SME Branding - to do or not?

Branding – To do or not to do?

When Yahoo! redesigned its logo recently, it flew in the eye of a news storm with branding gurus vociferously rooting or hooting the change down.  When our own homegrown Bajaj Auto overhauled its logo in year 2004, a good 5 decades or so after its birth, the fraternity debated whether Bajaj was justified in spending a few crores for the change. Reebok, a few decades back changed its logo every two years; while Coca Cola still has its good old logo and so does Nike. Some companies have spent millions, while some lucky ones have spent a mere hundreds on designing or redesigning their logo. Which makes us wonder - what really makes a company go in for a logo redesign? Or how important a logo is really? Does every enterprise, company – even a midsized one or a start-up really need a logo in the first place?

Logo or branding- a reflection of the company’s core.
A company name and logo go far deeper than being a cosmetic garb. The name and the logo together reflect the company’s core values, its essence, its raison d’être. Bajaj Auto’s new logo captured the company’s changing policies, its growing markets, its global moves and its new standing, while retaining its core. A branding exercise is not just a design or logo exercise but a discovery of what the company really is at its deepest level, its culture, where it stands, what it stands for and where does it want to go and how. The new Bajaj Auto logo stands for its 5 brand core values - Learning, Innovation, Perfection, Speed and Transparency.

Whether it is Bajaj, Yahoo or an unknown, every company, no matter what its size, needs an identity.
As clutter dominates the global markets, as competition grows exponentially, as USP (Unique Selling Proposition) stands at the risk of obliteration, it becomes all the more critical for every company to have its own unique identity. Every company needs to do this exercise of finding out its unique position. It needs to find a way to establish itself firmly in its customer’s mind (positioning), create an identity that reflects its core and resonates with its customers for life. Without an identity, the company will be just another faceless product, unknown, unnoticed and unidentified.   

What is the right time to go for an identity or branding exercise?
The right time to go for a branding exercise is NOW, if you haven’t already started working on it. With the immense benefits of branding, it’s never too late to begin. For the start-ups and the debutantes, it is utmost important to enter the market with the branding in place. Let’s not think whether sales should come first, or branding; each has its importance and cannot be compared or prioritized.  If you have a good product, good sales spiel, you are bound to grow big and fast in a new industry, but as you will later discover, even the competition has grown as much. This then becomes your perfect branding time.

Branding, creating an identity, creating a vision, mission, a set of values, a purpose and philosophy statement – all of this should start before you start marketing yourself in the market. It should be done before launching your company, before inviting buyers to try you. That is perfect timing for creating an identity, for branding your enterprise or your offering.

In the next post, find about how to put together a basic Branding Kit.

Extract from my article in Sampada Diwali 2013 issue. 


  1. Completely agreed that Brand Identity should be the utmost priority when launching a new business venture:)